The voice of Siri has been an iconic part of the iPhone experience ever since the digital assistant feature was introduced in 2011. However, the voice actress behind Siri has been a mystery… until now.
Atlanta-based actress Susan Bennett recently came forward and revealed in an interview with CNN that she is indeed the voice of Siri, but didn’t even know that she was the voice of the personal assistant until a friend pointed out the similarities between Bennett’s voice and that of the personal assistant two years ago.
Bennett believes that some voice work that she did for a vocal performance database back in 2005 provided the basis for the voice of Siri that we now know. She recorded words and phrases for up to four hours a day in her home studio for an entire month, all the while never knowing what her vocal performance would eventually be used for. Those recorded speeches for the database were eventually synthesized in a process called concatenation, which builds new words and sentences from snippets of vowel and consonant sounds. The result is a synthesized voice based on Bennett’s original vocal performance.
This isn’t the first time Bennett’s voice has been used in automated services. The actress has revealed that she is also the voice behind several common GPS systems and also gives automated messages to passengers traveling on Delta Airlines. Aside from automated services, Bennett has also done more traditional voice-over work for commercials and even animated programming on Cartoon Network.
Apple has not confirmed that Bennett’s voice provides the basis for the voice of Siri that we know today, but CNN reports that an an audio-forensics expert with 30 years of experience can confirm that after studying both Bennett and Siri he can say with “100%” certainty Bennett’s voice is indeed the basis of Siri.
Though Bennett never really intended to go public as the voice of Siri, other voice actors who provided the voice of international versions of the personal assistant software had already come forward, and Bennett felt it was time to break her silence, especially as rumors swirled about another voice actress who could possibly be the voice of Siri.
Though iOS 7 includes new voices for Siri, Bennett says she isn’t too worried about her vocal performance fading into the past, because in her field you come to expect evolution. She says, “I really see a time when you’ll probably be able to put your own voice on your phone and have your own voice talk back to you.”
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