A digital pop star created by a Japanese talent agency to avoid the challenges and controversies that artists face, a virtual singer from South Korea who released two albums, a virtual influencer who transitioned into music, and a few well-known honorable mentions round out our list of virtual musicians.
We take a look back at some of the most fascinating virtual acts in music across the globe. A slew of virtual pop idols and musicians from Japan, South Korea, and Denmark took the music world by storm.
Kyoko Date was a virtual pop star developed in Japan in the 1990s. HoriPro, one of Japan’s largest talent agencies, created her as the country’s first virtual idol. Kyoko Date was digitally produced using the latest technology available at the time to avoid the usual burnout or controversy that an artist may encounter.
She was known as DK-96, which was an abbreviation for Digital Kid 96, the year she was created. Kyoko Date underwent many upgrades as Diki or DK-99. ‘Love Communication,’ and ‘Albatross,’ are some of her singles.
In 2018, HoriPro debuted Ayano Date, the daughter of Kyoko. She is a virtual YouTuber who has over three thousand subscribers. Check out her YouTube channel here.
The virtual singer’s voice was provided by vocalist Park Seung Chul. On his Youtube channel, Adam & Zero TV, he explained Adam’s backstory, Chul passing the audition while serving in the military, and other behind-the-scenes details. Adam is a fan of musicians John Lennon, Jimmy Hendrix, and Jim Morrison, according to his now-defunct website.
Hatsune Miku, also known as CV01, was created by the minds at Crypton Future Media, a Japanese software development company, in 2007. Miku is a Vocaloid, a type of synthesizing software that takes sounds produced by a human voice and combines them to create words or musical rhythms to create a song. The artist’s vocals are on display in tracks ‘News 39,’ ‘Tears,’ and ‘I Thought I was an Angel’– a power metal ballad.
Miku performed as part of the Magical Mirai concert in 2016, with a capacity crowd absolutely buzzing throughout the show. Via holographic projections, she sings, dances, shares the stage with other virtual performers, and even plays the guitar throughout her nearly two-hour concert.
Miquela Sousa, also known as Lil Miquela, began her career as a CGI virtual influencer on Instagram in 2016 and later began producing music in 2017. She is the brainchild of DJ and music producer Trevor McFedries and co-founder of technology startup Brud, Sara DeCou. Miquela’s bio on Instagram reads “19-year-old Robot living in LA.” Her musical exploits include songs ‘Money,’ ‘Speak Up,’ ‘Automatic,’ and the 2022 release ‘Masterpiece’.
Lil Miquela collaborated with singer-songwriter Teyana Taylor on the R&B and Soul single ‘Machine’, worked on ‘Hate Me’ with DJ and record producer Baauer and did an ad for Calvin Klein alongside model Bella Hadid.
Studio Killers are an audio-visual virtual collective with members based in Denmark, Finland, and the United Kingdom. Formed in 2011, the electronic group is comprised of the fictional animated characters vocalist Cherry, keyboardist Goldie Foxx, and DJ Dyna Mink. Bipolar Bear serves as the band’s manager.
Their debut album, ‘Studio Killers,’ was released in 2013 and peaked at number one on the iTunes dance charts in the United States and Canada. Singles ‘Jenny’, ‘Ode To The Bouncer’, and ‘‘Bedroom Eyes’ (with EDM duo The Knocks) are among their most popular tracks.
Find Studio Killers on Spotify HERE
Sam Tauber, an Australian electronic music producer, rapper, singer-songwriter, and visual artist, developed VNCCII, a 3D cyborg avatar. VNCCII made her debut in 2019 and has since become a mainstay in the music, gaming, audio-visual, virtual production, and digital fashion industries. Her most popular musical releases include ‘Citizen A.I,’ ‘Astro Life,’ ‘Take You Higher,’ and ‘I Came I Saw I Conquered.’
Sam was inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci when naming VNCCII. About VNCCII, Sam Tauber informed One Edm, “The 3D cyborg A. I. avatar VNCCII was created to be a futurist A. I. super-heroine. Her sole mission is to empower and free the people and allow them to embrace their own inner superhero powers.”
Visit VNCCII’s website by clicking here
The animated group One-T was founded in 2001 by music producer Eddy Gronfier and artist Thomas Pieds. It is based on the tale of a teenage boy who aspires to be a DJ. The Hip Hop and Electronic Music group released two albums, ‘The One-T ODC’ and ‘The One-ABC,’ in the early 2000s. Their most popular songs are ‘The Magic Key,’ ‘I Woke Up,’ and ‘Tomorrow’s War.’
Formed in 1998, Gorillaz is arguably one of the world’s biggest virtual bands. Since their debut self-titled album ‘Gorillaz‘, the English electronic alternative rock outfit has released eight studio albums and has earned multiple nominations and wins.
Crazy Frog is a computer-generated animated character developed in 2003 by Swedish animator and graphic artist Erik Wernquist. Crazy Frog gained popularity after its rendition of ‘Axel F‘, originally composed by Harold Faltermeyer and featured in the soundtrack of the film ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ (1984). The 3D animated Amphibian has since taken steps into the Metaverse.
K/DA is a virtual K-pop girl group made up of four versions of the League of Legends characters. Vocalist Ahri and Evelynn, dancer Kai’Sa and rapper Akali form the group which was developed in 2018. ‘All Out‘, a four-track EP, was released by the group in 2020. It featured several vocalists who provided voices for the characters.