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Björk: the full story of the singer (biography and facts)

Her inventive dedication to creativity has made her the "high priestess of art-pop", an anti-authoritarian innovator...

The Story of Björk: The Legendary Icelandic Singer…

Björk is a legendary Icelandic singer whose career spans over 40 years... Björk's unique style includes a wide variety of genres and directions, from classical to avant-garde... Björk began her ascent to the Olympus of fame at the age of 11 years. First, she became famous as a soloist of the Sugarcubes, and then, with the advent of the 90s, as a bright solo star ... As of 2015, her records were sold in huge circulation around the world: about 40 million copies! No wonder today this great woman is included in the list of 100 most influential people in the world ...

Early years

Today, Björk's work, like herself, is a national treasure for Icelanders. She is an experimental creative force, constantly expanding, contributing, crossing and breaking the boundaries of artistic expectations... And yet, Björk's Iceland alone was not enough. She decided to conquer the whole world! And ... she did it!

Young Björk (björk)
Young Björk (björk)

Björk Gudmundsdottir was born on November 21, 1965. She was raised by her mother, an environmental activist. The marriage broke up after the birth of a daughter ... The father left the family. Hildur Hauksdottir soon fell in love and married a guitarist known as "Jimi Hendrix of Iceland". Since artists and musicians began to gather more and more often in the house of Hauksdottir, little Björk fell in love with the atmosphere of bohemian life early. It was this stage of her life that had a huge impact on her future fate ...

Until the age of 14, Björk studied at the College of Music, where she studied classical music and learned to play the piano and flute. It was here that she took her first steps as a professional musician...

Getting started…

At age 11, Björk sang Tina Charles' hit single "I Love to Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance)". Her version so fascinated the teachers that they immediately decided to send the recording to the only Icelandic radio station! As fate would have it, the recording was heard by representatives of Fálkinn (once a label, now a bicycle shop), who were quick to offer the young singer a recording contract. So, in 1977, the debut album Björk was released, which mainly consisted of covers translated into Icelandic (for example, the song "The Fool on the Hill" by the cult Beatles). One of the songs, "The Arab Boy", was written by her stepfather and the album cover was designed by her mother. This made the collection a collaborative effort for the whole family! The album was released in a limited edition (at least 7,000 copies) on both vinyl and cassette. Björk was only 12 years old...

Soon Björk became a celebrity in her town: friends at school craved her attention, they literally idolized Björk! She herself spent hours talking with musicians, three times older than her. And only in 1979, with the advent of the punk scene in Iceland, Björk again plunged into the world of music ...

At the age of 15, Björk shaved off her eyebrows and formed a girl group, which quickly broke up: mainly because of her dislike for men. A year later, she moved to her new band Exodus, whose legacy only survives on one cassette recorded in a garage. Project Exodus putting Björk back in the spotlight...

The main stages of creativity

The Sugarcubes
The Sugarcubes

Tappi Tíkarrass is considered to be Björk's first serious project. Despite being a punk act, the band combined elements of rock, jazz and funk, defying classification and setting an unspoken precedent for Björk's future career as an artist. The group lasted two years, releasing the only EP "Bitið fast í vitið" and the album "Miranda". The band's light, melodic tracks were reminiscent of the early days of The Cure...

In 1983, Asmundur Jonsson of Gramm Records formed a supergroup with Björk among the lead vocalists. Asmundur originally planned for the band to perform live on the final episode of the radio show Áfangar. However, the project was so successful that Kukl became a permanent team! A year later, their first album, The Eye (1984), was released: it reached number six on the UK Independent Chart and was critically acclaimed! In 1984 and 1985 Kukl toured Europe, playing L'Eldorado in Paris, Pandora's Box in the Netherlands and Roskilde in Denmark. During this period, the band collaborated with various artists, including rock singer Megas. In 1986 the band released their second album Holidays in Europe: a more complex recording with more emphasis on electronics, distortion effects and experimental noise... Kukl later disbanded, although the four original members continued with their new avant-pop group, the Sugarcubes.

Widely regarded as the greatest rock band to ever come out of Iceland, The Sugarcubes were met with surprisingly widespread critical acclaim upon the release of their first album, Life's Too Good (1986). Their debut post-punk satire of 80s pop optimism propelled Björk and the band to stardom, and the signature single "Birthday" gave them the perfect opportunity to tour around the world!

In 1988, the band appeared on Saturday Night Live and also performed at The Ritz in New York. They even boasted David Bowie and Iggy Pop as fans of their musical excesses! No musician in the history of Iceland has reached such a level... However, the second Here Today album, Tomorrow Next Week! was less successful. After their second international tour, the band considered breaking up, but decided to take a break instead. The third and final album Stick Around For Joy (1990) was met with higher praise and spawned the band's biggest hit, the ironically titled single "Hit". During their Zoo TV Tour, the band performed for U2 to over 700,000 people, their largest audience to date. Nevertheless, no achievements could save the group from disintegration, and in 1992 The Sugarcubes ceased to exist ...

