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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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  • comadretickets

    new pic!

    Yesterday 5:00pm Reply
  • MarcusLMosnter

    \\/ And I add that when someone gets dissapointed with a new sound from an artist they like it's not because "They want the artist to do the same thing forever", he just don't like this specific direction that the artist took, there's ton of musical styles that I'd love Zola to do, but this one that she choose didn't appeal to me and I complained... It's not like i'm forcing her or telling her to stop making music just because I didn't liked the new album lol

    20 Nov 4:20pm Reply
  • ShySquirrel

    "You gotta love it when some random fan declares that an artist's most recent album isn't actually their album." I guess that fan simply wanted to say that her new album isn't like her previous works and I personally agree with that. No one doubts that Taiga was made by Zola Jesus and that she, being an artist, can do whatever she wants to. But people have a right to get disappointed if what she made sounds disappointing to them :))

    19 Nov 10:39am Reply
  • bkelleher

    You gotta love it when some random fan declares that an artist's most recent album isn't actually their album. Sorry they're actually the artist and they can make their sound do whatever the fuck they want. Taiga is def a Zola Jesus album and a damn good one at that.

    18 Nov 8:48pm Reply
  • danwramrich

    I take back my words from my first impression of Taiga. Now I find it an awesome and addicting record which ultimately I've got nothing to complain about. Those reverbed vocal samples simply give me chills everytime I listen.

    13 Nov 2:00am Reply
  • pqpaulinho

    10 Nov 5:24pm Reply
  • c0rdell

    do people here like conatus or no?

    9 Nov 8:42pm Reply
  • c0rdell

    "Taiga is not a Zola Jesus album imo" hahahahaha dang

    9 Nov 8:41pm Reply
  • AlanisParodi <3 vote pls

    9 Nov 7:42pm Reply
  • gah1amaral

    The powerful chorus of Ego,the battery beats in Lawless,the arrangement of Nail, the change of rhythm in the bridge of Hollow yeah this album has a lot of very high points

    9 Nov 3:59pm Reply
  • gah1amaral

    And I think she has much more than Taiga, Conadus and Stridulum to Oferer, she is a very intelligent woman and I think she still has not given her maximum as an artist, I feel that she can so much more, she totally can make an album that really going to be a landmark in history.

    9 Nov 3:47pm Reply
  • gah1amaral

    Go (Blank sea)*

    9 Nov 3:46pm Reply
  • Otomo72

    Fantastic show in Paris!!

    9 Nov 3:45pm Reply
  • gah1amaral

    I think Taiga is not bad at all,just needed to be better care at some points but this doesn't take the brilliance of the high points of the record. And I actually prefer it when an artist trying something new and fails than when it remains stuck in his comfort zone.

    9 Nov 3:38pm Reply
  • gah1amaral

    The production using virtually the same elements in all the songs is something that doesn't work, the album sounds like one music playing at different rates, it is almost redundant at times,it will sound more richer and captivating if she had explored more other sounds (like animal sounds,forest sounds etc) What really saves Taiga is the voice of Nika that gives 100% of herself throughout the album, her voice was never so accurate, clear and objective than in this album.

    9 Nov 3:38pm Reply
  • gah1amaral

    I think taiga represents much for Nika career in general, it shows how much she is striving as an artist, shows that she always want rediscover herself and go out of her own comfort zone. I think the problem was in the execution of taiga, sometimes it doesn't seem an album made by Nika but not for being too pop but because the production seems confused, some sounds and elements collide with each other instead of helping her voice like the chorus of "Go (sea blank)" and the fuzzy brass in "Hunger" (which looks more like a demo than a finished song) but then we have pop anthems like "Dangerous Days" and "Dust" which raised the level of album.

    9 Nov 3:37pm Reply
  • Zeldeiro

    I've listened to Taiga for two weeks. I tried it a lot, but I can't listen to it anymore, it's boring. Sorry Nika, I really love all your previous work, I was a huge fan of you, and I still am, but Taiga is not a Zola Jesus album imo

    7 Nov 3:04am Reply
  • ClownDisco

    The album 'Taiga' (and it actually started with the song 'Taiga') won me over completely unexpectedly! I was a fan of Zola jesus's since Stridulum II and I loved Conatus even more and now this! First I thought Taiga was too accessible (mostly because I all of a sudden could actually make out the lyrics!), but now it turned out to be my most favourite. It's super dark and cohesive and pop, yet not arbitrary. God, it's full of classic ZJ vocal reverb and atmosphere. And the bassline on Hollow is giving me fucking life! I'm more than happy! I even don't want to listen to the old records anymore (for now).

    7 Nov 1:09am Reply
  • d114k114


    2 Nov 11:40am Reply
  • ujustcanseeit

    different album but still good

    1 Nov 7:01pm Reply
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