The Transformative Power of Generative AI in Songwriting

Everywhere we look, people and businesses seem to be talking about generative AI and its potential power — for good or evil. We’re standing at a crossroads where we can either harness the potential to benefit society at large, or we can risk letting individuals weaponize it for their own advantage. I am hopeful that as a society we’ll choose the former and have begun my own exploration of leveraging AI as a creative collaborative partner. Let me illustrate this partnership through a profoundly personal example: co-writing a song for my daughter’s wedding that touched my heart and soul, thanks to help from AI.

I’ve been a guitar player since the age of seven, yet I’d never taken the leap to write the lyrics and melody of a song. ChatGPT-4 helped me overcome what people call the “cold start,” giving me the nudge I needed to take on this daunting but exciting task. By creating targeted prompts based on my daughter and her fiancé’s interests, I was able to train the tool to generate lyrics that provided a great jump start in shaping the song. The initial output was verbose and lacked a simplified, repetitive chorus that is at the heart of many well-loved songs, but it was enough to move my wife to tears and encourage me to proceed. I used the AI-generated lyrics as a jumping off point, crafting a chorus and adding details that brought in a sense of human emotion.

Influenced by the wedding couple, Rachel and Phil’s taste for R&B, my co-writer, Jorge Costa, laid down a basic musical structure inspired by the couple’s love of R&B. From there, I refined the lyrics ChatGPT generated to better fit this musical foundation. Leveraging GLX Studio, Jorge and I collaborated remotely, sharing session files, collecting feedback, and connecting over video calls to shape the song into its final form.

The process, from start to finish, was a powerful experience. Working with ChatGPT and Jorge in this way boosted my confidence and underscored the significance of designing an enjoyable creative process. And this meaningful endeavor would have been far more challenging and time-consuming without the assistive power of generative AI. We were able to produce a soul-stirring song in under six weeks — no easy feat! I invite you to share this experience by listening to our creation (linked below). My collaboration with Jorge came about through our efforts with Through the Noise, a song making collective that provides song makers a place to connect and collaborate.

Writing my daughter’s wedding song with the help of ChatGPT was just my first foray into experimenting with how generative AI tools can be used for good. Going forward, I’m excited to further explore how generative AI can be used to bolster the creative process — and further develop my skills as it pertains to the creative use of AI.

(Writing the song with ChatGPT’s help may have been my first time using the tool in this way, but it’s certainly not the last. In fact, this article you just read was generated with its help as well!)

Feel free to listen to our song and share your thoughts. Thank you.