Born in 1965 in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik, the daughter of Gudmundur Gunnarsson (an electrician) and Hildur Hauksdóttir who divorced before her second birthday, Björk grew up in a hippie-type community with her mother and her seven siblings. She started to study classical music at the age of 5 and released her first album in 1977 (mainly traditional Icelandic folk songs and international hits translated to Icelandic) when she was only 11. During her teenage years Björk became involved in several bands, most of them punk: Spit & Snot (1977), Exodus (1979-80), Jam 80 (1980), Tappi Tíkarrass (1981-83) (featured the documentary Rock in Reykjavik (1982)) and Kukl (1984-86). She then formed the pop group The Sugarcubes with Einar Örn Benediktsson and Sigtryggur Baldursson and eventually other members Þór Eldon (with whom she had a son in 1986), Margrét Örnólfsdóttir and Bragi Ólafsson. The band released its first single in 1986 and its first album, "Life's Too Good", in 1988, and discovered international success, especially in UK. During her Sugarcubes years, Björk also collaborated with the Icelandic jazz group Gudmundar Ingólfssonar Trio for the album "Gling-Glo" in 1990, and featured 808 State's "Ooops", which was the start of her electronic music interest. The Sugarcubes eventually split after a few albums in 1992 and in 1993. Björk released her first solo album, "Debut", in collaboration with producer Nellee Hooper. The worldwide success of the album (nearly 3 million copies sold) made possible her second album, "Post", in 1995, also with help of not only Nellee Hooper but techno gurus Graham Massey (from 808 State), Howie B. and Tricky, followed by the remix album "Telegram" the year after. After some problems in the UK, where she lived, she decided to go to Spain to record her third album, "Homogenic", released in 1997. Her main collaborators were the 'Icelandic String Octet', Mark Bell (from LFO), Mark Stent and again Howie B, and the album may be her most electronic. After Danish director Lars von Trier discovered her in the music video of "It's Oh So Quiet", he asked her to play the main role and to compose the music for his new movie Dancer in the Dark (2000). She won the Best Actress Prize in the Cannes Festival, and said that it would be her only cinema performance (although she'd already acted in the Icelandic movie The Juniper Tree (1990)) because it was too painful for her and because she considered herself a music artist and not a cinema artist. The original soundtrack was re-worked by her before being released as an album under the title "Selmasongs" in September 2000 (including a new version of the duet song "I've Seen it All" with Thom Yorke). Her fourth album, probably the most quiet, "Vespertine", featured a chamber orchestra, an Icelandic choir and harpist Zeena Parkins, and was also a successful collaboration with Matmos. She then successively released a book of photos and texts, series of DVD, a Greatest Hits album and two special boxes ("Family Tree" and "Björk Box"). She also took time to marry artist Matthew Barney, with whom she had a daughter in 2002. In August 2004 she composed and sang "Oceania" for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Athens. This song was featured on her fifth album, "Medúlla", released about two weeks after the ceremony. It is mostly made with vocals and some titles are close to experimental music, featuring choirs, Inuit singer Tanya Tagaq, Japanese artist Dokaka, Robert Wyatt, Rahzel and Mike Patton, but also collaborating again with programmers Matmos, Mark Bell and Mark "Spike" Stent.IMDb Mini Biography By: Raphaël Jullien <firstname.lastname@example.org>
|Þór Eldon||(1986 - 1987) (divorced) 1 child|
Very quirky sense of fashion
Unique, almost child-like singing voice
Singer / songwriter.
Was stalked by a man who suffered from severe mental problems. He attempted to kill her by mailing her a book that had been hollowed out and filled with an explosive device. The police intercepted it before she received it. The stalker committed suicide.
Has gone on record saying she will never make another movie, due to the difficulties she faced making Dancer in the Dark (2000).
As of September 2002, MTV has ranked Björk's music video Pagan Poetry (2001) (V) as one of the channel's most controversial videos ever as it depicts several shots of not only Björk's breasts, but also multiple body piercings on her arms and back.
Daughter, Isadora (b. October 3, 2002), with Matthew Barney.
In recognition of her contribution to promoting Iceland abroad, the government gave her the island of Ellidaey, off the coast of Iceland.
