Björk Björk
Icelandic musician
Björk Björk
Björk Guðmundsdóttir, known as Björk, is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Her eclectic musical style has achieved popular acknowledgement and popularity within many musical genres, such as rock, jazz, electronic dance music, classical and folk. Björk's 1990s singles "It's Oh So Quiet", "Army of Me" and "Hyperballad" charted in the UK Top 10. Her record label, One Little Indian, reported that by 2003 she had sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.
Biography
Björk's personal information overview.
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Björk
    FIFTIES
  • 2016
    Age 50
    On 3 June 2016 Björk debuted Björk Digital, a virtual reality exhibit showcasing all the VR videos completed for Vulnicura thus far, including the world premiere of "Notget", directed by Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones, at Carriageworks for Vivid Sydney 2016 in Sydney, Australia.
    More Details Hide Details She DJ'd the opening night party and did the same when the show traveled to Tokyo, Japan on 29 June, showing at Miraikan. During the Miraikan residency, Björk made history by featuring in the world's first ever virtual reality live stream broadcast on YouTube. She gave a live performance of Vulnicura's final song "Quicksand", and the footage will be incorporated into the "Quicksand" VR experience to be released at a later date. Björk Digital is expected to tour the globe for 18 months with its next stop in Montreal. Few cultural figures have made the distinctions seem as meaningless as the Icelandic singer who combined trip hop with 12-tone, and who brought the avant garde to MTV just before both those things disappeared. When even Rihanna is now photographed by the Dutch duo Inez & Vinoodh wearing an Alexander McQueen mask, who can doubt that Björk – who made both the photographers' and the late designer's careers – is the master of today's cultural terrain?"– Jason Farago, The Guardian
    On 7 March 2016, Björk announced in an interview that she and Arca were working on her next full-length studio album. "The last album, we sort of call it 'hell'.
    More Details Hide Details It was like divorce!" she said. "So we are doing paradise now. Utopia. We have done hell, we have earned some points."
  • FORTIES
  • 2015
    Age 49
    On 7 December 2015, Vulnicura was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.
    More Details Hide Details On 15 July 2016, a standard "commercial" edition of Vulnicura Live was released, featuring the same performances but newly mixed and with different artwork. A luxury version of Vulnicura Live is set to be released on the 23rd of September. The Vulnicura Live Luxury Edition boxset will contain a double LP in gatefold sleeve, a CD version of the live album, a 320kbps MP3 download card, a set of 6 photo prints housed in a glassine sleeve, together with an exclusive 3D Low Polygon Bjork Moth Paper Mask in pieces to build with its own set of instructions included.
    A book entitled Björk: Archives, documenting the content of the exhibition, was published on 30 March 2015.
    More Details Hide Details In addition to the "Black Lake" video, videos for "Lionsong" (which played in the Cinema room of the MoMA exhibit), "Stonemilker" (a 360 degree VR video) "Family", and "Mouth Mantra" were also produced for the album, as well as a three part remix series available digitally and on limited edition vinyls. No traditional singles were released for Vulnicura. On 21 December 2015, the "Stonemilker VR App" was released for iOS devices, featuring an exclusive strings mix of the song. It is the same version on display at MoMA earlier that year. On 2 October 2015, Vulnicura Strings was announced. The album serves as a purely acoustic companion to Vulnicura, and features additional string arrangements plus the viola organista, a unique string instrument played on a keyboard designed by Leonardo da Vinci. It was released on 6 November 2015 on CD and digital and 4 December 2015 on vinyl. A week later, Vulnicura Live was announced on double CD / double LP sets sold exclusively through Rough Trade record shops. The set sold out online five days after being announced but limited quantities were made available in store in London and Brooklyn. Each format is limited to 1000 copies each, making it one of the rarest physical releases of Björk's recent career. The CD was released on 13 November 2015 with the picture disc vinyls released a week later.
    New York's MoMA hosted a retrospective exhibition from 8 March – 7 June 2015 that chronicled Björk's career from Debut to Biophilia; however, aspects of Vulnicura were included as well but not previously announced.
    More Details Hide Details The retrospective consisted of 4 parts: the Biophilia instruments (Tesla coil, MIDI controlled organ, the newly created Gameleste, and gravity harp) were on display in the lobby of the museum and played automatically throughout the day, the MoMA commissioned video installation, "Black Lake", which consisted of 2 complementary edits of the "Black Lake" video screened in a small room with 49 speakers hidden in the walls and ceiling, a Cinema room showcasing most of the singer's music videos, newly transferred in high definition, and the Songlines walking exhibit which showcased Björk's notebooks, costumes and props from throughout her career.
    Björk began her world tour in March 2015 at Carnegie Hall performing "Black Lake" and other tracks from Vulnicura as well as several from her back catalog with accompaniment from the ensemble Alarm Will Sound, Arca on electronics (on festival dates The Haxan Cloak took over) and percussionist Manu Delago.
    More Details Hide Details After completing its New York residency, the tour traveled to Europe before ending in August 2015.
  • 2014
    Age 48
    In late 2014, a concert film, Björk: Biophilia Live, was released worldwide, including in more than 400 cinemas.
