Born on August 26, 1966, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Shirley Manson is best known for her work as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band Garbage. Before fronting Garbage, Manson played keyboards and sang back-up with Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, and performed as the lead singer of Angelfish. In 1995, Garbage released its self-titled debut album, which went double platinum due to hits such as “Only Happy When It Rains,” “Stupid Girl” and “Vow.” Manson went on to release four more albums with Garbage, includingNot Your Kind of People (2012).
Shirley Manson was born on August 26, 1966, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The musician was the second of three daughters born to John Manson, a geneticist, and Muriel Manson, a former big-band vocalist.
Manson began taking piano lessons at age 7, and her love of music led her to eventually study at the City of Edinburgh Music School. Perhaps music was a refuge for the young girl, who was bullied relentlessly in school. The harassment took its toll; Manson fell into a deep depression and began cutting herself.
In 1984, Manson found an outlet to express herself: She became a member of the band Autumn, and later joined the group Wild Indians. Manson dropped out of high school at age 16, and soon joined the band Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie as a back-up vocalist and keyboardist. She performed with the band until 1992.
Manson joined the band Angelfish as its lead singer, and together they released the EP Suffocate Me in 1993. Though the album failed to produce hits, it did get Manson noticed by Butch Vig, drummer for the band Garbage, when he saw her on MTV. He contacted Manson, who auditioned for Garbage twice before joining the band as its lead singer in 1994.
Garbage’s self-titled debut album in 1995 went double platinum in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia due to hits such as “Only Happy When It Rains,” “Stupid Girl” and “Vow.” Three years later, the band released its second album, Version 2.0, with Manson serving as not only the face and voice of Garbage, but also its primary lyricist. During the band’s two-year tour, Manson modeled for Calvin Klein to promote the album.
In 1999, Manson co-produced the theme for the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, starring Pierce Bronson as James Bond, the iconic character created by author Ian Fleming. Garbage’s third album, beautifulgarbage, was released in 2001 to lackluster sales. Infighting between members ensued, and Garbage broke up in 2003. The split didn’t last long, and the band reunited to release its fourth album, Bleed Like Me, in 2005. Led by the hit “Why Do You Love Me,” the album met with international success and, reaching Top 5 in the United States.
The reunion was brief, and the band took a hiatus for several years. During this time, Manson made attempts to create a solo album, but to no avail. Her label refused to release the album. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Manson revealed, “I had a collection of songs that I thought were really strong. I took them in [and] played them for the record company. They weren’t interested. They told me they were too dark. They wanted me to have international radio hits and ‘be the Annie Lennox of my generation.’ I kid you not; I am quoting directly.”
Manson made her acting debut in 2008, playing cyborg Catherine Weaver on the second season of the show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. She returned to Garbage in 2010, when the band returned to the studio to write and record music for its fifth album, Not Your Kind of People, released in 2012.
Manson married Scottish actor Eddie Farrell in 1996. The couple split in 2001 and finalized their divorce in 2003.
In May 2010, Manson married record producer and Garbage sound engineer Billy Bush, who helped produce the 2012 album Not Your Kind of People. They live with their terrier named Veela.
Manson has no children, but that’s by choice. She told the Daily Mail UK, “I just missed that whole baby calling. I feel a lot of women think you’re a freak if you feel like that, and maybe I am strange, I never got that feeling.”
Manson and her husband reside in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.