Jaws dropped at the Coachella music festival in 2012 when rapper Tupac Shakur arrived on stage to perform. After all, he died in 1996 from multiple gunshot wounds. Modern technology brought him back from the dead as a life-sized hologram to spit verses alongside his old friends Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.
The virtual stunt begged a question: “Who’s next?”
Since Tupac’s digital reincarnation, we’ve seen plans for an Elvis Presley comeback and rumors of a TLC reunion aided by a virtual Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. And fans aren’t the only people wanting to see these ideas come to life.
Artists want to make magic onstage with their deceased musical brethren. Will.i.am, whose new music video “#thatPOWER” features Justin Bieber as a hologram, recently revealed which artists he’d like to revive.
“Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis,” he told Mashable at this month’s 54th annual Clio Awards — the Oscars for advertising professionals — where he was honored for his collaborations with such brands as Beats by Dre, Coca-Cola and Intel.
Chatter about holograms continued during the Clio Awards ceremony in New York City’s American Museum of Natural History. Production company Digital Domain won a Grand Clio in the Content and Contact category for its work on virtual Tupac for Coachella, admitting it was “terrified” to work on such a project. The category highlighted “groundbreaking, earth-shattering and refreshingly non-traditional” content.
The topic of reviving artists as computer-generated performers is likely on the minds of record labels, too, because of their potential to elevate sales of previously released music. Tupac’s album sales, for example, rose 500% while downloads for “Hail Mary” increased 1,500%, according to a clip played during the Clio Awards.
Although will.i.am named his top three artists to resurrect in virtual form, he has no immediate plans to make this a reality. The next time we’ll potentially see a hologram artist is during the Mixtape Festival in July, when TLC will perform for the first time in 10 years on North American soil in what’s being dubbed a “reunion.”
Which artists would you want to revived as a hologram?