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Shirley Manson (1966)

Shirley Ann Manson

Type :  

  Summary  

Shirley Ann Manson is a Scottish recording artist and actress, best known internationally as the lead singer of the alternative rock band Garbage. For much of her international career Manson commuted between her home city of Edinburgh to the United States to record with Garbage but now lives and works in Los Angeles. Manson gained media attention for her forthright style, rebellious attitude, and distinctive voice, which also won her fans throughout the world.

Manson's musical career began in her teens when she was approached to perform backing vocals and keyboards for Scottish band Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie. Quickly she developed into a prominent member of the group and developed a formidable stage presence. Manson was approached by her band's record label with the idea of launching her as a solo artist, and recorded an album with her band under the Angelfish name. After seeing Manson in an Angelfish video broadcast only once on MTV's 120 Minutes, Garbage invited Manson to record vocals on a few of their songs; she eventually co-wrote and co-produced an entire album with the band. The resulting self-titled debut, Garbage, was a worldwide hit, and was followed by three studio albums, including the multiple Grammy Award-nominated Version 2.0, and a greatest hits album. Garbage toured worldwide and sold 12 million record sales over ten years.

In 2006, Manson began to write and record solo material after Garbage was put on "hiatus" and in 2008 was cast in her first professional acting role on the second and final season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as series regular Catherine Weaver, a liquid metal T-1001 Terminator. Manson returned to the recording studio in 2010 to write and produce material for a fifth Garbage album.

Manson has been voted at #60 on the VH1s 100 Sexiest Artists list.

  Biography  

 life and career
Shirley Anne Manson was born in 1966 to John Mitchell and Muriel Flora Manson (née MacKay) at the Queen Mary Maternity Home in Edinburgh. John Mitchell, a descendant from the fishing community of Northmavine, Shetland, was a university lecturer while Muriel was a big band singer, who had been adopted by a Lothian-based family at an early age . Shirley was named after an aunt who was herself named after Charlotte Brontë's novel Shirley. She was born with two years between both older sister Lindy-Jayne and younger sister Sarah, and was brought up in the Comely Bank and Stockbridge areas of the city. Manson attended Presbyterian church until the age of 12, where her father was also her Sunday School teacher.

Manson's first public performance was in 1970, at age four, with her older sister, in an amateur show held at the local Church Hill Theatre. Enrolled at Flora Stevenson Primary School, Manson received instruction in recorder, clarinet and fiddle, and learned ballet and piano from extramural classes at age seven. Manson was a member of Girlguiding UK throughout this period of her youth as a Brownie and a Guide, Manson attended the City of Edinburgh Music School, the music department of Broughton High. While at Broughton, Manson became an active member of its drama group, performing in amateur dramatic and musical performances such as The American Dream and The Wizard of Oz, while also singing with the Waverley Singers, a local girl choir. Other notable members of the drama group included Hilary MacLean, Rebecca Pigeon and Sara Stewart; while a production of Maurice the Minotaur during the 1981 Edinburgh Festival Fringe was awarded a Fringe First award by The Scotsman newspaper.

While Manson had enjoyed primary school, Manson was bullied while in her first year at secondary school, causing her to suffer from depression and engage in self-injury: she carried a sharp object in the laces of her boots and cut herself when she felt low self-esteem, stress, or anxiety. The bullying stopped when Manson associated herself with a rebel crowd – which resulted in her rebelling herself; playing truant for most of her final year at school, smoking cannabis and sniffing glue, drinking, shoplifting, and on one occasion breaking into Edinburgh Zoo. Manson's first job was volunteer work in a local hospital's cafeteria, then as a breakfast waitress at a local hotel before spending five years as a shop assistant for Miss Selfridge, beginning on the make-up counter. Manson was eventually moved into stockrooms for her attitude to customers. Manson became well known throughout Edinburgh's clubbing scene, and making use of free samples from Miss Selfridge, styled hair for a number of local bands. Manson also briefly modeled clothing for Jackie magazine.

 Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie

Manson's first musical experiences came from briefly singing with local Edinburgh acts The Wild Indians and performed backing vocals with Autumn 1984. While she was acting in her group, Manson was approached by Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie's lead Martin Metcalfe to join his band. Manson embarked on a relationship with Metcalfe initially, but remained involved after splitting from him and became a prominent member of the group, performing keyboards, backing vocals and becoming involved in the band's business side. Manson's first release with the Mackenzies was a YTS release of "Death of a Salesman" in 1984. The group signed a major label record deal with Capitol Records in 1987, and they released their first album Good Deeds and Dirty Rags, and their only UK Top 40 hit "The Rattler". In 1990, the group's contract was transferred to Parlophone, another EMI label, but after two singles failed to chart Parlophone declined to release the groups second album Hammer and Tongs.

