Since 1975
  • facebook
  • twitter

Late Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum’s AI cover of “Detective Conan” goes viral

Umm Kulthum, iconic Egyptian singer, goes viral for an AI cover of her singing the theme song of
Umm Kulthum, iconic Egyptian singer, goes viral for an AI cover of her singing the theme song of "Detective Conan" (@Memesawyy on Twitter).
Short Url:
24 Jul 2023 04:07:41 GMT9
24 Jul 2023 04:07:41 GMT9

Manar Elbaz

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) song covers has been taking over the internet, with Umm Kulthum being the latest to go viral for an AI cover of the theme song of “Detective Conan”.

While AI has been used by the masses to make lives easier, for example, by translating from one language to another, using smart homes, or simply getting personalized advertisements, the internet has been using it for a completely different reason: making AI song covers.

AI covers have been flooding social media for the last few months, particularly on the short-form video content application TikTok. The For You Page (FYP) on TikTok is the first thing audiences stumble upon when downloading the application, which uses a specific algorithm to curate videos for users based on their personal preferences. If users like a specific artist, there’s a very high chance that the FYP will recommend an AI cover of that artist. 

An AI cover of Pop artist Taylor Swift covering R&B artist The Weeknd’s “Starboy” has recently gone viral on the application, notably for sounding extremely realistic to Swift’s voice. 


Star Boy – Taylor Swift ( ai cover ) full song #taylorswift #swifttok #swiftie #ai #theweeknd #fyp #fypシ #fypシ゚viral @Taylor Swift ctto of the video

♬ StarBoy – TS.🧣

While these covers originated on TikTok, they’ve been getting shared on other social media platforms as well. On Twitter, user @Memesawyy shared a 33-second clip of an AI cover of late Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum covering the Arabic version of “Detective Conan” ‘s theme song, replacing Rasha Rizk’s voice. 

Most covers only replace the voice of the original singer with another singer however, this cover changed the whole style of the theme song to match the singer’s style. 

The caption of the viral tweet is a wordplay on Umm Kulthum’s honorific title, “Kawkab al-Sharq” (literally translated to “Star of the East”), as it reads “Kawkab al-anime” or “anime star”.


Umm Kulthum is considered one of the most popular Arabic singers in the world. With a career of over 60 years, the singer has recorded approximately 300 songs covering universal themes such as love and loss. She is known as “the star of the east”, “mother of the Arabs”, and “Egypt’s forth pyramid”.

She influenced some of the biggest singers in the west, such as Bob Dylan, who constantly praised the late Egyptian artist. Beyonce and Shakira have performed dance routines to Umm Kulthum’s music.

She became a symbol for authentic Egyptian and Arab culture. With enchanting performances and powerful vocals, Umm Kulthum’s legacy still remains strong in the Middle East and worldwide. She still appears regularly in Egyptian media to this day. In Saudi Arabia, she was given the hologram treatment.

Her most popular song “Enta Omry” is almost an hour long and currently has 73 million views on YouTube. 

“Detective Conan” (or Case Closed) is a 1996 anime that follows high school detective Shinichi Kudo, whose body was chemically shrunk to a prepubescent boy and later adopted the pseudonym Conan Edogawa to keep his true identity a secret, as he uses his intelligence and skills to solve crimes. The anime is one of the most beloved and popular among Arabs.

The cover had a mixed reaction from the audience. While some people find it funny, many find it disrespectful to Umm Kulthum and her iconic music. Although both Umm Kulthum’s music and the Arabic version of “Detective Conan” ‘s theme song evoke a sense of nostalgia for Arabs, Twitter users were left with a feeling of extreme unease and started questioning the extent of AI applications.

Twitter user @Memesawyy also tweeted another AI cover of the late Egyptian singer Shaaban Abdel Rahim singing the theme song of “Hunter X Hunter”. The cover has now over half a million views on Twitter.


Hunter X Hunter is an anime, adapted from a manga under the same name, that follows protagonist Gon Freecss’ journey to become a hunter, a licensed professional with a diverse skill set ranging from hunting to combat, like his father, who abandoned him when he was younger.

Shaaban Abdel Rahim is one of the most popular Egyptian singers in the “Sha’abi” or “festival” genre, which is an Egyptian music genre originating from the working class in Cairo and can be characterised by electronic loud sounds, autotune, and distinctive lyrics. This genre is the most popular genre of music in Egypt and can be found everywhere, from the streets to weddings.

The Sha’abi singer became popular for his controversial songs, his distinctive singing style, and his informal lyrics. Similar to the Umm Kulthum cover, this AI also matches the singer’s style, which gives the cover a different feel and style from the original theme song. The cover was also met with mixed reactions.


AI covers fall under a category of AI called generative AI, which is a type of artificial technology that can produce content such as text, imagery, audio, and now music covers. 

Introduced in the 1960s with chatbots, generative AI uses machine learning algorithms to generate content by analysing patterns and data. Not only can this AI make artists cover different songs, but it can also produce original music of any genre.

This AI is effective even if the artists don’t speak the same language as the song they’re covering. It’s also effective if it uses fictional characters. An AI cover of Naruto Uzumaki, the main character of the anime “Naruto”, covering a Turkish song currently has over 3 million views on TikTok.


Naruto Uzumaki – Džanum Ai Cover. #fyp #fypシ #fypage #naruto #natutoedit #narutouzumaki #narutouzumakiedit #teyadora #aicover

♬ orijinal ses – H3R0!


Artists on a budget can benefit from this technology by leveraging resources and creating higher-quality music. Platforms such as Amper Music or Jukedeck can be used to create original musical compositions. 

On the other hand, this technology has started an online debate about whether it’s ethical and legal or not. Many people believe that it’s a violation of the artist and their music. For AI covers, the voices of the artists are used without their consent, which can cause a legal issue. 

Big record labels have already started taking matters into their own hands, as Universal Music Group has started requesting streaming services, such as Spotify and Apple Music, to block AI companies from accessing their catalogue to train AI models. R&B singer Drake commented on the matter, saying “This is the final straw”.

Another negative concern about the rise of AI in music is employment.  Some believe that AI might replace musicians in the future, especially in the area of background music production for movies. This replacement could decrease the quality of production and leave many musicians unemployed. 

Ultimately, this technology is a double-edged sword. With AI anime covers by Umm Kulthum and Shaaban Abdel Rahim going viral, the debate of whether these AI are concerning or just funny will continue, with no right or wrong answer.

Most Popular

return to top