You may not know her, but you probably know her voice. That's because you've almost certainly asked her some of your most perplexing questions — and she's answered them. She's also guided you to many of your destinations. And she's might have even given you some serious shade on more than one occasion. Who is she? We're talking about Siri.
Much to the dismay of any tech conspiracy theorists who believe she's nothing more than a virtual assistant living inside all Apple devices, Siri is the vocal product of the very real, very human, Susan Bennett. The professional voiceover artist fell into the role of the original American Siri (Apple also released British and Australian versions, too) somewhat by chance, but she's been in front of a microphone for most of her career.
"It was pretty much accidental but it was also sort of in the cards because it was very related to music," Bennett says. "I've been playing piano since I was 4 and I took lessons for many years. I ultimately became a professional musician, a singer and keyboard player."
Like most ambitious creatives, Bennett took on a variety of side hustles, singing advertising jingles and providing backup vocals for musicians. During one particular session, a voice actor booked for a gig didn't show up. "The owner of the studio said, 'Susan, you don't have an accent. Come over here and read the copy.' And I thought 'oh I can do this,'" she says. "I read the copy and did well and thought, 'this could be something to add to my freelance things to make a living.'"
Born in Burlington, Virginia, Bennett now lives in Atlanta with her musician husband (she has one son, a photographer in Los Angeles, with her first husband, a professional hockey player). While she's no longer the voice of Siri (Bennett says Apple started tweaking the tone with iPhone 5s in 2013 and gave it a full overhaul with OS11 in 2017), she's definitely busy, doing speaking events around the world and performing with two bands — Boomers Gone Wild and Canyon Ladies. She also found time to squeeze in this Q&A with us.