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Anna Culpepper.jpg

An advertisement for "Ryan's Songbird", an album critical of both Sander Cohen and Andrew Ryan.

I just got the word to put the bump on Anna Culpepper. This isn't some gangster or hard-nosed political operative. We're talkin' about a dizzy twist what wrote a song or two that got under Ryan's wig!
― Sullivan[src]

Anna Culpepper was a well-known musician in Rapture who eventually wrote songs that were critical of Andrew Ryan and Sander Cohen.


Where she is not derivative, she's boring. Where she's not boring, she's obvious. Where she's not obvious, she's dangerous!
― Sander Cohen[src]
The following is based on the BioShock: Rapture novel and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

Before she arrived in Rapture, Culpepper was an English major whom Andrew Ryan had recruited during her third year of college. In Rapture she took up a career as a lyricist, and in the beginning, she collaborated with Sander Cohen on works such as the song performed at the opening ceremony of Rapture.[2]

Culpepper also held a seat on the Rapture Central Council, although Andrew Ryan eventually regretted allowing her to gain the position because of, in his opinion, her counterproductive input. Compared to the other members of the council, she was not reserved when it came to voicing opinions that were against Andrew Ryan's own ideals. She suggested that the Council should allow citizens to take excursions to the ocean surface as long as they stayed close by, and was skeptical of Ryan's certainty that nuclear war between surface nations was inevitable. Culpepper did give Ryan the idea to educate Rapture citizens about splicing to reduce the risk of problems caused by overindulgence. This idea was the main inspiration for Ryan's "Jim & Mary" series of public address announcements.[3]

Anna Culpepper was friends with Andrew Ryan's mistress, Jasmine Jolene, and Jasmine turned to Anna for advice when Jasmine discovered that she was pregnant. By that time Culpepper was fully opposed to Ryan, so she tried to convince Jasmine that he was a dangerous tyrant and she should stop relying on him to care for her.[4]

As the Rapture Civil War worsened, Culpepper took up a new role as a protest songstress. On one notable occasion, she openly performed her songs before a mob of citizens outside of the First Bank of Rapture during the bank run in the aftermath of the 1958 New Year's Eve riots.[5] She was also a frequent patron of The Fighting McDonagh's Tavern, where she met with her friends to discuss rebellious ideas.[6] Ryan called Culpepper's efforts "Communist versifying" and promised to ensure that "the little Red bird stops singing."[5]

End of information based on the BioShock: Rapture novel.

Anna Culpepper ran further afoul of Ryan when she began to sing songs criticizing Sander Cohen, whose music she felt was little more than a propaganda tool for Ryan. She went as far as producing the scathing album "Ryan's Songbird", with a caricature of Cohen on its cover. Though she was well-reviewed with many "column inches", this direct attack drew the line for Cohen, causing him to become enraged,[7] having many posters for the song taken down, which he hid in his own apartment.[8] According to the diaries of Security Chief Sullivan, the feud between Culpepper and Cohen intensified to the point that Andrew Ryan involved Sullivan's security detail.[9] Ryan eventually ordered Sullivan to kill Culpepper.[10] Reluctantly, Sullivan complied.[11]


Main article: BioShock

Anna Culpepper's body was left in the bathtub of her Mercury Suites apartment in Olympus Heights, and the player can find it there during their journey through the area.

Challenge Rooms[]

Main article: Challenge Rooms

A quote by Anna Culpepper can be read in one of the loading screens for the DLC on the PlayStation 3 (the quote also appears in the main game). A "Ryan's Songbird" poster can also be found near the ticket booth in Rapture's Grand Carnival.

  • "Sander Cohen is a two parts suck-up and ten parts hack. And that's being charitable."[12]

Audio Diary[]



Behind the Scenes[]

Song Bird Poster.png
  • In the E3 2006 tech demo for BioShock, Ken Levine refers to this "SOng Bird" portrait of a blonde woman as Anna Culpepper. It is prominently displayed on the stairwell of the record store and the reverse wall on the bottom floor.
    • Now the guy talking is Sander Cohen as in this insane musician who's trapped you in this level and you can see a picture of him on an ad for one of his albums up on the wall there. And one of the things you found out is he had this woman, Anna Culpepper, killed, and you can see her on the poster over there, for making a-an album that mocked his music. Now he's trapped you in this level and you're trying to get out.[14]
    • In the final game, the picture is almost completely obscured with char in the burned out Rapture Records in Fort Frolic. It also appears in the bathrooms in the Challenge Rooms in A Shocking Turn of Events though pockmarked with large bullet holes.
    • The picture is based on a fruit crate label for Golden Girl Apples. It is also more notably recolored with black hair and used in an advertisement for Dr. Steinman's Aesthetic Ideals The usage of other clip art images in the poster is documented on the Rapture Records page.
    • The "SOng Bird" poster draws parallels with another "Cohen's New Songbird" advertisement for "You Belong to Me" used in Burial at Sea.


  1. BioShock Female Corpse model
  2. BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 6
  3. BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 13
  4. BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 15
  5. 5.0 5.1 BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 17
  6. BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 18
  7. Sander Cohen's Audio Diary: Musical Insult
  8. Many posters of "Ryan's Songbird" can be found in Cohen's bedroom in his Mercury Suites apartment during BioShock.
  9. Sullivan's Audio Diary: Artist's Feud
  10. Sullivan's Audio Diary: Bump Culpepper?
  11. Sullivan's Audio Diary: Artist Woman
  12. Culpepper's quote in-game
  13. The set of pictures
  14. 2006 BioShock Tech Demo @ 13:13