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Zola Jesus


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Merrill, Wisconsin, USA (2008 – present)

Zola Jesus is the stage name of Russian-American Nika Roza Danilova (born 11 April 1989 in Phoenix, Arizona and raised in Merrill, Wisconsin, USA). Her music style combines , , , , and influences.

Nika Roza Danilova was raised in Merrill, Wisconsin, on over 100 acres of forest. Danilova started singing early on, buying voice lesson tapes and opera sheet music at the age of 7; soon she began working with a vocal coach. It was not her parents’ idea: “I begged them to do it. For some reason, I really wanted to sing opera even though I wasn’t really exposed to it as a kid. I think my little baby toddler mind heard some opera song and then became fixated on how powerful it sounded,” she later remembered. Danilova started performing opera when she was 10 years old, but experienced serious psychological difficulties. “I would too often lose my voice before performances due to anxiety, and was so hard on myself. I would beat myself up about any imperfections or flaws in my voice. I was such a perfectionist, and my voice was still so young so it couldn’t do everything I wanted it to, and I resented myself for that. But since performing as Zola Jesus it’s been getting easier,” she later recalled.

In her teens, Danilova started to experiment in a more rock-orientated format. By naming her alter ego after Jesus Christ and the French writer Émile Zola she said she consciously wanted to alienate peers. “It worked perfectly – a lot of people wouldn’t even say Zola Jesus because they thought it was sacrilegious”, she said in an interview.


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  • MarcusLMosnter

    And I must say that while it seems that this album is the one that Zola did it in the most "passionate" way, it's the one that lacks the most emotion, for me... It sounds really bland in comparison with the rawness and power-fullness of her other records, and her voice sounds "tamed" to suit in a more accessible sound. Well, anyway...

    2 hours ago Reply
  • MarcusLMosnter

    I didn't hate the album as I thought i would, it has some very nice tracks like the title track, while it also has some really bad songs, it's a huge step back from her previous album and I agree with "It's a nice electropop album, but a weak Zola Jesus album." But anyway, I know how Zola is happy with this new record, unfortunately I don't like it but I hope the best for her! I'll keep on listening her previous albums and some songs of this new one

    2 hours ago Reply
  • finalesfunkeln

    v yes i feel you.It is not that she made a pop album it is that she did not do a good album no matter whether it is pop or not.

    4 hours ago Reply
  • if-then-else

    Disappointed too. Not because of the pop aspect, Conatus already had a very pop side, but because it's musically very bland. I agree with the fact that she experimented several things, but just because you experiment doesn't mean it's a success. So of course, it's not a bad album and her vocals are always exceptional (even though it's a bit softer) but I feel like Taiga is one big song with 11 variations of it. It's a nice electropop album, but a weak Zola Jesus album.

    4 hours ago Reply
  • WhySoSeriousx

    Taiga is fucking excellent! <3 [1]

    4 hours ago Reply
  • Sanguine_Sky

    Rather disappointed by "Taiga". Not bad overall but could be much more enjoyable.

    5 hours ago Reply
  • colorful0

    I love every song of Taiga. She sings a little bit differently, sometimes with a rnb vibe, but i love artists that experiments with new things

    8 hours ago Reply
  • Deadr0ckSJ

    I was almost a little worried as to what the record would sound like, but now that I'm hearing it, I realize how silly I was being. Taiga is fucking excellent! <3

    Yesterday 2:34am Reply
  • indiekidwonder

    The sound doesn't really match her vocals. It's gonna take a few listens to see if they actually mesh more than my initial reaction...

    Yesterday 1:33am Reply
  • music-o-maniac

    The production is exceptional, she took a chance and experiments. Her vocals are a little bit softer when compared to previous releases (well, Versions already had it, but I'd like to concentrate on the completely new material). I still need to listen to it more than once, cause the only song that's stuck in my head is Go (Blank Sea) and the rest just played by. This is somehow sad and unusual to me, I was usually hooked to most of her songs after just one listen and this album really lacks a darker song to my mind. But still, need to listen to it few times more.

    Yesterday 11:48pm Reply
  • julietta_s

    the definition of "big art" being somehow relative, let's just enjoy the music... and if not, put on some other artist :)

    Yesterday 10:30pm Reply
  • Pukkkk

    hunger has something. but it's somehow not "big art". still nice pop, though.

    Yesterday 10:23pm Reply
  • shinoque

    Versions was already surprisingly bad, but Taïga is such a letdown that it hurts. She really lost it, I'm afraid.

    Yesterday 10:17pm Reply
  • Pukkkk

    hmmm... it's good made. but. maybe i'm not in the mood right now.

    Yesterday 10:15pm Reply
  • julietta_s

    actually really loving it! <3

    Yesterday 9:59pm Reply
  • julietta_s

    after listening to two first singles i've been sceptic. but now I know I've been wrong. She's an artist, she's evolving. This new sound is growing on me.

    Yesterday 9:56pm Reply
  • solenanthus Goddess

    Yesterday 7:02pm Reply
  • denismathias

    It's great and powerful and huge, at least for me.

    Yesterday 7:02pm Reply
  • solenanthus

    Good record but it didn't catch me as Conatus did when I heard it for the very first time [2]

    Yesterday 6:00pm Reply
  • AlanisParodi

    I can see why some people don't like it but i LOVE it

    Yesterday 5:21pm Reply
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