Montreal

Montreal developers create 1st interactive holographic pop star

Meet Maya Kodes, the first interactive holographic pop star who’s about to release her new single Boomerang.

Maya Kodes is releasing her new single live on Facebook

Maya's speaking voice and body are controlled by one person. Her singing voice is controlled by another. 1:18

Becoming the next Justin Beiber or Taylor Swift may be a far off dream for many wannabe pop stars, but their competition is about to get even tougher.

Meet Maya Kodes, the first interactive holographic pop star, who's about to release her new single Boomerang.

Maya Kodes is a virtual singer created by developers at Montreal's Neweb.tv company. (Neweb.tv)

Maya is the brainchild of Yves St-Gelais and the developers at Neweb.tv, a company in Montreal's Côte-Saint-Paul neighbourhood. The company creates interactive holographic characters. Maya's body and speaking voice are controlled by one person behind the scenes, who is covered from head to toe in motion sensors. Her singing voice comes from another person, and is not computerized.  

"She is interactive on stage with the public, with the dancers and with musicians, and interactive on Facebook," says St-Gelais. "You can even be her friend, just press 'Like' on Facebook."

The body and talking voice of Maya Kodes is controlled by one person covered in motion sensors, seen here at the Neweb.tv studio. Maya's singing voice comes from another person. (Kristin Falcao/CBC )

The creators behind Maya say there is no one like her in the world. The phenomenon of a holographic pop star is nothing new. It's a huge craze in Japan, where the 3D hologram pop star Hatsune Miku sells out huge venues to screaming teens. However, she can't interact with her fans. Maya Kodes can.

Holographic pop singer Hatsune Miku performs in Japan. (YouTube)

Maya can chat with her fans in concerts or on social media, she can do interviews, she can even attend red carpets and award shows – if it comes to that.  

"This is a new era, the future of entertainment," says Maleïka Beauchamp, the production director at Neweb.tv. "We're not saying there won't be any singers anymore in real life, but we are trying to introduce [this] concept with Maya."

Virtual singer Maya Kodes is interviewed by CBC's Kristin Falcao. (CBC)

Maya is releasing her new single called Boomerang, live on Facebook, followed by a Q&A with her fans. So will we be hearing it on the radio?

The team behind this virtual singer admits the music industry is not quite sure how to deal with a new single released by a hologram, but they hope it makes its way onto the airwaves.

"We have managers, we have a label behind it, we have distribution, so it's exactly the same business model as any other pop star, so why not?" says Elodie Lorrain-Martin, VP for Development & Affairs at Neweb.tv. "It should be on the radio, because it's a real singer singing."

Virtual singer Maya Kodes works with her production team on her new single Boomerang. (Neweb.tv)

Maya may just be the next step in the evolution of pop music. She already has a fan base, she is releasing an album in the spring, and has already booked two shows outside of Canada. What does Maya think about the prospect of her being the next big pop star?

"I'm just so passionate about what I do, and I'm just so eager to share my music with you guys," says Kodes.

Aside from Facebook and her own website, Maya has lots of social media platforms to share her songs. She's also on twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.

Is this the future of pop music? It just may be.