Singers on opposite coasts of America use hologram magic to perform a duet

Singers MIA and Janelle Monae have shared the stage during separate concerts on opposite coasts of America through the magic of holograms.

MIA performed in New York with a 3D projection of Monae while Monae sang on the West Coast with MIA’s likeness.

Both artists have ideas for how they might use performance holograms beyond their bi-coastal duet, which was sponsored by Audi to launch its A3 model.

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The hi-tech duet required more advanced 3D projection and video mapping technology than Tupac Shakur’s hologram debut at the annual Coachella music festival in 2012. MIA and Monae performed together in person to help create the holograms, but each saw the results for the first time onstage.

“I wish I were in the audience because I’m sure it looked cooler from the audience, but it felt great,” Monae said after closing her 40-minute set at Quixote Studios by singing with a hologram. “I felt MIA’s spirit up there.”

A life-size hologram of the British rapper joined Monae onstage with an original addition to her song Q.U.E.E.N. Wearing a spangled top and pants reminiscent of C-3PO, MIA appeared to dance and sing, her image at times bathed in coloured lights. Monae’s hologram sang a verse of MIA’s Bad Girls with her at New York’s SIR Stage 37.

Neither artist got to see what their own hologram looked like, with Monae confessing: “I’m going to go online and see if I could see it.”

But both said they would try the technology again.

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“I think if you can have artists be a hologram and you can access it, and you have them life-size, in your house, it could be kind of cool,” MIA said. “It’s definitely cool for us and it’s cool for me. I could be in 10 places at once.”

The technology has been prohibitively expensive and cumbersome to use on tour, she said: “I hope they get it together to the point that it’s accessible.”

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