    More Details Hide Details Björk worked with producers Arca and The Haxan Cloak on her ninth studio album, titled Vulnicura. On 18 January 2015, just days after being publicly announced, and two months ahead of its scheduled release, a supposed full version of the album leaked online. In an effort to salvage potential losses in sales due to the leak and to allow fans to hear the album in superior quality, it was made available on 20 January 2015 on iTunes. Vulnicura is a portrayal of her breakup with former partner, Matthew Barney with lyrics that are emotionally raw in comparison to the abstract concerns of her previous album.
  • 2013
    Age 47
    In July 2013, she featured in a Channel 4 documentary programme along with Sir David Attenborough called When Björk Met Attenborough, as part of their Mad4Music season of programmes.
    More Details Hide Details Björk and Attenborough discussed the human relationship with music, focusing around Biophilia, and also featuring scientist Oliver Sacks. In 2014, the apps were the first ever to be inducted into the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection. In June, Björk recorded original vocal samples for Death Grips, which they used on all 8 songs of Niggas on the Moon, the first part of their double LP, The Powers That B.
  • 2011
    Age 45
    On 17 March 2011, Björk confirmed details about her next project, Biophilia.
    More Details Hide Details The new project combined music with technological innovation and themes of science and nature, including an "app album", educational collaborations with children and specialized live performance, debuting in Manchester, United Kingdom at the Manchester International Festival on 30 June. This was the first part of the Biophilia Tour, that toured the world for two years. In June 2011, the first single from Biophilia, "Crystalline", was released. The song was composed using one of the several instruments custom built for the project, the "gameleste", a celesta modified with elements of gamelan. A central part of Biophilia was a series of interactive iPad apps made by programmers and designers, one app for each of the 10 songs on the new album. The second single, "Cosmogony", which served as the "mother app" for all the others, was released on 19 July 2011, followed by "Virus" and "Moon". Biophilia was the first ever album to be released, in October 2011, as a series of interactive apps.
    On 17 February 2011, Pitchfork reported that Björk would release a collaboration with Syrian musician Omar Souleyman.
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  • 2010
    Age 44
    On 3 December 2010, in an interview with Pitchfork, Björk was asked if she was "working on anything at the moment," and she replied, "Yes, it will be ready in a few months."
    More Details Hide Details
    On 7 December 2010, a previously unreleased song, called "Trance", was released by Björk as the backing track of a short film made by Nick Knight, titled "To Lee, with Love", as a tribute to McQueen, with whom Björk collaborated on multiple occasions.
    More Details Hide Details Björk appeared on Átta Raddir, one of Jónas Sen's TV shows. The episode aired on 27 February 2011. The shows are produced by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. In the show Björk performed eight songs, including "Sun in My Mouth", which had not previously been performed live. Björk, along with long-time collaborative partner, Michel Gondry, were originally announced to collaborate on a 3-D "scientific musical". Gondry states that it will be a 40-minute IMAX museum project.
    On 20 September 2010, Björk performed her version of "Gloomy Sunday" at designer Alexander McQueen's memorial in St. Paul's cathedral in London.
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    Also in 2010, she dueted with fellow Icelander (and One Little Indian labelmate) Ólöf Arnalds on a track called "Surrender" from Arnalds's new album, Innundir skinni, and performed a duet with Antony and the Johnsons on the album Swanlights.
    More Details Hide Details The song is titled "Flétta".
    In September 2010, Björk released "The Comet Song" as part of the soundtrack for the movie Moomins and the Comet Chase.
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    In May 2010, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music announced that Björk was to receive the prestigious Polar Music Prize alongside Ennio Morricone.
    More Details Hide Details A month later, Björk, along with Dirty Projectors, announced that they would be collaborating on a joint EP, titled Mount Wittenberg Orca, which was released on 30 June, to raise money for marine conservation.
  • 2008
    Age 42
    In 2008, Björk set off an international controversy after she dedicated "Declare Independence" to the Tibet freedom movement during a Shanghai concert, chanting "Tibet!
    More Details Hide Details Tibet!" during the song. China's Culture Ministry issued a denunciation through state news agency Xinhua, stating that Björk "broke Chinese law" and "hurt Chinese people's feelings" and pledged to further tighten control over foreign artists performing in China. A later statement accused Björk of "whipping up ethnic hatred". Björk has also taken an interest in environmental issues in her native country. In 2006, she took part in the "Hætta" concert in Reykjavík, organised in protest against the building of Alcoa aluminium smelters in the country, which would make Iceland the biggest smelter in Europe. She founded the organization "Náttúra", which aims to promote Icelandic nature and grassroots industries. On 28 October 2008, Björk wrote an article for the Times discussing the state of the Icelandic economy and her thoughts on the proposed use of natural resources to get the country out of debt. Björk, in collaboration with Audur Capital, set up a venture capital fund titled "BJÖRK" to support the creation of sustainable industries in Iceland. She has written the foreword to the English translation of the Iceland bestseller by Andri Snær Magnason titled "Dreamland".
