On this date in 1965, recording artist Björk (née Björk Gudmundsdottir) was born in Reykjavík, Iceland. Her mother, an environmental activist, and her father, a union electrician, divorced when she was 6. She moved with her mother to a commune. She studied classical piano as an elementary student. When her teachers submitted a tape of her singing “I Love to Love” to Iceland’s Radio One, it became a hit.

Her first album was released when she was 11. She had formed two bands by age 14. She sang with an avante-garde pop band, The Sugarcubes, in 1986, which became successful internationally. Bjork ventured on a solo career in 1993, which has encompassed the dance and club culture, punk, jazz standards and ballads. She won the 2000 Best Actress Award at Cannes for playing the lead role in “Dancer in the Dark,” for which she also composed the score. “Dancer” also won Best Picture at Cannes.

Several of Björk’s albums have reached the top 20 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, the most recent being “Vulnicura” (2015). “Utopia” was released in 2017. She 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 as of 2015.

Björk met guitarist Þór Eldon in the early ’80s. They married in 1986 and had a son, Sindri, that same year but divorced soon after his birth.  

When asked if she believes in God, she replied, “I do not believe in religion, but if I had to choose one, it would be Buddhism.” (Les Inrockuptibles No. 14, June 16, 1995.) Earlier she told the Irish magazine Hot Press, “If I get into trouble, there’s no God or Allah to sort me out. I have to do it myself.” (“Björk on the Wild Side,” 1994)

Björk at the premiere of “Dancer in the Dark” at the Cannes Film Festival; Paul Smith/Featureflash Photo.

Freedom From Religion Foundation