I have a serious lady crush on Björk.
I think I was about 12 when I heard my first Björk song. My singing teacher introduced me to some of the most powerful and unique female voices of all time including Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Katie Noonan, and Björk. While singing didn’t stick, the music did. I remember being somewhat confronted by her howling, unpredictable voice and frenetic electronic beats. I’d never heard anything like it. It was a little beyond my R&B obsessed, 12 year old taste however, so I filed it away for a few years.
I rediscovered Björk in my late teens when music became my escape, solace, and way of understanding myself. I was a reserved teenager with a tide of repressed emotion swelling beneath the surface. I never quite had the confidence or ability to express it. Voices of people I’d never met like Thom Yorke, Kele Okereke, and Björk seemed to sing my feelings in a way I couldn’t.
Now I’m in my 20s and the Icelandic songstress has been among a handful of artists that have stuck with me from girlhood to womanhood. Here are two reasons why Björk is my hero:
1. She’s a gutsy feminist.
In a recent interview with Pitchfork she spoke up about gender inequality. She talked about having to fight to get credit for her work and to have her ideas heard in a male dominated industry.
“Yeah, I didn’t want to talk about that kind of thing for 10 years, but then I thought, “You’re a coward if you don’t stand up. Not for you, but for women. Say something” … I want to support young girls who are in their 20s now and tell them: You’re not just imagining things. It’s tough. Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times… After being the only girl in bands for 10 years, I learned—the hard way—that if I was going to get my ideas through, I was going to have to pretend that they—men—had the ideas. I became really good at this and I don’t even notice it myself.”
2. Her ability to express all my feels
I don’t know many artists who can convey raw, unpolished emotion the way Björk can. Her style of expression is uniquely her own, yet her portrayal of universal human experiences is so on point. When Björk’s latest album ‘Vulnicura’ came out, it couldn’t have been better timing.I’d just been figuratively kicked in the guts by a boy I really liked – I was confused and in pain and trying to move on, while constantly looking back over my shoulder, wishing things could go back to the way they were. Björk’s voice, the sweeping strings, subtle beats and synths expressed a vulnerability, pain, and fighting hope I could completely relate to. I spent many nights driving and singing loudly and off key to it. It was incredibly cathartic.
In the same interview, she expressed how difficult it was to make Vulnicura –
“When I did this album – it all just collapsed. I didn’t have anything. It was the most painful thing I ever experienced in my life”
I’m incredibly grateful she did it anyway.
To conclude this love letter, I just want to say thanks Björk, for creating beautiful music, empowering women, and making a 24 year old’s quarter life crisis less of a crisis and more of a growing experience.
In your own words,
“If I regret us, I’m denying my soul to grow. Don’t remove my pain. It is my chance to heal.” (‘Notget’, Vulnicura)