    Björk's official website later stated that the single would be released on 27 October 2008 through iTunes, but the track was eventually made available at nattura.grapewire.net, exclusively.
    More Details Hide Details In a statement released by bjork.com, a limited edition box set titled Voltaïc from One Little Indian Records was announced, with a release date in North America of 20 April 2009 (later delayed to mid-June). The release consists of various live recordings of performances in Paris and Reykjavík. The live set was also recorded at the Olympic Studio in London. The first disc is audio of songs from the Volta Tour performed live at Olympic Studios; the second disc contains video of the Volta Tour live in Paris and live in Reykjavik; the third disc contains "The Volta Videos" and the video competition, while the fourth is The Volta Mixes CD.
    Also in 2008, her music was featured in the documentary Horizons: The Art of Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir directed by Frank Cantor.
    More Details Hide Details Announced via an eBay auction, a new Björk track was revealed under the title "Náttúra". Björk commented the song was intended "to encourage active support for a more environmental approach to Iceland's natural resources." The song was initially labelled as a new single by Björk, with backing vocals from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke.
    On 13 January 2008, Björk attacked a photographer who had photographed her arrival at Auckland International Airport in New Zealand for her scheduled performance at the Big Day Out festival.
    More Details Hide Details Björk allegedly tore the photographer's shirt down the back, and in the process she fell to the ground. Neither the photographer nor his employer, The New Zealand Herald, lodged a formal complaint, and Auckland police did not investigate further. At a Shanghai performance she caused controversy by shouting "Tibet! Tibet!" at the end of the song "Declare Independence". A Chinese official later claimed that she had hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.
    She also returned to Australia and New Zealand for the first time in 12 years in January 2008, touring the nations with the Big Day Out Festival.
    More Details Hide Details She played a one-off show at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Sydney Festival.
  • 2007
    Age 41
    The first single from the album, "Earth Intruders", was released digitally on 9 April 2007 and became her second-ever Billboard Hot 100 entry in the United States.
    More Details Hide Details Volta debuted at number nine on the Billboard 200 albums chart, becoming her first top 10 album in the US, netting week-one sales of 43,000. The album also reached number three on the French albums chart with sales of 20,600 albums sold in its first week, and number seven in the UK Albums Chart with 20,456 units sold. The second single from the album, "Innocence", was digitally released on 23 July 2007, with an accompanying music video chosen from a contest conducted through her official website. "Declare Independence" was released on 1 January 2008 in a super deluxe package including two 12" vinyls, a CD, and a DVD featuring Oscar-winning French director Michel Gondry's "Declare Independence" video. "Wanderlust" was subsequently released in a similar format, featuring Encyclopedia Pictura's short film directed for the track, shot in stereoscopic 3D. The fifth single released from the album was "The Dull Flame of Desire", featuring vocals by Antony Hegarty.
    Björk's sixth full-length studio album, Volta, was released on 7 May 2007.
    More Details Hide Details It features 10 tracks. It features input from hip hop producer Timbaland, singer Antony Hegarty, poet Sjón, electronic beat programmer Mark Bell, kora master Toumani Diabaté, Congolese thumb piano band Konono No 1, pipa player Min Xiaofen, and, on several songs, an all-female ensemble from Iceland performing brass compositions. It also uses the Reactable, a novel "tangible-interface" synthesizer from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, which on Volta is played by Damian Taylor.
    Björk starred in Gunar Karlsson's 2007 animated film Anna and the Moods, along with Terry Jones and Damon Albarn.
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    Björk contributed a cover of Joni Mitchell's song "The Boho Dance" to the tribute album A Tribute to Joni Mitchell, released on 24 April 2007.
    More Details Hide Details Director and previous collaborator Michel Gondry asked Björk to star in his film The Science of Sleep, but she declined. The role was played by Charlotte Gainsbourg instead.
  • 2006
    Age 40
    In 2006, Arnalds released her debut solo album Við Og Við in Iceland, which Björk citied as one of her favourite recent new acts of the last few years during a radio interview, and encouraged One Little Indian Records to reissue the album in the UK and Europe in 2009.
    More Details Hide Details On the same radio show for the American NPR channel, Björk also praised the works of emerging English artist Micachu and the more obscure, Omar Souleyman. Björk later used her official website to host the premier of Micachu's debut video on the Rough Trade Records, "Turn Me Well". Cameos and soundtrack appearances
    HK119 was soon signed to Björk's parent label One Little Indian Records, which released her debut album in 2006.
    More Details Hide Details HK119 and Björk appeared in a joint interview in Dazed & Confused magazine in 2006, where Björk stated about HK119's work, "It's unique. Even if I gave you $3 million, you couldn't improve on it... Its simplicity is its strength." HK119 later released her albums, Fast, Cheap and Out of Control in 2008 and Imaginature in 2013, both on One Little Indian Records. In 2009, Björk used her website and various radio interviews throughout the year to express her enthusiasm for two more new acts. The first was fellow Icelandic musician, Ólöf Arnalds, who is also a member of Icelandic folktronica band múm.
