This is what creativity feels like

JVKE leads a live, AI inspired orchestral journey for “golden hour”

A snapshot of time

If you know him personally, you might call him by his birth name, Jacob Lawson. But chances are, you know JVKE from Top 40 radio, your social feeds, or anywhere music is played.

It’s been a long journey to get here. From when his mother introduced him to the piano at age three, to the years spent mastering instrumentation and beatmaking, from leaving college to pursue his own path in music, to the time spent putting out content for the TikTok #algorithm, and emerging as the latest visionary from AWAL with songs like “golden hour” and “this is what sadness feels like.”

Yeah, JVKE’s been busy.

And in the past year, he’s started a new chapter on his journey: an orchestral journey for “golden hour”. It not only represents a new mix for fans of the runaway pop hit, but a new exploration for JVKE’s creative process, as he used Microsoft Research’s AI-powered Project Muzic for tools and inspiration to bring the experience to life.

The AI took the stems from ‘golden hour’ and generated a range of options for an orchestra that helped me come up with the final arrangement for the performance.

Tech? Instrumental

JVKE’s a born experimentalist, and his creativity has never stagnated thanks in large part to technology. With music production software, he’s been able to blend genres into new sounds, trying new instruments he’s never played before. Through social media, he’s interacted with his audience–able to see what they’re vibing with. He’s no stranger to how tech helps fuel the creative process.

Artists like JVKE create the next big song because they’re always asking, “what’s next?” Sometimes, what’s next is taking advantage of tools that allow them to do more with what they already have. This spirit of reinvention brought JVKE together with Microsoft to tackle one of the hardest parts of the creative process: ideation, or coming up with tons of ideas and filtering them down to what feels right.

Through deep learning tools, artists are pushing the boundaries of how music is created, from its initial concept to the final assembly of instruments, melodies, rhythms, and harmonies. For an art form with history intertwined with technology—from the first phonograph, to the countless pieces of music production software, to now this latest innovation with Microsoft Research—we’re listening in real time as AI helps artists create.

JVKE can now put in something as specific as a single music sample and receive melodic examples of the different ways these could be extended and performed. AI provides a bunch of inspiration for the musician to do with what they will.

That’s when the genius takes over. JVKE looks at what the AI returned and tinkers, analyzes, iterates, experiments … and makes the final, creative decision on how the piece should be performed with the orchestra.

This is what _____ feels like

Thematically, the album covers ranges of human emotion that we can all connect and relate to— heartbreak, love, sadness, excitement. The “golden hour” orchestral performance represents that emotional journey, which is fitting, because how it was created and assembled represents a journey, too. One of growth and change, as artists find new chances to fall in love with their craft all over again, through new possibilities with AI and technology.

Even as JVKE has evolved and grown as an artist alongside technology, what’s stayed consistent is the vibe his music creates. Telling stories and recounting memories with music resonates with us all, and his latest album is no exception. It’s proof that even as artists integrate technology more into their process and vision, the final piece will always be something that originates from a human place and speaks to our deepest emotions. No matter how advanced or powerful AI becomes, it’s important to remember that music, and art, will always remain a human story.

On track for so much more

JVKE has described his music as a “snapshot of time.” And today, we’re seeing a new snapshot of what a creative artist in this generation looks like. With AI, it’s possible to be bold, and discover new possibilities when it comes to artistic expression and storytelling. ”golden hour” is a shining example, showing what happens when a little bit of help from technology is perfectly aligned with the emotional, creative human spirit.