Wrote the song "Bedtime Story" for Madonna's album Bedtime Stories. Madonna had asked Bjork to sing the song with her, but she declined.
Received much criticism at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards when she arrived on the red carpet with her now famous "swan dress" which "laid an egg" literally -- a large ostrich-sized egg dropped from under it!
Ranked #36 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll
Her favorite housework around the house is washing clothes because that's when a tune usually comes into her head.
A short scene of Bjork's video 'Big Time Sensuality' can be seen in the movie Vanilla Sky (2001) in a vision sequence Tom Cruise has.
In 2002, her mother, Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir, went on a short-lived hunger strike to protest the development of an aluminum smelter at Reyðarfjörður, on the Icelandic coast. Reyðarfjörður was the setting of one of her music videos.
Before she was famous, she worked odd jobs at an antiques shop, a bookstore, a Coca-Cola bottling plant where her job was to check for cleanliness, and a fish factory during the easter break in 1984.
Former boyfriend Stephane Sednaoui directed some of her music videos and live performances.
Director Harmony Korine wrote the lyrics for the song 'Harm of Will' from her album 'Vespertine'.
Has been quoted as saying that Story of the Eye by surrealist writer Georges Bataille was her main inspiration and reason behind the broken eggs featured in her Venus as a Boy music video.
She was named the world's most eccentric star in a poll by the BBC in January 2006.
In February 2006, Bjork visited Banda Aceh in Indonesia for two days as a goodwill ambassador to the victims of the 2004 tsunami.
Mad TV character Miss Swan (played by Alex Borstein) is partially based on her.
Winner of the 1994 Brit Award for International Female.
Winner of the 2005 Q Inspiration Award.
Music video "It's Oh So Quiet" was ranked #50 on VH1's 100 Greatest Videos.
She said her first name is pronounced "Byerk" (rhymes with jerk), and not the commonly mispronounced "Byork".
Is a fan of Wutang's producer RZA. The two recorded a track together and RZA even referenced her in his rhymes on a separate work.
After winning best actress award at Cannes: "I knew when I said yes that this would be not only my first role but also my last one. I'm very happy that it's to be this one." Asked whether she might one day reconsider, she said: "I have to do records now. I only have 50 years left, and I've got a lot of records to make."
"The album's very much about being alone in your house, in a very quiet sort of introverted mood and you whisper, you sort of improvise. Which is between me and myself." (about her album 'Vespertine')
What probably confuses people is they know a lot about me, but it quite pleases me that there's more they don't know.
Sometimes doing the same thing for a really long time freaks me out, routine freaks me out. But then again, always doing new things can be lazy...it's tricky. I can be very sneaky with myself.
People are always asking me about eskimos, but there are no eskimos in Iceland.
I find it very difficult to draw a line between what's sex and what isn't. It can be very, very sexy to drive a car, and completely unsexy to flirt with someone at a bar.
All people have their own way of dealing with everyday problems. some go for walks, others get drunk and some get laid. I write songs.
I want to work on my character. I think it's in there, a good person. I don't believe in just doing good things, I want to feed my demon as well. One should learn to live both the demon and the angel, you know? But I have a way to go. People excite me, they turn me on. A new person can trigger things in you that you didn't even know you had. If it's musical that's even better. The unknown turns me on.
'Gling-Gló' was a bigger seller in Iceland than 'Debut' and all the Sugarcubes' albums put together! That tells you a lot about Iceland.
When I was growing up, I always had the feeling I was dropped from somewhere else. That's how I was treated at school in Iceland where the kids used to call me "china girl" and everybody thought I was unusual because I looked Chinese.
Femenists bore me to death. I follow my instinct and if that supports young girls in any way, great. But I'd rather they saw it more as a lesson about following their own instincts rather than imitating somebody.
The reason I do photographs is to help people understand my music, so it's very important that I am the same, emotionally, in the photographs as in the music. Most people's eyes are much better developed than their ears. If they see a certain emotion in the photograph, then they'll understand the music. (Index Magazine, July 2001)
About the 2004 Olympics opening ceremony: "I am incredibly honoured to have been asked to write a song and sing it at the Olympics. The song is written from the point of view of the ocean that surrounds all the land and watches over the humans to see how they are doing after millions of years of evolution. It sees no borders, different races or religion which has always been at the core of these games."