    Björk's former band, the Sugarcubes, reunited for a one-night-only concert in Reykjavík on 17 November 2006.
    More Details Hide Details Profits from the concert were donated to the Sugarcubes' former label, Smekkleysa, who according to Björk's press statement, "continue to work on a non-profit basis for the future betterment of Icelandic music".
    In 2006, Björk remastered her first three solo studio albums (Debut, Post, Homogenic) and her two soundtrack albums (Selmasongs and Drawing Restraint 9) in 5.1 surround sound for a re-issue in a new box-set titled Surrounded, released on 27 June.
    More Details Hide Details Vespertine and Medúlla were already available in 5.1 as either DVD-A or SACD but are also included in the box set in repackaged format. The DualDiscs were also released separately.
  • THIRTIES
  • 2005
    Age 39
    She was also awarded the Inspiration Award at the Annual Q Magazine Awards in October 2005, accepting the prize from Robert Wyatt, with whom she collaborated on Medúlla.
    More Details Hide Details
    Björk also appeared in the 2005 documentary Screaming Masterpiece, which delves into the Icelandic music scene.
    More Details Hide Details The movie features archive footage of the Sugarcubes and Tappi Tíkarrass and an ongoing conversation with Björk herself. During this era, Björk earned another BRIT Awards nomination for Best International Female Solo Artist.
    In 2005, Björk collaborated with partner Matthew Barney on the experimental art film Drawing Restraint 9, a dialogueless exploration of Japanese culture.
    More Details Hide Details Björk and Barney both appear in the film, playing two occidental guests on a Japanese factory whaling vessel who ultimately transform into two whales. She is also responsible for the film's soundtrack, her second after Selmasongs.
  • 2004
    Age 38
    In August 2004, Björk performed the song "Oceania" at the Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
    More Details Hide Details As she sang, her dress slowly unfurled to reveal a 10,000 square foot (900 m²) map of the world, which she let flow over all of the Olympic athletes. The song "Oceania" was written especially for the occasion and features the talents of Shlomo, a Leeds-based beatboxer, and a London choir. An alternate version of the song began circulating on the Internet with additional vocals by Kelis. It originally appeared on the promotional "Oceania" single released to radio stations and later became available to the public as a B-side of the "Who Is It" single, which charted at number 26 in the UK. This was followed in early 2005 by "Triumph of a Heart", charting at number 31. A video for the potential next single, "Where Is the Line", was filmed in collaboration with the Icelandic artist Gabríela Friðriksdóttir in late 2004. This was initially a sequence from an art installation movie of the artists but was released exclusively on the Medúlla Videos DVD as an official promo for the track.
    In August 2004, Björk released Medúlla.
    More Details Hide Details During production, Björk decided the album would work best as an entirely vocal-based album. This initial plan was modified, as the majority of the sounds on the album are indeed created by vocalists but several feature prominent basic electronic programming, as well as the occasional musical instrument. Björk used the vocal skills of throat singer Tanya Tagaq, hip hop beatboxer Rahzel, Japanese beatboxer Dokaka, avant-rocker Mike Patton, Soft Machine drummer/singer Robert Wyatt, and several choirs. She again appropriated text from E. E. Cummings for the song "Sonnets/Unrealities XI". At the time, Medúlla became her highest charting album in the US, debuting at number 14.
  • 2003
    Age 37
    In 2003, Björk released a box set called Live Box, consisting of four CDs containing live recordings of her previous albums and a DVD featuring a video of one track from each CD.
    More Details Hide Details Each of the four CDs was later released separately at a reduced price.
  • 2002
    Age 36
    Björk gave birth to daughter Isadora Bjarkardottir Barney on 3 October 2002.
    More Details Hide Details Björk and the Brodsky Quartet recorded a composition written, especially for her, by composer John Tavener called "Prayer of the Heart" in 2001, and it was played then for a slide show presentation in 2003 for the American photographer, Nan Goldin.
    In 2002 the CD box set Family Tree appeared, containing a retrospective of Björk's career, comprising many previously unreleased versions of her compositions, including her work with the Brodsky Quartet.
    More Details Hide Details Also released alongside Family Tree was the album Greatest Hits, a retrospective of the previous 10 years of her solo career as deemed by the public. The songs on the album were chosen by Björk's fans through a poll on her website. A DVD edition of the CD was also released. It contained all of Björk's solo music videos up to that point. The new single from the set, "It's in Our Hands" charted in the UK at number 37. The video, directed by Spike Jonze, features a heavily pregnant Björk.
    In 2002, the clip was aired unedited as part of a late night special on MTV2 titled, "Most Controversial Music Videos".
    More Details Hide Details The video for "Cocoon" also featured a seemingly naked Björk (actually wearing a close fitting bodysuit), this time with her nipples secreting a red thread that eventually enveloped her in a cocoon. The video was directed by Japanese artist Eiko Ishioka and was not aired by MTV. She was invited to record "Gollum's Song" for the film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers but declined the invitation, as she was then pregnant; the song was instead recorded by another Icelander, Emilíana Torrini.
