Björk

  • Art pop singer, musician and songwriter born Björk Guðmundsdóttir in 1965 in Reykjavik Iceland.
  • Björk began study of flute and piano when she was six years old, and at a school recital she sang a disco song that her teacher recorded. The song was sent to Iceland’s only radio station at the time, where it was broadcasted nationally. Managers at an Icelandic record company heard it, and they offered Björk a recording contract when she was eleven years old. In 1977, her debut album Björk was released. The album had covers of four pop songs translated into Icelandic, and several others written for the album. Around 7,000 copies were made. She bought herself a piano with the money she earned, and she began to write her own music. She declined the chance to make a second album.
  • As a teenager, she embraced punk rock, and she formed an all-girl punk band named Spit and Snot. In 1980, she formed a jazz fusion group called Exodus, and two years later, she was in a group called Tappi Tikarrass, which translates to Cork the Bitches Ass. The group released an EP and an album. In 1983, she formed a group called Rokka Rokka Drum, and later she performed with five other artists at a live radio show. They decided to keep playing together, forming a goth rock group called Kukl (translated to Sorcery).
  • Sorcery recorded a single and released an album in 1984. After a second album was released, the group split up, but several members reformed the group, calling themselves the Sugarcubes. They recorded an album and toured in the U.S., finding surprising success, even getting an appearance on Saturday Night Live in October 1988. The group recorded two more albums, and then split up. Björk decided to begin a solo career in 1993.
  • She moved to England and worked with a producer to record an album. Her album Debut was released in 1993. It was widely acclaimed, named Album of the Year by the British magazine NME, and it was certified platinum in the U.S. It leaned toward dance pop, but several tracks showed Björk’s eclectic side. Five singles from the album charted in the UK, and three reached #1 in her native Iceland. Three songs charted in the U.S. – Human Behaviour reached #2 on the Alternative Airplay and Dance Club Songs charts, Big Time Sensuality topped the Dance Club Songs chart and reached #88 on the Hot 100 chart, and Violently Happy peaked at #4 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.
  • Her next album, Post, was released in 1995. It was her second to be certified platinum, and six singles charted in Europe. Hyperballad and I Miss You both reached #1 on the U.S. Dance Club Songs chart. The album continued her exploration into different styles, with more of a focus on electronica. It was ranked on Rolling Stones‘ Greatest Albums of All Time list at #289. In 1997, Homogenic was released. It was her most experimental album, and it was acclaimed widely. Rolling Stone ranked it at #202 on its GOAT list of albums, and it was noted on many “Best Albums” lists from other sources. The song All Is Full Of Love peaked at #8 on the Dance/Electronic Singles chart.
  • In 1999, Björk wrote the music score for the film Dancer In the Dark, and the director asked her to take the lead role in the film. She agreed, and in 2000 she won the Best Actress Award for the Cannes Film Festival. A song from the film, I’ve Seen It All, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song, and Björk performed it at the Oscar ceremony in 2001, wearing her famous swan dress.
  • From 2000 to 2017, Björk released six studio albums. All charted, with particular success in Europe. Her music continued to evolve with experimental and ambient sounds, generally with electronica at their core. Her 2004 album Medúlla was nearly entirely a cappella, and in 2015 it was incorporated into an opera performed in Brussels Belgium. She was nominated for 15 Grammy awards over the years, but she has yet to win one. If you prefer toe-tapping music, Björk may not be for you, but as art rock music goes, her success can’t be denied. Here’s the Grammy nominated video for All Is Full Of Love.

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