Replica Studios (Replica), an artificial intelligence (AI) voice technology company, and The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) sign out for AI.

Omah Lay’s “Soso” isn’t just a catchy Afrobeat tune; it’s a poignant reflection on navigating negativity and societal pressures. With lyrics like “Shibiri, shibiri, shibiri,” meaning “nonsense” or “whispers,” the song resonates with anyone who’s felt the sting of gossip and judgment. But the true depth of “Soso” lies beyond translation. It’s in the rhythm, the melody, and the cultural context that the song’s true meaning unfolds.

This article delves into the nuances of “Soso” and explores its implications in the light of the recent groundbreaking AI voiceover agreement between Replica Studios and SAG-AFTRA.

Beyond Words: Unpacking the Nuances of “Soso”

  • The Power of Shibiri: While “nonsense” is a decent translation, “shibiri” evokes a deeper sense of pervasive gossip, whispers carried on the wind like rustling leaves. It’s the background noise that can slowly chip away at your spirit.
  • Contrasting Rhythms and Melodies: The pulsating Afrobeat rhythm mirrors the constant chatter, while the lullaby-like melody creates a sense of unease and inner turmoil. It’s like dancing on quicksand, feeling pulled between the negativity and your own inner peace.
  • Cultural Context: In Nigeria, “Soso” taps into a familiar struggle against societal pressures and judgment. It becomes an anthem for anyone feeling overwhelmed by negative voices, a call to rise above the shibiri and find solace within.

AI Voiceover: A Double-Edged Sword?

The Replica Studios-SAG-AFTRA agreement marks a significant step towards ethical AI voiceover practices. However, the potential of AI technology also raises questions:

  • Cultural Authenticity: Can AI-generated voices accurately capture the nuances and cultural significance of languages like Igbo, in which “Soso” finds its true meaning?
  • Artist Ownership and Consent: While the agreement protects SAG-AFTRA members, what about artists from less represented regions and languages? Ensuring fair compensation and artistic control for all is crucial.
  • The Soul of Music: Can AI replicate the raw emotion and vulnerability that artists like Omah Lay pour into their music? Or will it remain a cold, synthesized imitation?

A Call for Responsible Innovation

As we embrace AI voiceover technology, it’s vital to prioritize responsible innovation. This means:

  • Collaboration: Working with artists and communities from diverse backgrounds to ensure cultural authenticity and ethical data practices.
  • Transparency and Control: Giving artists control over how their voices are used and replicated, fostering trust and ownership.
  • Artistic Integrity: Recognizing that AI should complement, not replace, the unique artistry and soul of human-created music.

“Soso” reminds us that the power of music lies not just in the words, but in the feelings it evokes. As we explore the possibilities of AI voiceover, the landmark agreement by replica and SAG-AFTRA raises the issues that are yet to be dealt with in the African market.

We have a long way to develop the value chains required to have a vibrant solution to the same. But we have a place to start.

Subscribe to the blog as we seek to change the narratives of the technologies in the African market


Categorized in: