Childhood & Early Life
Bjork was born on 21 November 1965 in Reykjavik, Iceland to Hildur Runa Hauksdottir and Guomundur Gunnarsson. Her father was a union leader and her mother was an activist who protested against a hydro-electric development in Iceland.
Her parents knew each other since they were 14 but their marriage fell apart when Bjork was born as her mother did not want to be a house-wife. She left with Bjork and became a part of a hippie group.
Her mother got married to a guitarist in Iceland, for the second time. He was considered at the time the ‘Jimi Hendrix’ of Iceland. This gave Bjork a musical environment to grow up and to learn music at a very young age.
She was only 11 years old when she first started studying classical music with piano in her elementary school. One of her recordings was sent to RUV, a radio station in Iceland. It was broadcasted on the radio.
In 1977, when she was only 12 years old, her first album ‘Bjork’ came out and she signed a contract with the Falkinn record label. It happened after a representative from the label heard her recording on the radio.
By the time she was 14 years old, Bjork collaborated an all-girl punk band called ‘Spit and Snot’ and formed a jazz fusion group called ‘Exodus’ in 1979.
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In 1981, Bjork formed a band called ‘Jam-80’ with the bassist Lakob Magnusson. The name of the band was changed to ‘Tappi Tikarrass’. The album released its single ‘Bitio Fast I Vitio’. And in two years time, ‘Miranda’ was released.
Bjork formed another band called ‘KUKL’, a gothic rock band, with Einar Orn Benediktsson, Einar Melax, Guolaugur Ottarsson, Sigtryggur Baldursson and Birgir Mogensen. The band toured Iceland and UK and came up with ‘The Eye’ and ‘Holidays in Europe’.
In 1986, she formed a band called ‘Sugarcubes’ and came out with their first hit single ‘Birthday’. This song was a big hit in the UK. The success of the song got them a contract by the label called ‘One Little Indian’.
‘Sugarcubes’ became a cult band immediately after its launch and started to get many offers from many record companies but they decided to stick to their initial label so that they could maintain creative control over it. In 1988 ‘Life’s Too Good’ was released.
In 1993, ‘Sugarcubes’ disbanded. Bjork shifted to London for her solo career and collaborated with the producer Nellee Hooper to produce hit solo ‘Human Behavior’. The video was publicized on MTV, directed by Michel Gondry.
In 1993, ‘Debut’ was released and it went platinum in the US. It was a huge milestone in her solo singing career. The album had some of the songs that Bjork wrote when she was a teenager. The music of the album was instrumental and dance oriented.
In 1994, she was awarded as the Best International Female Artist and Best International Newcomer at the BRIT Awards, which gave her an opportunity to collaborate with many British artists like David Arnold, Madonna, Tricky, Plaid, etc.
In 1995, Bjork’s second studio album ‘Post’ was released, produced by Nellee Hooper, Tricky, Graham Massey and Howie B. the album was much more mellow than her first album and it had deeper jazz sounds and orchestral arrangements.
In 1995, her third studio album ‘Homogenic’, produced by Mark Bell, Howie B. and Eumir Deodato, was released. The album got certified gold in the United States and had much more experimental and bigger beats than any of her work before.
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In 2001, her album ‘Vespertine’ came out. For this album, Bjork worked along with many established artists like Matmos, DJ Thomas Knak, zeena Parkins, etc. And for the lyrics, the work of E.E. Cummings, Harmony Korine and Sarah Kane’s work was taken.
In 2003, a set of four CDs that contained live recordings of Bjork’s work was released. It was called ‘Live Box’. It also contained a DVD with a video of the tracks from the CDs.
In 2004, ‘Medulla’ was released that featured the work from artist like: Tagaq, Rahzel, Dokaka, Mike Patton, Robert Wyatt and several other choirs, alongside Bjork’s singing. It was her career’s highest charting album in the US.
In 2007, ‘Volta’ was released. It was her sixth studio album. She wrote most of the tracks of the album and produced it herself. She collaborated with artists like: Timbaland, Antony Hegarty, Sjon, Mark Bell, Min Xiaofen, etc.
In 2010, Bjork with Ennio Morricone was to receive the Polar Music Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In the same year, she sang a song called ‘The comet Song’ for the movie ‘Moomins and the Comet Chase’.
In 2011, Bjork released the details about her new musical project called ‘Biophilla’. It was her seventh studio album. The album was released innovatively as a series of apps. She collaborated with Apple ad it became the ‘first app album’ of the world.
In 2012, Bjork’s remixed album ‘Bastards’ was released. The album consisted of remixed tracks from her album ‘Biophilia’. The tracks were remixed by Mandy Parnell. It scored at number 30 at the UK Indie Albums Chart.
In 2013, she collaborated with David Attenborough for his documentary called ‘When Bjork Met Attenborough’. The documentary was produced to features musicians from around the world, showcasing their take on the music.
Bjork was troubled by a stalker back in 1996 who tried to kill her by sending her an acid-spraying letter bomb and later killed himself. She never opened the letter as it was confiscated by the Metropolitan Police.
The New Zealand Herald lodged a complaint against Bjork for trying to assault a photographer by tearing his shirt and pushing him on the ground.
Her son Sindri Eldon is a Journalist by profession and has a solo project called ‘Sindri Eldon’.
Bjork has worked in a movie with her partner Matthew Barney called ‘Drawing Restraint 9’. It was a dialogue-less art movie.
She acted in the movie called ‘Dancer in the Dark’, that also featured her music and songs. She received the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999 for the movie.