Meet the Voice of Siri! An Interview with Susan Bennett.

When followed by the “Voice of Siri,” Susan Bennett, on Twitter, I freaked out. She’s REAL! I contacted her for an interview, crossed my fingers, and began my research. Along with her website, I found several videos and a podcast. I discovered she is also the voice of ATMs, GPS, Delta Airlines, Ford, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, McDonald’s, The Home Depot, Fisher-Price, Goodyear, VISA, Hot Pockets, Club Med, and Cartoon Network. Wow! She’s been busy.

Siri is an Apple IOS application which serves as a web navigator and all-round personal assistant. We all know Siri’s voice from Apple commercials. If you own an iPhone, you can press a button to ask Siri any question.

Siri and Susan Bennett

“Hey Siri. What’s the weather like outside?” She answers and includes a five day forecast. I thanked her this morning and she responded, “I live to serve.” Ha!

When Susan agreed to be interviewed, I just about fell off my chair! How cool is she? By the way, I love her name.

Photo courtesy of 10K Hours. Thanks guys!

Hey Susan! Thank you so much for agreeing to do the interview. I was super stoked when you followed me on Twitter. Social media has become ALL six of the degrees of separation between people. It has made the world much smaller.

Me – Could you explain the process of how you became the voice of Siri?

Susan – I don’t really know!!  In this digital age, we voice talent are auditioning all the time without really knowing it.  I did some generic recordings, [random phrases and sentences], in 2005 for a text-to-speech company, so I believe they chose my voice from that company’s voice bank.

Me – When did you discover that Apple used your voice for Siri?

Susan – Siri first appeared on the iPhone 4S on Oct. 4, 2011.  A colleague of mine emailed me and said, “hey, we’ve been playing around with this new iPhone app…..isn’t this you?”  I went on the Apple site, listened to the voice, and recognized myself right away.

Me – What was it like to lose your anonymity in October of 2013?

Susan – That’s a hard question to answer.  It hasn’t really been a problem, but I have no way of knowing how many jobs I might have missed because people think of me only as the voice of Siri.  Sometimes they can’t imagine me doing anything beyond that, but check out my website, www.susanCbennett.com, and you can hear lots of non-Siri voices!

Me – Do you use Siri?

Susan – I don’t use Siri very often, only if I need an answer to something when I’m in the car.

Me – Who would win in a smack down, Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana?

Susan – Original voice of Siri, no question.  It’s all in the attitude!  : )

Me – You are a self-taught musician and were a back-up singer for Roy Orbison. I understand you’re in a band with your husband. Tell us about that!

Susan – Actually, I play by ear, but I had 12 years of classical piano lessons, and didn’t really start singing until high school, when I started participating in musicals and choruses.  My husband, Rick Hinkle, a fantastic guitarist, singer, composer, and  I had a private event band for many years.  Now we play in a fun “Boomers Gone Wild” band that plays 60’s and 70’s music.  Music is a huge part our life!

Me – I’ve watched several interviews and have been impressed with how you can change the pitch and quality of your voice. Do you do any impressions?

Susan – No, not really.  I can imitate a lot of different accents and characters, but I’m definitely not an impressionist.

Me – I’m sure you’ve met all kinds of interesting people. Who would you absolutely love to meet?

Susan – I’d love to meet my favorite female vocalists, Patti Austin and Mariah Carey….and Mick Jagger!

Me – When you’re not singing or doing voice-overs, what do you like to do in your free-time?

Susan – I love to read, take Spanish classes (we have a fantastic group of 5 women who get together once a week para hablar en espanol!).  I also like to exercise/walk, get together with friends for lunch, and, of course, watch Downton Abbey!

Me – What are your current projects and what’s ahead?

Susan – I still do a lot of voice-overs…narrations, instructional videos, commercials, and messaging…..and I also do speaking engagements as the voice of Siri.  As for what’s ahead, it’s hard to say.  Lots of opportunities are popping up, so we’ll see!

Me – Your story is very inspirational. Is there anything you would like to add?

Susan – I became the voice of Siri after many years of singing and doing voice-overs, which I love.  So, do what you love, and you never know what might happen!

Thanks Susan! I’m so glad you stopped by the Wild Ride to chat with us. I can’t wait to see or hear what you do next.

Did you know a real woman’s voice was recorded for Siri?

Wikipedia – Susan Bennett, Siri10K Hours podcast with Susan Bennett

@SiriouslySusan on Twitter, Susan’s Website – SusanCBennett.com

Here is a funny demonstration of asking Siri questions.

