The Surprising Story Behind the Voice of Siri | Voice Talent Now

The Surprising Story Behind the Voice of Siri

Monday, September 2, 2019

She's with you all the time. You talk to her every day. You know her voice, but you don't know what she looks like or anything about her.

Siri is our friend in our pocket, and the "person" we go to for answers. She helps us out and sometimes even makes us laugh. But who is the voice behind Siri?

Many people don't realize that the voice of Siri is a real live human being. Her name is Susan Bennett. 

Read on to learn more about Susan and how she became the voice on the iPhone that everyone knows.

Siri's Beginnings

In July of 2005, voice actress Susan Bennett was hired for a job. It was a big job. 

In the studio, she spent an entire month recording thousands of different phrases, including some that seemed like utter nonsense. After four hours a day, five days a week, the job was complete, and she went back to her life. 

Little did she know then that soon her voice would be known by millions of people from all over the world. 

Before Susan Became Siri

In the 1970s, Susan graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life, but she loved to sing. She moved to Atlanta and started singing in clubs, and her singing career began to take off.

She started working as a studio backup singer for artists like Burt Bacharach and Roy Orbison. Susan also did some commercial jingles. Things were going well for her, but everything was about to change in an even more positive way.

One day, after recording a jingle for a product, the voice actor who was hired to read the copy to complete the commercial didn't show up. The director asked her to read it instead and was pleased with her delivery.

Susan realized then and there that being a voice actress was her calling. She hired an agent and began taking voice acting lessons.

In time, she began to rise in the field. She recorded voice-overs for a wide variety of companies including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Macy's, Goodyear, Papa John's, IBM, and more.  She was even a friendly voice behind one of our country's first ATM machines.

The Days of Siri

When Apple began to develop the concept of Siri for iPhones, Susan got the job.

However, they didn't tell her what she was recording. The concept of Siri was a secret, so her employers kept the purpose of what she was doing under wraps.

For weeks, she recorded phrase after phrase. Many didn't even make sense. They all needed to be in the exact same tone, pitch and pacing.

Five years later, she discovered all that work was being used for the voice of Siri. When she signed the contract in 2005, the company that hired her did not tell her what her voice would be used for, and she granted permission for her voice to be used anywhere and anytime. 

Susan After Becoming the Voice of Siri

Susan learned that she was the voice of Siri when a friend recognized her voice on the phone. At first she was a little upset; Apple had never hired her and she didn't feel that she had been paid fairly considering the extent of her voice's use.

However, in time, she accepted it. Since then, she has found a vast amount of work in her field thanks to her fame as the voice of Siri. Today, she is glad that she was a part of such a major technological development for both herself, and for the greater world.

Voice acting is a wonderful career. To learn more about it, and how to get into it, check out our blog

View All Recent Posts