This is like the first time you see the actual cast of the Simpsons.
The Guardian have got in contact with the three of the iconic voices behind Apple's voice activated assistant, Siri, and sat them down for an interview because we all need to know who's behind the voice that helps us with so many important tasks. Seriously, these are the people who tell us how many pounds are in an ounce, or how many feet in a yard, or why that girl we like won't text us back. I mean, come on, it's been like 17 mins now. No? Just me?
Anyway, we didn't think we'd ever see an interview with a piece of software, but here we are people. 2015, what a time to be alive. Meet Karen Jacobsen, Jon Briggs and Susan Bennett.
How does one become the voice of Siri?
Susan: All of the original Siri voices worldwide came from a bank of digital voices that were recorded in 2005. I recorded four hours a day, five days a week for a month. The process is called concatenation, and the reason the original Siri was so iconic is because she was the first concatenated voice to actually sound human.
Karen: I had an audition. I read the brief and thought: “This is me. This job is mine!” I went to the audition and got the job on the spot!
Jon: The original system was recorded for a US company called Scansoft, who were then bought by Nuance. Apple simply licensed it.
What are others people’s reactions when they find out you are the voice of Siri?
K: They are pretty excited and it really it is a lot of fun. Mostly they want me to record a message for their kids to tell them to brush their teeth, go to bed when they are told to, and to listen to their parents!
But I receive the most beautiful messages thanking me for helping someone with driving anxiety, or getting them to a destination they are headed to. It is surreal.
S: People don’t usually recognise my voice, because my everyday speaking voice isn’t as deep as Siri’s and the meter of the speech is different. Once people know who I am, they freak out a bit. I’m always amazed at how much people relate to her, and basically think of her as a person.
J: Everyone reacts very positively when they discover where they’ve heard my voice before – and it’s across all age ranges. It’s fair to say that the most street cred is gained from those under 20. And, interestingly enough, when it was changed last year, there was a Twitter campaign to get me reinstated – so they must have liked me!
What are the oddest Siri stories people have told you?
K: Oh my goodness. Plenty of Siri stories. Most of the questions they asked are probably best not mentioned in polite company.
J: I’ve met lots of people who have told me that they’ve asked me to marry them via Siri, so I’ve probably received more marriage proposals than any other Englishman. I’m still single incidentally!
Where else might people recognise your voices from?
K: I’m known as the GPS girl. I’ve ended up in over 400 million GPS and smartphone devices worldwide. I hear from people all the time who want to tell me about the fabulous trips “we” have taken together!
S: I’ve been a voiceover artist for many years, but I started off as a singer. I was actually the person who sang the jingle about “Tillie the All Time Teller” for First National Bank. It was the first successful ATM in the US. This was before personal computers, and at that time no one trusted getting their money from a machine. I became the persona of the ATM, and suddenly people could relate to the machine, which made it a success. I’m also the voice of Delta Airlines.
J: Back in the early 80s I was on a radio programme calledthe Chip Shop with Barry Norman. I was the voice of The Weakest Link and I have had my own voice agency for the last 20 years. I’m very proud of both The Weakest Link and Siri – I think it’s an enormous privilege to be the known voice of anything like that, and it’s a great way of breaking the ice with new audiences.
These are only snippets from the full interview, which you can read in full over here. We highly recommend doing so.
Via The Guardian