August 6, 2010
Emerson Brown, NPR




Icelandic recording artist, actress and activist Bjork gives NPR a rare interview as part of the series "50 Great Voices." In a two-part conversation with All Things Considered weekend host Guy Raz, Bjork offers insight into the development of her distinct vocal style and the greater role it plays in her life. The first part of the interview airs today, Friday, August 6, during All Things Considered and concludes tomorrow, Saturday, August 7, on the weekend version of the program. The full profile will also be available online at

The year-long "50 Great Voices" series set out at the beginning of 2010 to explore the talent and impact of artists who have left indelible impressions on music – from the much-missed voice of hip hop artist Lauryn Hill to the "the voice with a tear" quality of opera tenor Enrico Caruso. In the latest installment featuring Bjork, Raz interviews the singer about her early years as a performer, how Iceland's terrain influenced her and how she feels about her voice.

Bjork tells Raz that she took to singing naturally: "I remember being in school buses when we would go on field trips or whatever and I'd be in the back and people would ask me to sing a so I used to do that a lot of the time. And my mom did complain that she couldn’t take me to a bus when I was 3 or 4 years old because I would stand up on a chair and sing songs for everyone."

Describing how she developed the more recognizable qualities of her vocal style, Bjork says, "I like to involve the emotional aspect a lot because there is space in my melodies to do ad-libs [so] if one I’m hoarse or extremely happy or hyper or whatever I can involve that."

When asked if she likes her voice, Bjork says: "Yeah I think so. I think it’s probably the part I’m most comfortable with -- with myself...It's my home."

"50 Great Voices" is an NPR series highlighting 50 artists, from around the world and across time, chosen by audiences and a panel of experts. The final list ranges from internationally renowned stars to lesser-known, but equally influential performers. Each Monday, a new “Great Voice” is revealed on either All Things Considered or Morning Edition, two of NPR’s newsmagazines, in reports that present inspiring tributes to the life and legacy of each artist and shed light on the aspects that make them singular talents. The interviews and radio segments are available on the NPR Music website: