Shirley Manson


musical style: 

photograph of Shirley Manson

Shirley Ann Manson (born 26 August 1966) is a Scottish musician, the lead vocalist of the band Garbage. Manson is also the former keyboardist and backup singer with Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, as well as the ex-lead singer of Angelfish.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Manson is the second of three daughters. Her father is a geneticist and her mother is a former big band singer. At age seven, Shirley began learning the piano, later attending the City of Edinburgh Music School where she also joined the school's theatre group.

At school, she was regularly bullied, and inflicted self harm. Children teased her because of her red hair and large, popping eyes. She sometimes returned home after school, bloody and bruised from the bullying. The never-ending teasing and bullying led her into a deep depression, and she began to cut herself, among other things.

Her first experience with music was with the bands Autumn 1904 and Wild Indians. When she was 16, Shirley joined Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, where she sang backup vocals and played the keyboards. She remained in the band for a decade until they split in 1992. After the split, Shirley and two other members of the band formed Angelfish, another band where Shirley sang lead vocals. Angelfish released a self titled album and one single, Suffocate Me.

After seeing Suffocate Me on MTV, Butch Vig was impressed and wanted Shirley to front his band Garbage. After two auditions, Shirley became the lead singer in 1994.

Manson immediately set about re-writing the lyrics to the band's already written songs. The resulting collaborative efforts became Garbage, the band's debut album, which would go on to sell 5 million copies worldwide, earning double platinum certifications in UK, US and Australia. The album produced hit singles and breakthrough hits such as Stupid Girl, Only Happy When It Rains and Vow.

By the time their second album, Version 2.0, was being recorded in the band's own studio, Manson had become the band's primary lyricist, but was still regarded by many as simply the face of Garbage. As a regular musical contributor and guitarist, she felt great disappointment at the general perception of her role in the group.

After her brief role as a model for Calvin Klein and the confidence that composer David Arnold had shown her while co-producing the theme for the James Bond film, "The World Is Not Enough", Shirley began to write more self-reflective lyrics, which ended up on the band's third album, beautifulgarbage.

Garbage briefly dissolved in 2003 due to in-fighting. After resolving their problems, they reformed to record their fourth album, Bleed Like Me, which was released in April of 2005. The album reached the top 5 in the US, and overall sold well around the world.

As of October 2005, Garbage is on an indefinite hiatus due to the fact that the band has been constantly producing and promoting albums and touring for the past decade. According to Manson the current situation between the band's members is "good".

Since Garbage is currently on an indefinite hiatus, fans have speculated whether or not Manson will record a solo CD. This issue was finally confirmed on 1st March 2006, when record producer David Arnold's official website announced that "David has just completed writing and producing with Shirley Manson, lead singer of Garbage, for her new upcoming project". reported that she intends to record a solo album but she insists that Garbage has not broken up.

Manson revealed to the Sunday Times on 2nd July 2006 that she had contacted Paul Buchanan of Scottish group The Blue Nile to write with her for her solo album. "I thought he'd be very moody and introverted, but he's not like that at all. He's quite outgoing and charming. Neither of us has ever written with anybody else before. It's going to be strange. We'll see how it goes - it could be a complete unmitigated disaster."

She has appeared in the second season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV show, and sang the intro song, Samson and Delilah, on the first episode.

Shirley Manson recorded a solo album but her label refused to release it considering it to be “too noir”. In 2009, she posted on her Facebook page a demo song entitled In the Snow.

According to a post from Shirley’s Facebook page, the band returned back to studio in 2010.

On February 1, 2010, it was confirmed through Shirley Manson's official Facebook profile that she spent a week in the studio with her band-mates. The news came shortly after Butch Vig received a Grammy for producing American rock band Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown, which won "Best Rock Album". In the post, Manson wrote "Guess who I just spent a week in the studio with? Would you be pleased if I said one of them was called Steve and one of them was called Duke and another was a Grammy-winning producer?" In October 2010, it was officially confirmed that Garbage are recording their fifth studio album. Manson revealed the band have "recorded quite a lot", and anticipated a hopeful finishing date for the new material of summer 2011, also taken from her Facebook page. In July 2011 however Manson stated in a comment that the album wouldn't be released until 2012, although the potential for a new single to be heard this year is still there.

Recently the working titles of twelve new songs, "Time Will Destroy Everything", "Blood for Poppies", "Alone", "Control", "Animal", "Automatic Systematic Habit", "Sugar", "Felt", "Lies, Lies, Lies", "Not Your Kind of People", "T.R.O.U.B.L.E" and "Big Brite World" were released via Butch Vig and Garbage's Twitter pages as well as Manson's Facebook page.The group has on several occasions described the sound of the album as "abrasive", featuring "extreme noise", with Manson going so far as to attest, "All traditional instruments are banned. Instead, one is only allowed to make abstract "noise"." Vig has confirmed that a total of 24 new songs are being "ruff mixed" for possible inclusion on the album. Garbage released a teaser video on their Facebook in late July to mark their return. Read more about Shirley Manson on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

Gear used by Shirley Manson

Shirley Manson electric guitars

Shirley Manson links