Solo career…

Singer Björk
Singer Björk

Between the breakup of The Sugarcubes and Björk's solo performance, history has been shrouded in myths and inaccuracies over time. To quantify the debts the Sugarcubes accumulated throughout the eighties, some claim that Björk worked in an antique shop, others claim that she ran a market stall... Despite everything, Björk's commitment to a future in music has not waned. Little did she know then that her time to become a solo artist was rapidly approaching: now the world of music will never be the same...

Björk (bjork)
Björk (bjork)

Her first album Debut (1993) was produced by Nellie Hooper, a professional known for her work with Soul II Soul and Massive Attack. In general, the record was received positively: thanks to this album, Björk won the Brit Awards 1994 as "Best Newcomer" and "Best Woman in the World"!

The second album saw a notable change in songwriting: "Post" conveyed the dynamic and eclectic energy of the singer's new home in London! Despite being considered an experimental album with a wide range of emotional overtones, listeners still found Post to be understandable and endearing, praising the tracks for their adventurous and club-like nature.

It was followed by a full-length Telegram remix album: the release disappointed critics, who thought that Björk was just bathing in the consolation of his own reputation ...

One of the main achievements of Björk is the album Homogenic: it sounds like rough volcanoes covered with moss ... As they wrote in top music publications:

"If it's not the best electronic album of all time, it's by far the biggest break of the decade..."

Björk (bjork).
Björk (bjork).

Another interesting work in Björk's discography is Vespertine. In many ways, the album was shaped by two defining and paradoxical factors present in the singer's life at that time: her intense work under the direction of Lars von Trier and her new relationship with sculptor, photographer and filmmaker Matthew Barney. Both experiences pushed her to write intimate, emotional and candid songs that took another step away from Björk's era as a dance music queen... Vespertine's calm and subdued tones were an expression of an escape from the extroverted character she was supposed to play on the set of the film" Dancing in the dark."

The album was a huge critical success, impressing both new and old listeners with sensual, intimate lyrics and layered rhythmic work. The album reached No. 8 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 19 on the US Billboard 200, and was certified gold in the UK, France and Canada.

If Medúlla is her most outspoken political album, an attempt to counter the resurgence of nationalism following the 9/11 attacks in New York, Volta marked Björk's return as a pop musician. Biophilia, officially recognized as Björk's seventh solo album, is her first "concept album". It did not have much success, although it debuted in the top 40 of almost all international charts. The singer devoted her eighth album Vulnicura to the theme of the breakup with Matthew Barney and the ensuing battle for custody of their daughter. The album Utopia was released in 2017.

The stalking incident...

In 1993, Björk became interested in Ricardo Lopez, a mentally ill pest control officer living in Florida. Trapped in feelings of inferiority and self-hatred, Ricardo remained a hermit from the age of eighteen, feeding and feeding his dangerous, obsessive ideas... Previously pursuing a young American actress, Lopez quickly changed his vector and became obsessed with an Icelandic artist, accidentally seeing her in a music video. Lopez initially limited himself to researching Björk's biography and writing a fan letter to her, claiming that his infatuation with her filled him with a sense of euphoria... Around this time, he also began filling out what would eventually become an 803 page diary in which his self-critical thoughts, feelings of inferiority, and haunting plans for the singer were described in detail.

Upon learning of Björk's relationship with British producer Goldie, Lopez felt deeply betrayed and angry... This relationship fueled his already dangerous views on race. That's when he decided to kill the singer... At his home in Florida, Lopez began to document the creation of the bomb, hidden inside a devastated book. Lopez sent the package allegedly through the singer's record label, after which he committed suicide. After the police discovered his body and the confessional material that followed, the FBI immediately set about disposing of the bomb. The parcel had already been delivered to England, but was at the South London post office. The Metropolitan Police successfully intercepted the package before anyone got hurt ... Upon learning of this, the singer hired security for her son, as well as a teacher who drove him to and from school. To avoid subsequent media attention, Björk left for Spain.

Conclusion…

Bjork
Bjork

Her inventive devotion to creativity has made her the "high priestess of art-pop", an anti-authoritarian innovator... Talented, rebellious and unlike anyone before her, Björk's art defies and defies convention, evolving and manifesting itself in the sounds and visions we know and love today. For all his success, Björk publicly speaks out against the dangers of heavy industry:

“When I was a teenager, I used to hitchhike and camp. The first money I received when I was 13 years old, I spent on a tent. This was my ideal freedom. And I don’t think I’m alone in this ideal… There is a sacredness in this landscape…”

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