Björk Guðmundsdóttir (; Icelandic: [ˈpjœr̥k] ( listen); born 21 November 1965) is an Icelandic singer, songwriter, actress, record producer, and DJ. Over her four-decade career, she has developed an eclectic musical style that draws on a range of influences and genres spanning electronic, pop, experimental, classical, trip hop, IDM, and avant-garde music, while collaborating with a range of artists and exploring a variety of multimedia projects.
Born and raised in Reykjavík, she began her music career at age 11 and first gained international recognition as the lead singer of the alternative rock band the Sugarcubes, whose 1987 single "Birthday" was a hit on US and UK indie stations and a favorite among music critics. After the band’s breakup, Björk embarked on a solo career in 1993 with the pop albums Debut and Post (1995). Initially being branded as a "pixie" by press, she boldly changed her artistic direction with the 1997 album Homogenic, adopting a much darker sound and image. Her follow up albums, Vespertine (2001) and Medúlla (2004), were much more toned down in nature, described by Björk herself as more “introverted”.
Several of Björk's albums have reached the top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart, the most recent being Vulnicura (2015). Björk has had 31 singles reach the top 40 on pop charts around the world, with 22 top 40 hits in the UK, including the top 10 hits "It's Oh So Quiet", "Army of Me", and "Hyperballad". She is reported to have sold between 20 and 40 million records worldwide as of 2015. She has won the 2010 Polar Music Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in recognition of her "deeply personal music and lyrics, her precise arrangements and her unique voice." Björk was included in Time Magazine's 2015 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She was ranked both sixtieth and eighty-first in Rolling Stone's 100 greatest singers and songwriters lists respectively. Björk also won five BRIT Awards, and has been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards.
Outside her music career, she starred in the 2000 Lars von Trier film Dancer in The Dark. She won the Best Actress Award at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for an Academy Award for her soundtrack contribution, "I've Seen It All". Her 2011 album Biophillia was marketed as an interactive app album with its own education program. Björk has also been an advocate for environmental causes in her home country Iceland. A full-scale retrospective exhibition dedicated to Björk was held at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 2015.
Homogenic is the fourth studio album by Icelandic musician Björk, released in September 1997. Produced by Björk, Mark Bell, Guy Sigsworth, Howie B and Markus Dravs, it was released on One Little Indian Records. The music of Homogenic was a new style for Björk, focusing on similar sounding music combining electronic beats and string instruments with songs in tribute to her native country Iceland. Homogenic was originally to be produced in her home in London, but was later recorded in Spain.
Homogenic marked the first of several production collaborations between Mark Bell and Björk, whom Björk would cite as a major influence on her musical career. The album peaked at number twenty-eight on the Billboard 200, and at number four on the UK Albums Chart. Five singles were released from Homogenic: "Jóga", "Bachelorette", "Hunter", "Alarm Call" and "All Is Full of Love". Homogenic was highly acclaimed on its initial release and continues to be praised by critics, with Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine stating that "if not the greatest electronic album of all time, it's certainly the greatest of its decade".
Before production began on Homogenic, Björk wanted to create an album with "a simple sound" and "only one flavour". Heather Phares of Allmusic described the sound of Homogenic as a "fusion of chilly strings (courtesy of the Icelandic String Octet), stuttering, abstract beats, and unique touches like accordion and glass harmonica". The album differs from her previous two releases stylistically, and Neva Chonin of Rolling Stone stated the album was "certain to be rough going for fans looking for the sweet melodies and peppy dance collages of her earlier releases".