Shirley Manson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on August 26, 1966. She probably inherited her musical gifts from her father, a one-time jazz singer. Shirley didn't have an easy childhood. School was a particular problem, since she was cruelly teased by other children about everything from her red hair to her green eyes. When she couldn't take the insults anymore, and her own violent anger was getting the better of her, she dropped out of school. She was 16.
Shirley was in two local bands, 'August 1984' and 'The Wild Indian'. After months of playing in cheap hotels, in 1985 Shirley became the keyboard player and background vocalist for a band named Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie. In 1990 EMI/Capitol sold their contract to Radioactive. There was a bad feeling with the distributor (MCA), and they also liked the idea of Shirley doing lead vocals so they (Shirley Manson - Vocals, Martin Metcalf - Guitar, Fin Wilson - Bass and Derek Kelly - Drums) formed Angelfish in 1993. In 1994 Angelfish's first single "Suffocate Me" aired on MTV's 120 minutes. Steve Marker was watching 120 minutes that night and he arranged a meeting with Shirley the next day. Steve offered her a position in the band and she quickly accepted. Within 24 hours of Angelfish's premiere, Shirley became the lead singer for Garbage, which led to Angelfish breaking up soon afterwards.