I always wanted to be a farmer. There is a tradition of that in my family. I'm a bit of a nerd, I wouldn't mind working in a shop like 12 Tónar selling records, or having a radio show where I could play obscure singles. I would also like to teach music. It's weird the way they teach music in schools like Juliard these days. I know someone who graduated at age 20 as a classical composer, playing music the way they did a hundred years ago or more. I would take kids out into nature, and teach them that they can be right, and not just the teacher. I would let them lead the way. To some degree, at least...
Singing is like a celebration of oxygen.
"I look at the news, I see people starving, I am crying. I'm a total mess. You try to think how you're going to break through this cobweb of problems and bureaucracy and how on Earth anybody is going to make any change." (Live 8 press conference, 7-4-2005)
"It seems to me that the politicians of the rich countries are almost like this VIP that are untouchable - and then the rest of the public of their own countries and of all the other countries of the world are like the "other" chunk that don't have a voice... so, I would like to say that I am part of that huge chunk, which actually is about... 95% of the world!" (Live 8 press conference, 7-4-2005)
About Drawing Restraint 9 (2005): "Trying to even start to explain the film is kind of challenging, but with my little alcohol-pickled brain, it's really tough. I guess that's the point with the way Matthew sets it up, because there is no story. You just have to sit there and enjoy it, a bit like nature. The film has a narrative, but a really abstract one. It's not your average Hollywood movie, let's put it that way." (Telegraph interview, 21/07/2005)
"After doing the research with all the vocals on Medúlla, I was very curious to take that further to a place that was not narrative. Then, when Matthew explained that the film happens on the ocean, I was curious to make vocal patterns that were sort of oceanic. My music is very much about structure, whereas Matthew is much more abstract. I have to have a map and a compass to see the . nal point before I start the journey, and then I can meet 10 lions or whatever." (Telegraph interview, 21/07/2005)
"People think that I'm too eccentric, so it's never going to work. I've always loved pop and leftfield music. My record company thought that Debut wasn't going to sell. I said: I don't care. I really have to do this or I'll go insane. You've just got to do what you do. I came from a punk background, so there was no way that I was ever going to compromise with my music. I have this utopian view that the common person - like your gran, or the guy who works in the sandwich shop - actually wants an adventure, to hear something they've never heard before. I might seem leftfield, but I'm really not trying to be weird, you know." (Telegraph interview, 21/07/2005)
About her album Volta: "I feel in a lot of ways Volta is Post 2. Very restless and sort of schizophrenic. Promiscuous in collaborations, but sincere. It's consistent in its restlessness." (2007)
"Sometimes when I write lyrics there are images in them, usually on a quite simplistic level, like colors. But most often music comes first and then later I sit down with visual people and we chat about what we want to do. I don't look at myself as a visual artist. I make music." (2007)
Being a musician is very easy. My house is full of musical instruments. There's a lot of music, always. But... I don't really go to premieres and hang out with Puff Daddy. (2007)
I like the creative angle. Where people express themself. But I don't like it when it's too much of people being told what to do, and too much like ... fascism, of magazines telling women to starve them-self, and they obey! Or they're like "out of fashion", which is the worst crime you could ever commit! So they get executed for it, publicly! It makes women very unhappy. (2007)
On being 41: I'm pretty comfortable with it when it comes to experience, maturity, er, wisdom; but I'd be lying if I said that it don't piss me off that I don't have the same energy I used to have when I was 20. (2007)
Right now, I feel like I look exhausted, because I'm tired. I'm not vain, like: I want to look pretty. That's never bothered me. But if I see a photograph of me and I look tired, then I'd be more worried than if I looked ugly. (2007)
I don't like drinking with food, I think Iceland people are a bit old-school like that - we think if you drink with food then you're an alcoholic ... but if you drink lots, on a Friday night ... (2007)
I'm not keen on the three-chord thing, The Strokes, or Oasis. It's like boy scout songs to me.
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