Björk Guðmundsdóttir is a singer, a songwriter and an actress.
Björk was born on November 21, 1965 in Reykjavik, Iceland. Her music is a combination of alternative punk rock, avant-garde art, trip hop, IDM, electronic and experimental pop. With elements of both psychedelic videos and audio tracks, for some she is a gentle artist with a wide range of emotions in her songs, while for some she is weird and heavy. All in all, she has sold between 20 and 40 million records.
When Björk was five, she started attending a music school where she began learning to play the flute. It can be found that Björk stated that her home was “a hippie commune” while her mother denies it saying that she exaggerates as usual.
Björk started singing when she was 11 years old and when she actually launched her first solo album. This album was named “Björk” and it contained many popular Icelandic and world songs, for instance the Beatles’ Fool On The Hill as well as Stevie Wonder’s Your Kiss is Sweet. It also contained one Björk’s original song.
While she was a teenager, she was singing in a couple of punk bands. She was in KUKL and with some of the members from the band she later formed the Sugarcubes, the Icelandic band, with an alternative rock genre. The band was created in 1986 and ceased to exist in 1992. Björk was singing and playing the keyboards.
Björk got married to Eldon Melax from the band on June 8, 1986 and they conceived a child, their son Sindri Eldon Thórsson. However they divorced in 1987.
After the Sugarcubes fell apart, Björk started her solo career. She launched pop albums Debut and Post. Since then, she has been famous for alternating her styles. For instance, Debut had an electronic style of pop, house, jazz and trip hop.
This album was the first album that Björk made on her own and it was widely popular and important for her music career. In fact, she sold three million copies.
Debut was released in 1994 and it contained some great hits such as “Venus as a Boy”, “Human Behaviour”, and “Big Time Sensuality”. In fact, a music journalist said: “Debut is one of the strongest, most musically varied and consistent dance records of the 90’s.”
Following the boom of popularity with Debut, even Madonna wanted Björk to sing on her next album, but Björk refused. However, she wrote a song “Bedtime Story” that got to a Madonna’s album.
The Post album also led to a world tour and the winning of her third BRIT Award in February 1996. In this same tour, Björk had an incident with a reporter – she attacked him, but later explained that she was just protecting her son. She said she was sorry afterwards and even sent flowers to the reporter.
After Debut and Post, she released similar albums: Vespertine (2001) and Medúlla (2004).
The songs on her third album Homogenic were played in a new style where she combined electronic music and string instruments. The album was a tribute to her motherland Iceland.
As for her actor’s career, she acted in the movie Dancer in the Dark and she won the prize for the best actress at the Cannes Film Festival. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe.
This movie was seen differently by people, but it won awards, and Björk said that she thoroughly enjoyed playing her character Selma and that she identified with her. The movie soundtrack was on album Selmasongs.
Björk also declared that she would not be acting in any more movies: “I knew when I said yes that this would be not only my first role but also my last one. I’m very happy that it’s to be this one.” When asked why and whether she would reconsider it, she replied: “I have to do records now. I only have 50 years left, and I’ve got a lot of records to make.”
During her career, Björk was nominated for 12 Grammys, 1 Oscar and 2 Golden Globes. So far she has won a great number of music and film awards such as the prestigious music award Polar 2010. Her song “I’ve Seen It All” which she performed with the group Radiohead was nominated for an Oscar for the best song. This song was sung at the Academy Awards ceremony. She was noticed by her swan-shaped dress.
In 1996 an obsessed fan attempted to send her a letter bomb along with the video recording of his suicide.
It was Ricardo López who was not only an obsessed stalker, but also a racist who did not approve of Björk’s relationship with Goldie, since Goldie is a black man.
This incident had shaken Björk so much that she thought about abandoning her public career. Nevertheless, she got back after a year with two new albums: Telegram and Homogenic.
Upon launching Homogenic, Björk should have gone to North America tour but due to a kidney infection she had to postpone it.
Her album Vespertine from 2001 was again a symbol of her avant-garde electronic art. Another musical “experiment” that followed was Medulla in 2004 where she made songs only with the human voice and voice-samples.
Then, including some hip-hop rhythm with the help of hip-hop producer Timbaland, the album Volta was launched in May 2007.
After a short marriage with Thór Eldon, Björk had relationships with a couple of other musicians. In 2000 she got to know Matthey Barney with whom she is today as well and they have a child, daughter Isadora Bjarkardottir Barney. They live together in New York City. Björk’s latest album is Utopia, launched in November, 2017.