  • 2001
    Age 35
    At the time, Vespertine was Björk's fastest selling album ever, having sold two million copies by the end of 2001.
    More Details Hide Details Vespertine spawned three singles: "Hidden Place", "Pagan Poetry", and "Cocoon". MTV2 played the album's first video, "Hidden Place", which was subsequently released as a DVD single. The next video, for "Pagan Poetry", brought Björk to an even higher level of controversy with the channel. The video features graphic piercings, Björk's exposed nipples, and simulated fellatio. As a result, the clip was initially rarely shown by MTV, and certain parts (for example, Björk's breasts) were censored during the rare occasions when it was played.
    In 2001, Björk released the album Vespertine.
    More Details Hide Details The album featured chamber orchestras, choirs, hushed vocals, microbeats made from household sounds, and personal, vulnerable themes. She collaborated with experimental sound manipulators Matmos, Denmark-based DJ Thomas Knak, and the experimental harpist Zeena Parkins for the album. Lyrical sources included the works of American poet E. E. Cummings, the American independent filmmaker Harmony Korine, and English playwright Sarah Kane's penultimate play, Crave. To coincide with the album's release, Björk released a coffee table book of loose prose and photographs titled Björk. Björk embarked on the Vespertine World Tour, a tour of theatres and opera houses in Europe and North America in support of the album, accompanied by the musicians Matmos and Zeena Parkins and an Inuit choir, whom she had held auditions for on a trip to Greenland prior to the tour.
  • 1999
    Age 33
    Filming began in early 1999, and the film debuted in 2000 at the 53rd Cannes Film Festival.
    More Details Hide Details The film received the Palme d'Or, and Björk received the Best Actress Award for her role. It was reported that the shoot was so physically and emotionally tiring that she vowed never to act again. Björk later stated that she always wanted to do one musical in her life, and this was the one. The soundtrack Björk created for the film was released with the title Selmasongs. The album features a duet with Thom Yorke of Radiohead titled "I've Seen It All", which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song and was performed at the 2001 Oscars (without Yorke), while Björk was wearing her celebrated "swan dress", a copy of which was auctioned off for international aid agency Oxfam on eBay and sold for $9,500 in 2005.
    In 1999, Björk was asked to write and produce the musical score for the film Dancer in the Dark, a musical drama about an immigrant named Selma who is struggling to pay for an operation to prevent her son from going blind.
    More Details Hide Details Director Lars von Trier eventually asked her to consider playing the role of Selma, convincing her that the only true way to capture the character of Selma was to have the composer of the music play the character. Eventually, she accepted.
  • 1997
    Age 31
    Björk left London for Spain where she recorded the album Homogenic, released in 1997.
    More Details Hide Details It marked a dramatic shift from her earlier "pixie" image, cultivated on the Debut and Post albums. Björk worked with producers Mark Bell of LFO and Howie B on the album, as well as Eumir Deodato; numerous remixes followed. Homogenic was her first conceptually self-contained album and is regarded as one of Björk's most experimental and extroverted works to date, with enormous beats that reflect the landscape of Iceland, most notably in the song "Jóga", which fuses lush strings with rocky electronic crunches. The album was certified gold in the US in 2001. The emotionally charged album contains a string of music videos, several of which received airplay on MTV. The video for "Bachelorette" was directed by frequent collaborator Michel Gondry, while "All Is Full of Love" was directed by Chris Cunningham. The single "All is Full of Love" was also the first DVD single to ever be released in the US, which paved the way for other artists to include DVD video and other multimedia features with their singles. In an interview with Spin magazine, Radiohead singer Thom Yorke called the song "Unravel" from this album his favourite song ever, claiming "I'm trying to get Radiohead to do a cover because I think it's one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard." In November 2007, the band covered the song as part of a live webcast. Björk began to write more personally, saying "It wasn't just the letter bomb, … I realised that I'd come to the end of the extrovert thing.
  • 1996
    Age 30
    On 12 September 1996, obsessed fan Ricardo López mailed an acid-spraying letter bomb to Björk's London home.
    More Details Hide Details The package was intercepted by the Metropolitan Police Service before the plot could be carried out. López recorded 22 hours of videotape of himself that described his obsession with Björk, detailed the manufacture of the acid bomb, and ended with López committing suicide by shooting himself. In her few public comments on this event, Björk said she was "very distressed" by the incident and "I make music, but in other terms, you know, people shouldn't take me too literally and get involved in my personal life."
    In 1996, Björk arrived at Bangkok International Airport with her son Sindri after a long haul flight; reporters were present, despite Björk's early request that the press leave her and her son alone until a press conference.
    More Details Hide Details While Björk was walking away from the reporters, Julie Kaufman, a female reporter, began to ask questions to Sindri, which was then followed by Björk's lunging at her and knocking her to the ground. Björk's record company said that the reporter had been pestering Björk for four days. Björk later apologized to Kaufman, who declined to involve the police.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1995
    Age 29
    Although again Björk received more mainstream attention for her videos than her singles, Post included several UK pop hits and was eventually certified platinum in the US. Björk also contributed to the 1995 Hector Zazou collaborative album Chansons des mers froides, singing the traditional Icelandic song "Vísur Vatnsenda-Rósu".
