Bjork Gudmundsdottir, better known to the world as simply Bjork, began influencing the music scene over forty years ago. Her first major breakout was with the band The Sugarcubes for whom she played keyboard and sang lead vocals. The group achieved rapid international recognition before breaking up in 1992.
Bjork is known for a voice that seems itself to be a sliver of the polar ice from whence she came, at once sharp and edgy, cool and crystal. Her solo work has spanned across art pop, avant-garde, electronica, alternative rock, post-punk, and more. The Icelandic enigma is also well-known for her unique style and ability to carry off even the most seemingly esoteric concepts with a dexterity and force that resonates with millions.
Bjork has been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and has received countless international honors including five BRIT Awards and four MTV Video Music Awards. In 2015, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) presented a retrospective exhibit of her vast body of work but by most critical accounts, failed to capture the essence of the artist. Bjork remained out of reach for the mere mortals of MoMA. Meanwhile, her music has reached the top 20 on the Billboard charts as well as the UK pop charts where she has held spots in the top 40 over 20 times, several of which were in the top ten.
Fellow artists from Madonna to Missy Elliot have sung the praises of Bjork’s work. The very pop scene itself has been shaped in part by her seismic influence. Thom Yorke of Radiohead once referred to Bjork’s Unravel as, “one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard,” in an interview with Spin Magazine.’
Besides her professional accolades and achievements, Bjork has come to define for a generation the musical sound of Iceland on the international stage. She has recorded on tribute albums for the likes of Joni Mitchell and scored films. For the 2000 Lars von Trier film Dancer in the Dark Bjork composed and produced the soundtrack and went on to take on the leading role.
Bjork’s inimitable style and boundless creativity have evaded categorization by critics and fans alike. She is an undefinable powerhouse of sound, sight, and near-constant evolution who has managed to maintain her own unusual vision while remaining firmly in the mainstream consciousness. In light of her decades in the business, and a career that is virtually unmatched, one can’t help wondering why Rock & Roll Hall of Fame remains Oh So Quiet when it comes to Bjork.