Björk

Björk Guðmundsdóttir (born November 21, 1965, Reykjavík, Iceland) is a singer and songwriter.

Table of contents
1 Early Career
2 Popularity
3 Björk in Film
4 Discography

Early Career

Björk's musical career began at the age of eleven, studying classical piano in elementary school. One of her instructors submitted a recording of Björk singing Tina Charles' song "I Love to Love" to Radio One, an Iceland radio station. The recording was aired nationally; upon hearing it, a representative of the record label Fálkinn contacted Björk with a record contract offer. With the help of her stepfather, who played guitar, she recorded her first album, eponymously entitled Björk, in 1977, which featured several Icelandic children's songs, and covers of popular songs such as the Beatles' "Fool on the Hill". The album became a smash hit in Iceland, though it was virtually unknown elsewhere.

Punk music began to have an influence on Björk; at the age of fourteen, she formed the all-girl punk band Spit and Snot, shortly followed by a jazz fusion group called Exodus in 1979. In 1980, she graduated from music school at the age of fifteen, and in 1981, she and Exodus bassist Jakob Magnússon formed another band, Tappi Tíkarrass, and released an extended single, Bitið fast í vitid in the same year. Their album Miranda was released in 1983.

Björk next collaborated with Einar Örn Benediktsson and Einar Melax from Purrkurr Pillnikk, and Guðlaugur Óttarsson, Sigtryggur Baldursson and Birgir Morgensen from Þeyr. After writing songs and rehearsing for two weeks they performed under the name KUKL (which means 'witchcraft' in Icelandic). The group found that they worked well together, and decided to continue, developing a sound that some have described as resembling Goth music. Björk began to show indications of what would become her trademark singing style, punctuated with howls and shrieks.

KUKL toured Iceland with UK anarchist band Crass, and later visited the UK in a series of performances with Flux of Pink Indians. The band produced two albums as a result of these collaborations: The Eye in 1984, and Holidays in Europe in 1986, both on Crass Records. In the summer of 1986, several members of KUKL went on to form the Sugarcubes.

Popularity

The Sugarcubes' first single, "Ammæli" (or "Birthday" in English), became a huge hit in England. They gained a significant cult following in the US and UK, and calls from record companies began coming in. Eventually the band signed with One Little Indian, and recorded their first album, Life's Too Good, in 1988, an album which propelled them into international stardom—the first Icelandic rock band to achieve such popularity. While with the Sugarcubes, Björk participated in a number of side projects. She recorded Gling-Glo, a collection of popular jazz and original work, with the bebop group Trio Guðmundar Ingólfssonar, released in Iceland. Björk also contributed vocals to 808 State's recording Ooops, a collaboration which cultivated her interest in house music.

Tensions steadily mounted between Björk and Einar Örn, however, and by 1992 the Sugarcubes disbanded. Björk moved to London and began thinking about a solo career; to this end, she began working with producer Nellee Hooper, who had produced for Massive Attack, among others. Their partnership produced Björk's first international solo hit, "Human Behaviour." Her third debut album, simply entitled Debut, was released in June of 1993, to positive reviews; it was named album of the year by New Musical Express, and eventually went gold in the United States.

Björk returned to the studio during 1994 to work on her next solo album with Nellee Hooper, Tricky, Graham Massey and Howie B. She wrote the title track for Madonna's album Bedtime Stories, and performed on MTV Unplugged during this time. By 1995, the new album Post was ready; it was released in June, reaching number two on the UK's pop charts, and also went gold in the United States.

January of 1997 saw the release of Telegram, an album of uncharacteristic remixes of songs from Post. Later that year, the minimalist electronic album Homogenic was released. Björk worked with producer Mark Bell on the album; numerous remixes followed.

In 2002 the album Vespertine was released. A very quiet album reflecting on very sexual themes as well as themes about spirituality and its connection to the human body, the album featured chamber orchestras, Inuit choirs and very hushed vocals. In 2003 Bjork released a series of low-priced DVDs and CD boxed sets of a plethora of unreleased material.

Björk in Film

Björk was asked to write and produce the musical score for the film Dancer in the Dark, a pseudo-musical about an immigrant named Selma who is struggling to pay for an operation to prevent her son from going blind. Director Lars von Trier eventually asked her to consider playing the role of Selma, a proposal she initially turned down. He then threatened to stop the project, which would have made all the musical work she had already done useless. Eventually, she accepted. Filming began in early 1999, and the film debuted in 2000 at the 53rd Cannes Film Festival. Björk received the best actress award for her role, and yet she described the shoot as so physically and emotionally trying that she has sworn off acting ever again.

Björk also appeared in witchcraft/adventure movie Juniper Tree playing the role of Margit a girl whose mother has been killed for practicing withcraft.

Discography

Solo

With KUKL


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