Born on November 21, 1965, in Reykjavik, Iceland, Björk founded the band the Sugarcubes in 1986 before striking out on her own to a hugely successful solo career in 1993. She is known for such albums as Debut, Post, Vespertine, Medülla, Volta and Biophilia, and for songs like “I’ve Seen It All”, “Human Behaviour” and “Big Time Sensuality.” In 2000, Björk appeared in the critically acclaimed film Dancer in the Dark, which she also scored. She won the prize for best actress at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the film.
Having grown up in a highly musical household, Björk released her first album, a compilation of traditional Icelandic folk songs, when she was only 11 years old.
Throughout her teen years, Björk sang with a series of anarchist punk bands, among them KUKL, with other members including Einar Örn, Siggi Baldursson and Einar Melax. With several of her fellow KUKL bandmates, in 1986, Björk formed the pop group the Sugarcubes, joined by Magga Örnólfsdóttir, Bragi Ólafsson and guitarist Thór Eldon. That same year, Björk and Eldon married and (on June 8, 1986) welcomed their first child, son Síndri Eldon Thórsson. The couple divorced in 1987.
Join us listening to Björk today, November 21 at 12:15 pm EST, in the Aristipposian Poet Club, on Clubhouse.
The Sugarcubes released their full-length debut, Life’s Too Good, in 1988, winning a cult following in both the United States and United Kingdom. The group’s final album, 1992’s It’s It, was a collection of dance remixes of earlier material—a result of Björk’s fascination with the genre.)
In 1993, Björk released her first solo album as an adult, aptly named Debut, which featured two Top 20 singles, Human Behaviour and Big Time Sensuality, and sold nearly 3 million copies worldwide. After relocating to London, England, Björk released 1995’s Post, which outsold her first album thanks to innovative collaborations with techno gurus Graham Massey, Howie B and Tricky.
In 2000, the diminutive Icelandic pop star appeared on the big screen, in the critically acclaimed film Dancer in the Dark by Danish director Lars von Trier. Though it was rumored that tension had grown between the director and his star, who also scored the film, Björk went on to win the prize for best actress at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe nomination (best actress) for her performance.
Björk garnered further acclaim in early 2001, when she and von Trier were nominated for an Academy Award (best song) for “I’ve Seen It All.” She made fashion history when she wore her infamous “swan dress” while performing the song at the Academy Awards that same year. It was also in 2001 that Björk released her first album in four years, Vespertine.
Björk went on to build her career as a solo artist with the release of Medúlla (2004), Volta (2007) and Biophilia (2011), each album including its own unique aesthetic and message. In 2004, Björk performed “Oceania,” a single from Medúlla, at the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. At the 55th Annual Grammy Awards in 2013, Biophilia—featuring songs like “Moon,” “Dark Matter” and “Hollow”—took home the award for best recording package, also receiving a nomination for best alternative album.