Singaporean singer Stefanie Sun’s voice has taken off in China. The only problem is the songs are AI-generated fakes.
The release of her debut album Yan Zi in 2000 helped Sun become a household name in China and Hong Kong. Despite not releasing a song in more than six years, Sun’s voice has exploded online. On many major Chinese social media platforms, AI-generated content created under the name AI-Sun Yanzi have attracted a huge following. This AI-generated voice has released several covers of well-known Chinese pop music including Jay Chou’s “Hair Like Snow” and Nan Quan Mama’s “Rainy Day.”
People on platforms like Bilibili are joking that AI fakes are the most diligent singers in the Mandarin music industry. That’s because these fakes can be generated almost overnight. The hashtag “Stefanie Sun becoming the first musician to be replaced by AI,” is also trending on the Chinese social media sites. Meanwhile, fans of Stefanie Sun are pretty well over the mimicry.
“This sounds fake. It mimics the vocal tone of Sun around 2001 and Jay Chou’s ‘Hair Like Snow’ hadn’t been released at that time,” reads one pedantic comment. “AI-Sun Yanzi can mimic her tone, but not her emotions. It can imitate her voice, but not her live performances,” reads another.
On May 22, Sun took to social media for the first time to address the appearance of these AI generated covers. “My fans have officially switched sides and accepted that I am indeed ‘an unpopular singer’ while my AI persona is the current hot property. I mean really, how do you fight with someone who is putting out new albums every few minutes?” the singer asks.
“The very task that we have always convinced ourwelves; that the formation of thought or opinion is not replicable by robots, the very idea that this is beyond their league, is now the looming thing that will threaten thousands of human conjured jobs. Legal, medical, accountancy, and currently—singing a song.”