“I hate it”: Ariana Grande has nothing positive to say about people recreating her voice with AI, and fumes at the “crooks” who stole her studio recordings and uploaded them to TikTok

Ariana Grande
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It remains to be seen whether AI turns out to be a creative boon for musicians or the death of songwriting and production as we know it, but one thing that most artists seem to agree on right now is that creating AI versions of their vocals without their permission is ‘problematic’ to say the least.

As such, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Ariana Grande, an artist whose voice has been AI-regenerated numerous times, isn’t all that thrilled with it.

“What are we doing? Why? I hate it,” she responded when asked by podcaster Zach Sang for her opinion on those ‘AI Ari’ songs. And when Sang pointed out a potential use case - for songwriters creating demos for specific artists and using AI versions of their vocals to simulate how the finished track might sound - she simply said “it’s terrifying”.

The AI vocal issue has been a subject of intense debate since the April 2023 release of Heart On My Sleeve, a track by an anonymous artist known as Ghostwriter977 that features vocals that sound like they were recorded by Drake and The Weeknd but were computer-generated. This was quickly pulled from streaming services, but this hasn’t stopped countless ‘AI covers’ from popping up on social media. Want to hear AI Ariana Grande singing Dua Lipa’s Dance The Night? It’s just a click away.

Also in the Zach Sang interview, Grande confirms that she wasn’t best pleased to find that songs she’d recorded with Max Martin in the studio were pilfered and ended up all over TikTok. “Thank you very much,” she said, with a certain degree of sarcasm. “I’ll see you in jail - literally”.

Picking up the story, the singer says: “So [leaked track] Fantasize comes out,” before correcting herself. “‘Comes out’ - crazy - was stolen… thieves, pirates, crooks, illegal. I’ll pay you more to get it back.”

Asked why she was so annoyed about the leaks, Grande explained that they were all intended for a TV show - “a parody of like a ‘90s girl group vibe” - so was slightly taken aback when people “loved it”.

She decided, though, to turn a negative into something positive and take what she could from the situation. “It’s crazy - it’s so corny - but it’s OK. I took the note.”

That note, it seems, was to use some of said ‘90s influence on her new album. “I kind of gave them Ariana’s version of that,” says the star.

You can certainly hear it on lead single Yes, And?; whether other tracks on the record, titled Eternal Sunshine and set for release on 8 March, we’ll have to wait and see.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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