Gary Kurfirst, who managed Talking Heads and Deborah Harry, bought the Mackenzies contract and issued their second album through his own label Radioactive, a subsidiary of MCA. After another single failed to chart, the group were persuaded to leave Radioactive by their management. The Mackenzies continued to write material; Manson was also given the opportunity to record lead vocals on a number of tracks planned for the band's third album. Although MCA had no desire to further their commitments to Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, the label expressed interest in recording an album with Manson, and after hearing several demos, Kurfirst signed Manson to Radioactive as a solo artist, with the remaining Mackenzies performing as her backing band to circumvent the band's existing deal with MCA. Manson's contract obligated her to deliver at least one album and, at the sole option of Radioactive, up to six additional albums.

 Angelfish

Recording under the name Angelfish, and using some of the newly written material and a previously released Mackenzie b-side, Manson and the group recorded the tracks that would make up the Angelfish album in Connecticut with Talking Heads' Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. A lead in track "Suffocate Me" was sent to college radio where it was well received. Angelfish and second single "Heartbreak To Hate" followed in 1994. Angelfish toured the United States, Canada, France, Belgium, and co-supported Live on a tour of North America, along with Vic Chestnutt. The music video for "Suffocate Me" was aired on MTV's 120 Minutes. Producer and musician Steve Marker caught the broadcast and thought Manson would be a great singer for his band, Garbage, which also featured producers Duke Erikson and Butch Vig.

  Garbage

Vig invited Manson to Smart Studios to sing on a couple of tracks. After an unsuccessful audition, she returned to Angelfish. At the end of the Live tour, Angelfish imploded and Manson returned to Smart for a second try. She began to work on the then-skeletal origins of some songs and the band invited her to become a full-time member of the band and finish the album. In August 1994, Radioactive gave their permission for Manson to work with Garbage. The band's debut album Garbage was released in August 1995, and went on to sell over 4 million copies, buoyed by a run of high charting singles including "Only Happy When It Rains" and "Stupid Girl." Manson quickly became the public face of the band over the course of a tour that took the band through to the end of 1996.

Manson became the band's chief song-writer for the follow-up record Version 2.0 which equalled the success of the band's debut record after its May 1998 release. During the two year tour in support of the record, Manson modelled for Calvin Klein. The group recorded the theme song to the James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough, and Manson became the third Scotswoman to sing a Bond theme after Lulu and Sheena Easton. In the accompanying video, she portrays an android assassin. For the recording of Garbage's third record throughout 2000, Manson became one of the first high-profile artists to write a blog online, while she decided to improve her guitar playing for the band's next tour. Their third album, beautifulgarbage, featured Manson's most forward and personal lyrics to date. The album did not sell as well as its predecessors, but Garbage performed a successful world tour in support of it. Manson's lyrics became more overtly political for Garbage's fourth record, 2005's Bleed Like Me, which after the surprise success of lead-in single "Why Do You Love Me", posted some of the band's highest chart positions upon release.

Garbage began an extended hiatus in October 2005. During this period, in 2007, Garbage reformed to perform a short set at a benefit show to raise cash to pay for Wally Ingram's medical treatment, shared song ideas via the internet, recorded new material, and filmed a music video to promote the band's Absolute Garbage greatest hits compilation. Garbage returned to the studio in 2010 to write and record material for a fifth album.

A few months into Garbage's hiatus, Manson began writing a solo record, working with songwriter Paul Buchanan, producer Greg Kurstin, soundtrack composer David Arnold, and Garbage drummer Butch Vig. In 2007, Manson called up a group of artists to collaborate in the creation of songs, including Rivers Cuomo, who at that point had never co-written material with anyone. Manson presented some of her work to Geffen Records in 2008, who found it "too noir", prompting Manson and Geffen to mutually terminate her contract. Manson continues to write material while without a record deal and has contacted David Byrne and Ray Davies in hopes of potential collaborations. Manson has posted three demos on her Facebook profile, written by her and Kurstin, titled "In the Snow", "Pretty Horses" and "Lighten Up".