    More Details Hide Details During this period, the singer complained of being hounded by paparazzi.
  • 1994
    Age 28
    Björk also had an uncredited role as a runway model in 1994's film Prêt-à-Porter.
    More Details Hide Details Post was Björk's second solo studio album. Released in June 1995, the album was produced in conjunction with Nellee Hooper, Tricky, Graham Massey of 808 State, and electronica producer Howie B. Building on the success of Debut, Björk continued to pursue different sounds, taking particular interest in dance and techno. Production by Tricky and Howie B also provided trip hop/electronica-like sounds on tracks like "Possibly Maybe" and "Enjoy". It was these producers' influence along with older friend Graham Massey that inspired Björk to create material like the storming industrial beats of "Army of Me". The album was ranked number 7 in Spins "Top 90 Albums of the '90s" list and number 75 in its "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005" list. Post and Homogenic were placed back to back on Pitchfork Media's "Top Albums of the '90s" list at numbers 21 and 20, respectively. In 2003, the album was ranked number 373 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
  • 1993
    Age 27
    The first example of this was most evident with Iranian-born electronica producer Leila Arab. Leila was initially recruited to play keyboards and provide backing vocals on Björk's first international solo tour in 1993 in support of Debut.
    More Details Hide Details In 1995, Björk recalled Leila to be part of her second touring band for her next tour in support of Post. This time Leila was given the opportunity to experiment with the live output mixing from the stage, rather than playing keyboards. This was to be Leila's first encounter with live mixing and would later form the basis of her own solo music career where she has integrated live mixing into her own compositions and live shows. Leila has gone on to release three international solo albums throughout the 1990s and appears on the influential electronica labels Rephlex Records, XL Recordings, and Warp Records. In 1998, Björk established her own short-lived record label, Ear Records, which operated under the One Little Indian Records umbrella. Her only signee that received a release was her long-time friend, Magga Stína. Magga Stína recorded her debut solo album under the production of Björk's longtime collaborator, Graham Massey (of the British electronica act 808 State.) The album was simply titled An Album and featured just one single release, "Naturally". In 1998, Björk invited Magga Stína to perform as her support act on the Homogenic Tour, and in 2004 Magga Stína contributed to the production of Medúlla. Magga Stína is presently still performing and recording in Iceland.
    Debut has been credited as one of the first albums to introduce electronic music into mainstream pop. Being a fan of dance music since the early days of acid house, Björk used dance music as the framework for her songs in Debut, stating in 1993 that it was "the only pop music that is truly modern" and "house is the only music where anything creative is happening today."
    More Details Hide Details However, in a Rolling Stone interview she also stated that "she was more influenced by ambient music than what you'd call dance music, and by things that were happening way back in Chicago and Detroit that were sensual and daring and groundbreaking in their time." The music of Debut "reflects the contemporary musical environment of London, where Björk lived in the early 1990s, especially the burgeoning trip-hop scene of bands like Portishead and Massive Attack. Michael Cragg of The Guardian has described it as an "indefinable conflation of electronic pop, trip-hop, world music and otherworldly lyrics"; while The Faces Mandi James felt it was "a delightful fusion of thrash metal, jazz, funk and opera, with the odd dash of exotica thrown in for good measure." Post, released in 1995, is known for its eclecticism. Some critics consider it to be the "quintessential Björk" release, due to its protean form — more than any of her albums —, and its "wide emotional palette". The entirety of the album was written after Björk's move to England, and intended to reflect the faster pace of her new urban life. guardian.com wrote that "Post tapped into the vortex of multicultural energy that was mid-90s London, where she had relocated and where strange hybrids such as jungle and trip-hop were bubbling." Post built on the dance-pop blueprint of Debut, but pushed its production and beats to the fore, "adding influence from all over the world."
    She worked with David Arnold on "Play Dead", the theme to the 1993 film The Young Americans (which appeared as a bonus track on a re-release of Debut), collaborated on two songs for Tricky's Nearly God project, appeared on the track "Lilith" for the album Not for Threes by Plaid, and co-wrote the song "Bedtime Story" for Madonna's 1994 album Bedtime Stories.
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    Her first true solo album, Debut, (ironically not Björk's debut) was released in June 1993 to positive reviews; it was named album of the year by NME and eventually went platinum in the United States.
    More Details Hide Details Debut was the leap Björk made from being in numerous bands during her teens and early twenties to her solo career. She named the album Debut to signify a start of something new. Debut had a mix of songs Björk had been writing since she was a teenager, as well as more recent lyrical collaborations with Hooper. Although the music was mostly dance-oriented, it was varied in instrumentation. One single from the album, "Venus as a Boy", featured a Bollywood-influenced string arrangement. Björk covered the jazz standard "Like Someone in Love" to the accompaniment of a harp, and the final track, "The Anchor Song", was sung with only a saxophone ensemble for accompaniment. At the 1994 Brit Awards, Björk won the awards for Best International Female and Best International Newcomer. The success of Debut enabled her to collaborate with British and other artists on one-off tracks.