More wild adventures.

90 thoughts on “Meet the Voice of Siri! An Interview with Susan Bennett.

  1. Very cool! One time my cat Rosencrantz stepped on my phone and activated Siri. After asking “What can I help you with?” He meowed, and Siri answered “Cat!” After that, I tried meowing for Siri and I got “Sound that cats make!’ So she was able to distinguish between a real cat and me making cat sounds.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Siri is pretty convenient. Especially when I’m out in the car looking for a part or service locally, and I need to know where the closest store or service is to my current location. I was trying to find a specialized battery one day, and after a couple of failed attempts at stores that I thought would have carried the battery, Siri directed me to a battery store that had it! She is really helpful, but I have to admit that I don’t really use Siri as much as I could.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, cool! My kids are always talking to Siri. They were stoked to see her here. What a small world and wow again for being a backing singer for Roy Orbison :0)

    Like

  3. “Boomers Gone Wild” sounds like a perfect fit for *you,* Susie. Do you play tambourine or anything? Maybe they’ll let you join.

    I dreaded reading this because I thought it would mean scrapping a draft of a piece in the works, but it appears she’s not the voice …involved. Whew!

    Like

  4. I didn’t know that Siri was a real voice. Since I am a firm Android devotee, I’m not that familiar with her (sorry), but this is so great that you two got in touch. Now when I hear her talking to my husband on his phone, I’ll be able to feel jealous of a real woman.

    Like

  5. So cool! My sister hates Siri’s driving directions. I’ve gone in circles trying them out myself. Can’t wait to send this to her. Maybe it will heal the relationship. Very nice of Susan to share herself with us. She sounds like a great lady.

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  6. “For to speak in Spanish.” (*brain freezes*) I would’ve left out “para” and “en” and just had “hablar espanol”–a group of women that gets together to speak Spanish. (But that’s me…bilingual grammar freak. xD )

    ~*~

    Cool interview, though. I could probably get a decent one (if I was lucky), but I just don’t have your following.

    Unless…co-interview? That would be fun. 😀

    Like

  7. I recall hearing about the person behind Siri. I used an Apple phone for a couple years until just recently. On occasion, I called Siri for help. Sometimes, Siri was amazing, but there were plenty of times that Siri was pretty pathetic, no matter how well enunciated the request. Since I only checked in when I really needed the help, Siri’s failures lead to loathsome feelings about being hooked on technology and such. Therefore, by association, I would “hate” Siri. Had I read your testament beforehand, maybe I’d have left Siri outside my target range.

    I am now using an Android/Samsung phone. I have my own love/hate relationship with this one as well. Perhaps your wild ride will get you to a background story on the voice behind its talk at your phone feature, “S.”

    Like

    • I think technology in general is frustrating. I still look up most everything on my computer, leaving Siri to less important stuff. I have more of a problem annunciating with my car’s GPS system. It never “hears” my request. I do love Siri’s attitude and always thank her to see what kind of response I get. Pretty funny!
      At the bottom of this post is a link to a very funny YouTube video. You might enjoy it!
      Thanks Bruce!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love that you just contacted Susan and asked for an interview!! You are so cool! For years a friend of mine was the Voice of BC Ferries. Any time I rode the ferries, there she was, welcoming me and reminding me about the safety features of the boat. I loved knowing who the person was behind the voice. Thanks for introducing us to Susan!

    Like

    • Thanks for stopping by! Susan was very cool in agreeing to be interviewed. I had no idea Siri’s voice was a real woman’s!
      It is funny to recognize voices. They recorded local celebs for voice-overs in the train at DIA! 🙂

      Like

  9. Only you would interview Siri! And that’s why I love you, Susie. I had no idea it was a real person, but it makes sense. Siri just scheduled some appointments for me a few minutes ago… I’ll never hear her the same again.

    Like

  10. I found out pretty recently that Siri is human, Susie! I couldn’t believe it. I’ve said so many awful things to her. This is a great interview and wow, so cool that she did it! She has done an incredible amount of work. I can’t believe she found out her voice was used for Siri in such a casual way. I really like Siri. I use her all the time. She’s a crack up. I truly enjoy her voice. I’ve tried using the male voice and switched back to Susan’s voice. It wasn’t the same without her. One of my favorite lines of hers, “Proceed to the route…”

    Like

  11. This was cool! I don’t use an iPhone so I don’t have Siri or really know what she sounds like. I would kind of like to interview that Australian guy that speaks out of the GPS in my car. He seems pretty cool, kind of like a surfer dude or something. I’ve always thought it would be a cool gig to do voiceovers. Great post.