Manson also worked with a number of artists outside her solo project, reciting a verse of a long poem for a Chris Connelly album, recording duets with Eric Avery and Debbie Harry and performing backing vocals on a Gavin Rossdale track. Although not recording material with them, Manson also performed on-stage with The Pretenders, Iggy Pop, Incubus and Kings of Leon in Atlantic City, with Gwen Stefani and a further twice with No Doubt in Universal City. Manson also performed in an uncredited role as a dominatrix in the music video for She Wants Revenge's single "These Things". Most recently Manson sings on a track written by Serj Tankian entitled "The Hunger", an exclusive single from the rock musical Prometheus Bound.

 personal life
Manson has long been interested in spirituality. She later recalled, "when I was very small, I was very besotted with the church, absolutely, I loved the theatre of it and I got very involved in all the stories we were taught." Her father was also her Sunday school teacher. When she was about 12, she had a huge fight with her father over the dinner table, screaming at him that "religion's a sham, ... and I'm not going to church any more, it's just bullshit". She stopped going to church, but continued to have theological debates with her father every Sunday. She became disenchanted with organised religion and although she maintained an interest in spirituality she complained that she "brushed up against too many examples of "hypocritical" spiritualists." Manson claimed on her Facebook page to be in favour of "science but also maybe a little bit of spirituality... I am not scared of God but I am scared of the word".

Manson married Scottish artist Eddie Farrell in September 1996, having been together for six years. The couple split around 2001; their divorce was finalised by 2003. Manson was later reported to have become engaged in 2008, and in May 2010, married record producer and Garbage sound engineer Billy Bush in a Los Angeles court house.

 other work
 Acting
Manson was cast in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in May 2008, after being asked to appear by series creator Josh Friedman and enduring a multiple audition process, beating out other actresses including Julie Ann Emery. She debuted in the season two premiere episode "Samson and Delilah" as Catherine Weaver, a CEO of a technology company, ZeiraCorp. At the conclusion of the episode, Weaver is revealed to be a liquid-metal T-1001 Terminator. Manson also performed and co-arranged a rock and blues version of the gospel song "Samson and Delilah" for the episode's score. Manson cites actress Glenn Close and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as her acting influences for the ambiguous character. Manson also played the human Weaver in archive footage viewed by the T-1001 in the episode "The Tower is Tall, But the Fall is Short".

In 2009, Manson made her first venture into the videogame industry by becoming digitally mapped to create an avatar of herself for the Guitar Hero franchise. In the fifth game in the series, Manson is an unlockable character, while the game also features a licensed Garbage track.


 Charity work
Manson has used her and Garbage's profile to raise awareness and funds for a number of causes, commissioning a Garbage branded lipgloss online, with all proceeds from the sales split between Grampian Children's Cancer Research and cancer treatment institutions at Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital in Scotland and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York.

In 2001, Manson became an ambassador for the M•A•C AIDS Fund, fronting their fourth two-year charity lipstick marketing campaign alongside Elton John and Mary J. Blige, beginning with the launch of the VIVAMAC IV lipstick in March 2002, in which all proceeds of the sale of the lipstick goes to help fund AIDS charities and initiatives. While touring, Manson visited several AIDS charities in Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Toronto, New York, San Francisco and Madison to make several donations totalling over $300,000 on behalf of the M•A•C AIDS Fund.

In 2003, the M•A•C AIDS Fund linked with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to produce the White Bedroom campaign, where both Elton John and Manson recorded PSAs promoting condom use and stating facts on AIDS. By 2007, the combined six VIVAMAC campaigns had raised over $100 million U.S. dollars, and as a former ambassador Manson accepted a cheque for £51,000 on behalf of HIV charity Waverley Care from the M•A•C AIDS Fund on 10 April 2008 at Harvey Nichols Edinburgh store. Manson had become a patron of Waverley Care in October 2002 and previously hosted a fund raiser auction to raise funds for the charity in January 2004 which raised £45,000. A Fender guitar owned by Manson raised £1,050, while other items auctioned included contributions sourced by Manson herself, from Elton John and Kylie Minogue.

Manson is also a keen lover of animals. In 2007, Manson fronted an international poster campaign for PETA Europe, holding the carcass of a fox under the headline "Here's the rest of your fur coat". Manson has also adopted a rescue dog, a terrier-mix named Veela, named after the fictional beings from the Harry Potter books.

In 2008, Manson became involved with the Pablove Foundation, a charity founded by Dangerbird Records head Jeff Castelaz, whose son Pablo succumbed to cancer the following year. Funds raised for the Pablove Foundation directly supports the pediatric cancer community in and around Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Manson reformed Garbage to contribute an exclusive track, "Witness to Your Love", to a charity album for the Foundation; signed off a Pablove poster for auction on eBay; Manson also hosted a fundraiser headlined by the Silversun Pickups, and performed acoustically on-stage at a second fundraiser with Butch Vig and Tom Gabel (for a rendition of "Witness...") and with Greg Kurstin (for a cover of Pablo's favourite song, David Bowie's "Life on Mars?").

In 2010, Shirley Manson donated two hand-decorated T-shirts to Binki Shapiro’s (of the band “Little Joy”) on-line charity auction “Crafts for a Cause” to help raise money for the earthquake victims of Haiti. The two T-shirts raised a total of $1522.00, which was donated to the Artists for Peace and Justice organisation.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Shirley Manson", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.