Karen Jacobsen: The Voice behind the GPS and Siri

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Karen Jacobsen is a renowned singer, motivational speaker, voice-over artist and songwriter with roots in both Australia and New York. She has one of the most recognisable voices in the world after becoming Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri.

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She has been widely acclaimed for her work, earning the President’s Award for Distinguished Service from the National Speakers Association in 2016 and the Dottie Burman Award from the National Speakers Association NYC Chapter in 2012.

Early Life

Hailing from Mackay, Queensland, Jacobsen attended the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and majored in voice and piano, winning the Jazz Prize and receiving her A.Mus.A. diploma in piano.

Karen Jacobsen Childhood Image
Karen Jacobsen Childhood Image

Jacobsen’s passion for music started young at just seven years old, and was driven by her idol Olivia Newton-John who inspired her to pursue a career as a professional singer.

Karen Jacobsen with Husband
Karen Jacobsen with Husband

Age

Jacobsen was born on January 23, 1969 in Mackay, a small town in North Queensland. She is currently 55 Years old. ((Instagram))

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Career

Jacobsen shifted to Sydney and debuted in musical theatre, appearing in the original Australian production of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story.

On 4 July 2000, Karen Jacobsen relocated to New York City. Since then, she has released ten albums under her independent label Kurly Queen and her songs have been featured on soundtracks for television shows such as Dawson’s Creek and Passions.

She has also performed alongside Christopher Cross, Neil Sedaka, Norah Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Spyro Gyra, Deborah Cox and Rachael Sage.

ABC News and CBS News have dubbed Karen Jacobsen ‘The Dashboard Diva’ while the Gold Coast Bulletin labeled her ‘Gadget Girl’.

Additionally, she served as the original female Australian voice of the Siri application on Apple devices from 2011 to 2014. She auditioned for the role in 2002 while living in New York. She said that,

‘They were looking for a native Australian female voiceover artist living in the north east of the United States – I thought “that’s a description of me”

After being chosen for the role, it took 50 hours over three weeks to complete the job. Jacobsen would only record four hours per day to ensure her voice didn’t sound ‘fatigued’ ((Daily Mail))

Personal Life

Jacobsen is married and has a son. She lived in United States for 20 years until returning Australia in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Karen Jacobsen with Husband and Son
Karen Jacobsen with Husband and Son

Some Facts About Karen Jacobsen

  • Jacobsen is originally from Mackay, Queensland.
  • She started her career singing with the Queensland Youth Choir. She also awarded the Warana Young Performer of the Year.
  • She was the keynote speaker for EYO, an AAUW event for young women, for the years 2014 and 2015.
  • Jacobsen has proudly been chosen to sing national anthems at several major sporting events in both the United States and Australia. In June 2016, she performed Advance Australia Fair in front of a capacity crowd of 52,000 people at Suncorp Stadium Lang Park in Queensland for the State of Origin Rugby League game.
  • She has collaborated with several well-known names in the music industry, including Grammy Award winner Andy Zulla, Tony Award winner David Zippel, and ARIA Award winner Sean O’Boyle.
  • Jacobsen has performed on many Australian television shows such as Good Morning Australia and I Do I Do. In addition, her speaking and singing voices have been used in countless commercials for television, radio, online and even a billion+ devices.
  • Aside from her musical achievements, Jacobsen has also been an advocate of child sponsorship and raised awareness on the benefits of it.
  • Moreover, she founded the group ‘To Zambia With Love’ to help support the work of Children International, and motivate people to sponsor children in need.
  • She loves to read books in her spare time.

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