    Like

    • Thanks so much! I’m glad you stopped by to meet Susan. I would love to hear your Australian! My GPS isn’t Siri/Susan and reeeeeally annoying! Check out the last link at the bottom of my blog post. Siri is demonstrated. “60 funny questions to ask Siri!” Hilarious!

      Like

  12. I love that ‘butterfly effect’. We never know who reads our blogs or books, and we never know how they will be affected by what we write. Every now and then though, we get a little feedback, and we remember why we do this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Clearly, I live under a rock, Susie. I had no idea that Siri was an actual person, but I LOVE the fact that she’s a boomer! How the hell did that happen?!? I checked out her web site. She is very talented. Your interview with her was a lot of fun. My iPhone is a basic 4, so I’m Siri-less for now, but my contract is up in July.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s a little known fact and unless someone shares this with Reddit, it will probably stay that way a while longer. CNN broke the story and Letterman brought it up in his monologue, but I didn’t know about her either!
      It is so cool and so is Susan!!!

      Liked by 2 people

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  15. Voiceover talent is really a gift. I’ve had to work with all kinds of voiceover people and believe me not many are as talented as Susan. Think about this…two of the most recognizable voices in the world are “Siri” and “Steven Hawkins” both were created from someone else’s voice.

    Like

    • That is pretty amazing!
      No one would ever want to use my Midwestern nasally voice. I’ve been in Colorado for 27 years and still can’t shake the accent!
      I had friends in school who could do all kinds of crazy voices. It is a talent!

      Liked by 2 people

  16. That was a very cool interview! I had no idea that Suri’s voice came an actual person. Lol. You can tell I don’t get out much! I thought the voice was automated. Lol. How funny is that? I’ve got to get with the program. Thanks for introducing us to Susan, Susie. 😊

    Like

    • Hey Kate! I missed your comment.
      Susan did the original recordings for an independent company. Years later, they sold her recording to Apple. She said she was paid well initially, but Apple hasn’t paid her since they bought the rights. Pretty crazy, right???

      Liked by 1 person

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  19. How in the world do you agree to a contract for a service like this? Is there a Siri union representative? Whatever, Siri has saved our marriage from conflict while driving in strange places, and for that, we are deeply grateful. Score Susie! reTweeting this on Sunday Blog Share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey! Thanks for the share! I’m not sure, but Susan was paid for the initial recordings with another company and they were sold to Apple. Susan’s other contracts were earned by her reputation. Siri didn’t even put in a good word! … As far as I know… Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I love this! I have to admit that I talk to Siri constantly when I’m stuck in traffic. I ask her random questions, just to see what she comes up with. It helps me survive an hour long commute. I feel like I know her now. It’s no longer a one-sided relationship. That interview must have been so much fun.

    Like

    • It was! I emailed her the questions.
      I became acquainted with Siri when I was stuck in traffic. We didn’t move for almost a half hour, so I asked her all kinds of questions. Now I use her to text and read my emails. It’s like having a personal secretary. I feel all special-like!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I was surprised a few months ago when Susan Bennett followed me on Twitter out of the blue, too. Now I’m thinking she has a program to seek out all of us who share the name! Stay frosty — I suspect she’s gearing up for a revolution.

    It surprised me that she found out Apple used her voice without her being aware of it, so I asked Siri if Apple pays Susan Bennett to use her voice for Siri. Siri said she couldn’t answer that, but Apple should be able to, and she sent me to the Apple website. I input “Does Apple pay Susan Bennett for the use of her voice as Siri?” in the Search, but it came back with 0 matches. So no answer there. Hmm.

    Here’s a fun question to ask Siri: What is zero divided by zero?

    Like

    • I will watch out for being sucked into an army of Susans to take over the world. Ha! 🙂
      She said that she was paid by the company who recorded her voice, but not by Apple. They bought it through whoever she originally worked with. Can you imagine how she must have felt when discovering her voice on so many phones???

      Liked by 1 person

  22. What a great opportunity to interview Susan. I actually heard her interviewed on my local radio station about six months ago. She sounds like a lovely lady, even though, have to admit, sometimes the answers Siri gives is so funny! 🙂 Great interview.

    Like

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