On 3rd September 2023, DailyPost tweeted a short tweet about a new singer, Noonoouri, along with a short clip of her singing and dancing. One look at the short clip you will see nothing out of the ordinary. It showcases a cartoon character singing and dancing. The concept looks similar to what some famous artists in Hollywood have done for a very long time. For example, Elton John and Dua Lipa for their Cold Heart PNAU Remix (released 2 years ago), Gorillaz for their Clint Eastwood (released 7 years ago), Break The Ice by Britney Spears (13 years ago) and many more. However, unlike the other artists, Noonoouri’s voice does not come from other singers because her voice is created by AI. Due to this, the X post managed to gain 12.3 million views.
Who Is Noonoouri?
This AI character was created by Joerg Zuber in 2018. Zuber is a Digital Activist who has a passion for fashion. Due to that, it’s no wonder Noonoouri has become a face for major fashion brands such as Valentino, Dior and Balenciaga. The AI character started her career as a virtual influencer. To date, she has a total of 403K followers on Instagram. Here is where we can see many of her photos adorning various digital art ensembles. Some of her photos also pay homage to big names in Hollywood. She has photos where she fashions herself as Ariana Grande, Madonna and Beyoncé. Easy to say, internet users love them!
When it comes to her features, Noonoouri has a symmetrical rectangular face with a pair of large brown eyes, a button nose, and small heart-shaped lips. Her overall appearance reminds us of Bratz dolls. Despite looking like a toy, Noonoouri is 19 years old and originates from Munich, Germany.
Noonouri’s Musical Career
Noonoouri becomes Warner Music’s first AI singer despite her exclusively virtual existence. ‘She’ and Alle Farben created a debut song entitled ‘Dominoes’. But that doesn’t end there. What makes this singer unique is that her voice is produced with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).
In an interview with BBC News, Joerg Zuber described how they came about creating Noonoouri’s voice. He said, “They pitch it higher of course. They make it more like (a) female. They didn’t want to make it like a human voice. We want it to have like a bit (of) technology, like tech-voicy. So the base and the original voice of her is my voice”.
To make a change in her voice, they got help from a real singer as well. “Here comes the moment where we use the AI technology. The voice from the singer… We needed to know when he was singing high, when he was singing low… when he was singing slower, when he would get more speed when he’d get more pressure…”, said Zuber.
Audiences’ Response To Noonoouri’s Music Video
Apparently, her music is not everyone’s cup of tea. On X, most users compare her to a well-established virtual band, Gorillaz. One user criticized her saying, “Gorillaz if they had no soul or talent”. Another user accused her character as an act of sexualizing a child-like body to sell products. When it comes to her singing voice, they said that she sounds flat and it is merely a vocal synthesis (i.e. singing voice generated from musical scores). The audience said that they enjoy the music video if only it is on mute. Long story short, the comments she has so far are generally brutal.
On YouTube, the music video only received 59K views in 6 days. The general comments from YouTube viewers are similarly ruthless to X users. Some commented that they could not hear a word that she sang because they sounded unclear. However, there are one or two comments from users who said that they liked it and that it has potential.
It is undeniable that the use of artificial intelligence is growing rapidly. It is highly likely that in a few years, we will have more refined and sophisticated AI-generated characters. As of now, I cannot foresee ‘Dominoes’ dominating the Billboard Hot 100. I could be wrong. We’ll see.