Audio Militia takes AI craft to new heights to bring rapper Riky Rick’s legacy back to life for one last song

February 2022, South Africa mourned the passing of musician Riky Rick, who tragically suffered from mental health issues. Before we lost Riky, he shared his final tweet ‘I’ll return a stronger man’ with the world. One year later, Audio Militia and TBWA, with the clever use of AI technology, brought Riky’s legacy back to life, by releasing one final song, a moving tribute to his legacy and the launch of The Riky Rick Foundation. The Foundation has been created by Riky’s family in his honour to help people with mental health issues.

To create this track ‘Stronger’, the team at Audio Militia couldn’t just press some AI button. They needed to create a model of Riky’s voice. Months of craft was poured into this project, a first of its kind. The team gathered all of Riky Rick’s written social media posts and used them to piece the lyrics together for the track – not adding a single word that Riky himself hadn’t written.

Next the team trained an AI model to impersonate the nuances of Riky’s voice by feeding the AI tech with hours of previously recorded outtakes, interviews and using a back catalogue of Riky’s work. This enabled the AI model to mimic his exact tone of voice and its unique patterns. Once the song was written, artist Lebo Mochudi rapped the song and basically impersonated Riky’s flow and delivery to the beat created by Ganja Beatz. Audio Militia produced the track, taking the family, friends and the commercial aspect into account. And to the amazement of even the Audio Militia team, the final product is UNBELIEVABLE. This project has made it possible for his fans and family to listen to Riky’s final words one last time and to launch the legacy he has left with the world, The Riky Rick Foundation.

Follow this link to listen to how Audio Militia worked with AI technology to transform the song from the voice-over artist’s guide to Riky Rick.

The campaign not only pays tribute to Riky Rick’s legacy but also raises awareness about mental well-being, a cause that was very important to him. The release of the song was the launchpad for The Riky Rick Foundation, which aims to support mental well-being and young talent.

Audio Militia Co-Founder Nick Argyros says ‘This project is very close to home. I lost 6 of my friends to suicide last year. I knew we had to do this project if it meant that it could help people in the same situation. Men especially don’t talk or ask for help when struggling with mental health, they hide their feelings and struggle to see a way out. I hope this project will help those who need to speak to a friend, to get in touch with the foundation and not to feel alone. Even if we help just one person, we have accomplished what we set out to do.’

According to Audio Militia, ‘Stronger’ marks a ground-breaking milestone as the first commercial release of music featuring an artist’s voice generated through an AI modelling process. The song and it’s streaming rights are owned by the Riky Rick Foundation and the project was done pro-bono by both Audio Militia and TBWA. The hope is that the campaign will inspire people, who often struggle with mental health issues, to reach out for help and support.

The team at Audio Militia add ‘Stronger is a campaign created with utmost respect and admiration for Riky Rick. We aim to honour his legacy and contribute to meaningful conversations surrounding mental well-being.’

Contact Audio Militia

Executive Producer: Catherine Grenfell
084 321 2476

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Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

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