Listen to Steven Wilson’s first ever Christmas song, written with a little help from AI

“I wonder what people will make of it. I wonder what I make of it,” the musician ponders.

Steven Wilson on stage. He is playing a Telecaster, which shows lots of signs of wear on the body, and is holding one arm up with his pick in hand.

Image: Paul Bergen / Getty

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Steven Wilson of rock band Porcupine Tree has made his first ever Christmas song, December Skies.

Although the idea of writing a festive track wasn’t really up Wilson’s alley to begin with, a friend suggested he should use the help of AI through ChatGPT to write the lyrics – and so he did.

AI in music remains ever divisive, but it is cropping up more and more across our industry. Just recently, the tech was used to reinstate a demo recorded by John Lennon which has been released as “the final” song from The Beatles. The track, titled Now And Then features all four original members.

“[I was] challenged by a friend last week on why I’d never done a Christmas song, I protested it wasn’t really me, and besides I didn’t think I had it in me to write suitably Christmassy lyrics,” begins Wilson in the description for the music video.

He then explains how his friend instructed ChatGPT to generate Christmas lyrics in the style of Steven Wilson. “By the yard, in fact, I was shocked at how instantaneous and easy it was to guide it (‘don’t actually mention Christmas’ we said to it, ‘make it feel more lonely’…etc),” he explains.

“I’m still not entirely sure what I think about AI, the knee-jerk reaction is to consider it a threat to a musician like me, but it’s clearly not going away, so this is my experiment to try embracing it and using it as a tool in the creative process.

“And of course also to have some fun doing something I would never normally have thought about doing, the archetypal seasonal song. December Skies is the result, swiftly recorded last weekend and written in collaboration with an Artificial Intelligence version of myself. I wonder what people will make of it. I wonder what I make of it,” he states.

Listen to the track below:

The video for December Skies was also created with the help of an AI system by Miles Skarin, based on imagery drawn from Wilson’s previous videos which were placed into 2D and 3D backdrops.

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