According to a recent article in the Guardian, Björk has 17 major inspirations.

Among them are Ru Paul, Jeremih and Portland-based theater director Samantha Shay.

Shay is the director of Source Material, a tiny Portland-based company that's just two years old. Björk attended Shay's show "Of Light," an opera told in almost complete darkness, in Reykjavik last month.

“Of Light” (Victoria Sendra)
“Of Light” (Victoria Sendra)

Source Material made their Portland premiere with the one-woman show "A Thousand Tongues" back in January. Both star singer and musician Nini Julia Bang.

Here's what Björk said about the show:

“I saw the premiere of Of Light in Iceland about a month ago. They work a lot with vocals, which I like, blending together different vocal techniques from the east. When me and my mates were growing up as teenagers we wondered if there was even such a thing as Icelandic culture, Icelandic music, Icelandic art. It was a privilege to be from a generation that had to make it up a little bit. It’s been fun to see the next generation come, and people who have moved here, making music.”
Samantha Shay (Victoria Sendra)
Samantha Shay (Victoria Sendra)

"I didn't know she was going to be there, and it turns out we have mutual friends— that's how small Iceland is," Shay tells WW. "I've been in touch with her since and she's just a lovely, kind person who's invested in young artists and genuinely curious about what people are doing."

Shay pointed out that many of the people Björk said inspired her were artists who have resisted major institutional support and have not made a lot of compromises artistically.

"I applied for so many residencies and grants and I didn't get any of them and then I premiered the show and the coolest, anti-establishment artist came. It was moving in that way," says Shay. "It was special to be acknowledged by this artistic lineage."

Shay says one of the only reasons she was able to produce "Of Light" was that the city of Reykjavik funded the Tjarnarbio Theater, where the opera was performed.

"If I was in America, it wouldn't have been as easy," Shay says.

You can see Shay's work again in Portland next May, when Source Material will premiere a workshop performance of a new piece based on a story from Women Who Run With the Wolves, a collection of Russian folktales that explore the wild woman archetype.