    Björk embarked on a solo career in 1993, coming to prominence as a solo artist with with albums such as Debut (1993), Post (1995), and Homogenic (1997), while collaborating with a range of artists and exploring a variety of multimedia projects.
    More Details Hide Details Several of her albums have reached the top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart, the most recent being her 2015 album Vulnicura. Björk has had 30 singles reach the top 40 on pop charts around the world, with 22 top 40 hits in the UK, including the top 10 hits "It's Oh So Quiet", "Army of Me", and "Hyperballad". She is reported to have sold between 20 and 40 million records worldwide as of 2015. She has received consistent critical praise for her innovative vocal and compositional approaches, musical experimentation, and art direction; she has been described as "the most important and forward-looking musician of her generation" and "the best non-pop female vocalist of the last 30 years." She has been ranked twenty-ninth in VH1's "The 100 Greatest Women in Music", eighth in MTV's "22 Greatest Voices in Music", sixtieth in Rolling Stones "100 Greatest Singers of All Time", eighty-first in Rolling Stones "100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time", and was recognized in NPR's "50 Great Voices" feature for her "celestial voice."
  • 1992
    Age 26
    Björk was featured on two tracks of the soundtrack for the 1992 film Remote Control (known as Sódóma Reykjavík in Iceland).
    More Details Hide Details After the Sugarcubes played one last gig at the Reykjavík club Tunglið around Christmas, they split up. They are nowadays recognized as "Iceland's biggest rock band". The Sugarcubes are all still involved in the management of Smekkleysa/Bad Taste. Björk moved to London to pursue a solo career; she began working with producer Nellee Hooper (who had produced Massive Attack, among others). Their partnership produced Björk's first international solo hit, "Human Behaviour", a clattering dance track based on a guitar rhythm sampled from Antônio Carlos Jobim. In most countries, the song was not widely played on radio but was widely seen on MTV, accompanied by an influential video by Oscar-winning film director Michel Gondry, who became a frequent collaborator for Björk.
  • 1991
    Age 25
    She contributed vocals on the songs "Qmart" and on "Ooops", which was released as a single in the UK in 1991.
    More Details Hide Details She also contributed vocals to the song "Falling", on the album Island by Current 93 and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson. In the same year she met harpist Corky Hale, with whom she had a recording session that ended up on her début album. At this point, Björk had decided to leave the band to pursue her solo career, but their contract included the making of one last album with a subsequent promotional tour, which Björk agreed to do. Stick Around for Joy was released in February 1992. The record received positive reviews. The Sugarcubes opened for U2 during their Zoo TV Tour in October and November 1992, playing to a grand total of 700,000 people. Coinciding with this string of concerts, their label released a remix album named It's-It.
  • 1990
    Age 24
    In 1990 she provided background vocals on Gums, an album by a band called Bless.
    More Details Hide Details In the same year she recorded Gling-Gló, a collection of popular jazz and original work, with the jazz group Tríó Guðmundar Ingólfssonar, which is still her best-selling album in her home country. Björk also contributed vocals to 808 State's album ex:el, with whom she cultivated her interest in house music.
    Due to negative backlash regarding Einar Örn by music critics, the band started to ponder about splitting up and went on hiatus after a promotional tour in 1990.
    More Details Hide Details During the hiatus the band members formed a light-hearted big-band named Hljómsveit Kondráds B, in which Björk played clarinet. During the hiatus Björk started working on her solo projects.
  • 1987
    Age 21
    Björk contributed as a background vocalist on 1987 album Loftmynd by Megas, for whom she provided background vocals also on his subsequent album Höfuðlausnir (1988) and Hættuleg hljómsveit & glæpakvendið Stella (1990).
    More Details Hide Details In the last quarter of 1988, The Sugarcubes toured North America to positive reception. In September, the band played at The Ritz in New York, a concert attended by David Bowie and Iggy Pop. On 15 October, the band appeared on Saturday Night Live. Björk alone contributed a rendition of the Christmas song "Jólakötturinn" ("The Christmas Cat") on the compilation Hvít Er Borg Og Bær. The band's second album, Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week! was released in October 1989. Unlike their debut album, it was not well received by critics.
    Their first English single, "Birthday", was released in the United Kingdom on 17 August 1987; a week later, it was declared single of the week by Melody Maker.
    More Details Hide Details The Sugarcubes also signed a distribution deal with Elektra Records in the United States and recorded their first album, Life's Too Good, which was released in 1988. After the release of the album, Margrét "Magga" Örnólfsdóttir, Eldon's new girlfriend (he and Björk had divorced soon after the birth of their child despite being in the same group), replaced Einst Melax as the band keyboardist. The album went on to sell more than one million copies worldwide.
    She initially became known as the lead singer of the alternative rock band The Sugarcubes, whose 1987 single "Birthday" was a hit on US and UK indie stations and a favorite among music critics.
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  • 1986
    Age 20
    The single was released on 21 November 1986, Björk's 21st birthday.
    More Details Hide Details At the end of that year, the band was signed by One Little Indian, a new label set up by Derek Birkett, the former bass player of Flux of Pink Indians, but soon after Erlingson left the band.
    In 1986, Björk wed Þór Eldon.
    More Details Hide Details On 8 June the same year, she gave birth to her son, Sindri Eldon Thórsson. Soon after Sindri was born, Björk performed in her first acting role on The Juniper Tree, a tale of witchcraft based on the Brothers Grimm story, directed by Nietzchka Keene. Björk played the role of Margit, a girl whose mother has been killed for practicing witchcraft. That summer, former band member Einar Örn and Eldon formed the arts collective Smekkleysa ("Bad Taste" in Icelandic), created with the intention of being both a record label and book publishing company. Various friends, namely Melax and Sigtryggur from Kukl, along with Bragi Ólafsson and Friðrik Erlingson from Purrkur Pillnikk, joined the group and a band coalesced in the collective solely to make money. They were initially called Þukl, but they were advertised as Kukl (the name of the previous band). At a later concert supporting Icelandic band Stuðmenn (managed by Einar Örn) they addressed themselves as Sykurmolarnir ("The Sugarcubes" in Icelandic). To fund the release of their first double A-side single "Einn mol'á mann", which contained the songs "Ammæli" ("Birthday") and "Köttur" ("Cat"), Smekkleysa printed a postcard bearing the image of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan during the Reykjavík Summit.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1985
    Age 19
    In 1985, the singer found out she was expecting a child from Eldon, but continued touring with Kukl. Their second album, called Holidays in Europe (The Naughty Nought), came out in 1986, but after some months the band split up due to personal squabbles, with Björk keeping a collaboration with Óttarsson, which was named The Elgar Sisters.
    More Details Hide Details Some of the songs they recorded ended up as B-sides to Björk solo singles.
  • 1984
    Age 18
    Um Úrnat frá Björk was distributed in 1984.
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  • 1983
    Age 17
    They started recording at a studio thanks to Björk's acquaintance with the studio owner and released their first single in 1983.
    More Details Hide Details Their first big performance was at a festival in Iceland which was headlined by English anarchist punk band Crass, whose record label, Crass Records offered the band a record deal. The Eye was released in 1984 and was followed by a two-month tour in Europe, which also included a performance at Roskilde Festival in Denmark, making Kukl the first Icelandic band to play at the festival. During this period Björk published a hand-coloured book of poems.
  • 1982
    Age 16
    In 1982, she and bassist Jakob Magnússon formed another group, Tappi Tíkarrass ("Cork the Bitch's Ass " in Icelandic), and released EP Bitið fast í vitið ("Bite Hard Into Hell" in Icelandic), in August 1982.
    More Details Hide Details Their album Miranda was released in December 1983. The group was featured in the documentary Rokk í Reykjavík, with Björk being featured on the cover of the VHS release. Around this time the singer met guitarist Þór Eldon and surrealist group Medusa, which also included poet Sjón, with whom she started a lifelong collaboration and formed a small group called Rokka Rokka Drum. The singer appeared as a featured artist on "Afi", a track from the Björgvin Gíslason 1983 record Örugglega. Due to the imminent discontinuance of radio show Áfangar, two radio personalities, Ásmundur Jónsson and Guðni Rúnar, called out to musicians to play on a last live radio show. Björk joined with Einar Melax (from the group Fan Houtens Kókó), Einar Örn Benediktsson (from Purrkur Pillnikk), Guðlaugur Kristinn Óttarsson and Sigtryggur Baldursson (from Þeyr), and Birgir Mogensen (from Spilafífl) to perform on the concert. The group developed a goth rock sound. During this experience Björk began to develop her vocalisation – punctuated by howls and shrieks. The project performed as Gott kvöld during the concert but later decided to keep playing together as a group and they used the name ("Sorcery" in Icelandic).
  • 1980
    Age 14
    During her teens, after the diffusion of punk rock music in Iceland she formed the all-girl punk band Spit and Snot. A year later, in 1980, she formed a jazz fusion group called Exodus and collaborated in another group called JAM80.
    More Details Hide Details During the same year she also graduated from music school.
  • 1977
    Age 11
    Her self-titled début, Björk, was recorded and released in Iceland in December 1977.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1976
    Age 10
    After a school recital in which Björk sang Tina Charles' 1976 hit "I Love to Love", her teachers sent a recording of her singing the song to the RÚV radio station – then, Iceland's only radio station.
    More Details Hide Details The recording was nationally broadcast and, after hearing it, a representative of the Fálkinn record label offered Björk a recording contract.
  • 1965
    Born
    Björk was born on 21 November 1965 in Reykjavík, where she grew up.
    More Details Hide Details Björk's mother is activist Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir, who protested against the development of Iceland's Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant; Hildur has distant Irish ancestry. Björk's father is Guðmundur Gunnarsson, a union leader and electrician. They divorced when Björk was born and she moved with her mother to a commune. Her stepfather is Sævar Árnason, a former guitarist in a band called Pops. At six, Björk enrolled at Reykjavík school Barnamúsíkskóli, where she studied classical piano and flute.
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