Björk Guðmundsdóttir (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈpjœr̥k ˈkvʏðmʏntsˌtoʊhtɪr], born November 21, 1965), known mononymously as Björk (), is an Icelandic singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and occasional actress. She initially became known 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. Björk began her career as a solo artist in 1993. Her first album, Debut, was rooted in electronic dance music, house, jazz and trip hop, and is widely credited as one of the first albums to introduce electronic dance music into mainstream pop. Now in the third decade of her solo career, Björk has developed an eclectic musical style that incorporates aspects of dance, rock, jazz, electronic, classical, and avant-garde music.
Björk has had 30 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" (#4), "Army of Me" (#10), and "Hyperballad" (#8)), 11 in Ireland, eight in Italy, four in France, and two in Australia. Additionally, "Big Time Sensuality", "Hyperballad", and "I Miss You" were number one Dance Hits in the US. Björk's record label, One Little Indian, reported that she had sold more than 15 million albums by 2003, and prior to the release of Biophilia in 2011, media outlets reported that Björk's first six studio albums had sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. In 2013, NME reported that Debut alone had sold 4.7 million copies worldwide.
Björk has won four BRIT Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, one MOJO Award, three UK Music Video Awards, 21 Icelandic Music Awards and, in 2010, the 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." She has also been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards (plus two for art direction on her album sleeves, done by others), one Academy Award, and two Golden Globe Awards. She won the Best Actress Award at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Dancer in the Dark. Her 2011 album, Biophilia, was the first album to be released as a series of interactive apps, and in 2014 these apps were the first ever to be inducted into the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection. A full-scale retrospective exhibition dedicated to Björk will be shown at the Museum of Modern Art in 2015, one of the few musicians to land one.
Music critics have consistently championed Björk's body of work, praising her innovative approach to singing and composition, her pioneering use of electronic beats, her groundbreaking music videos, and, above all, her singular voice, describing her as "the most important and forward-looking musician of her generation" and "the best non-pop female vocalist of the last 30 years." Björk has been ranked twenty-ninth in VH1's "The 100 Greatest Women in Music", eighth in MTV's "22 Greatest Voices in Music", sixtieth in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Singers of All Time", and was recognized in NPR's "50 Great Voices" feature for her "celestial voice." (Full article...)
Debut is the second studio album by Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk. The album was released in July 1993 on One Little Indian Records in the United Kingdom and Elektra Records in the United States. Björk worked on the album with producer Nellee Hooper who co-wrote five of Debut's songs with her. The album mostly consists of love songs relating to subjects such as her boyfriend Dominic Thrupp, her producer Nellee Hooper and to love of life itself. Musically, the songs on this album took a different direction from her previous albums with her former band The Sugarcubes, with the backing music ranging from house, jazz and trip hop styles.
Most of the songs from Debut were written years prior to the production of the album. As well as working with Graham Massey, Björk wanted to work with jazz musicians and contacted Oliver Lake and Corky Hale to record jazz arrangements to some of the songs. After meeting producer Nellee Hooper, the two completed production on the album in 1993. On Debut's initial release, the album sold far greater than her label predicted, charting at number three in the United Kingdom and sixty-one in the United States. The album was certified gold in Canada and platinum in the United States. Debut received widespread critical acclaim from British critics who praised Björk's vocals and the choice of a wide range of musical styles on the album. In the United States, the album received more mixed reviews, with some critics complaining about the lack of rock music on Debut.
Five singles were released from Debut: "Human Behaviour", "Venus as a Boy", "Play Dead", "Big Time Sensuality" and "Violently Happy". Despite the continued praise from critics, Björk did not find Debut to be one of her best albums stating that she will and has made better music on later works.