Portal:Björk

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The Björk Portal

Björk Guðmundsdóttir (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈpjœr̥k ˈkvʏðmʏntsˌtoʊhtɪr], born November 21, 1965), known mononymously as Björk (/ˈbjɜːrk/), 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...)

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Björk performing at Ruisrock, Turku, Finland on June 28, 1998.

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".

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Björk performing in Japan with The Sugarcubes
Credit: Masao Nakagami
Björk performing in Japan with The Sugarcubes

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