Shirley Manson: The 5 Artists Who Inspire Me

Patti Smith
»I was in a band called Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie when I was a kid, maybe 18 years old, and the lead singer brought me [Smith’s iconic 1975 debut] Horses. I played it over and over and over again and fell madly in love. She’s remained a touchstone throughout my career, and a beacon of light whenever I feel a little trepidatious about how a woman in music can, as she gets older, navigate the waters.»

Louise Bourgeois
»I stumbled into the Tate Modern in London and saw the retrospective of her career a couple years ago. Then I followed it to Paris and New York — I became a groupie! It amazed and delighted me that this rebellious, revolutionary woman was in her 90s. The spirit never dies if you’re determined.»

My Mom
»I was lucky in that she was a singer and she had really good taste in music, so I grew up on an incredible record collection of women like Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, and even Karen Carpenter.» (Manson’s mother Muriel, a homemaker, passed away in 2008.)

Stanley Kunitz
»He was America’s poet laureate. I saw him late one night on Charlie Rose and I went out and found this poem of his called ‘The Layers,’ which I’ve used a tiny little snippet of on our new record.»

Tracey Emin
»The last day I ever saw my mom alive, I went to see Tracey’s exhibit at the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. She’s an acquired taste; you either love her or hate her. But I want to be an artist like her — brave and challenging and provocative.»