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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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  • aaaimon

    @InYourDark Exactly, she has a huge capacity, and this is one side to it. If you don't like it, that's totally fine. Artists choose their own path, and they try out different things. She made this for a reason. You have never been forced to listen. You may jump off of the train whenever you want. People in this comment field is not your friend. We don't need you to jump on here waving your goodbyes. No one really cares if you like it or not. Let the music speak. If you don't fall for it, take a step back and go listen to something else. If you have been with her career long enough, you should know by now that you shouldn't have expectations when it comes to Nika. She brings new material with every release.

    30 Jul 8:12pm Reply
  • yarkypumypumy

    Why is Taiga soooooo goooooood?

    28 Jul 5:32pm Reply
  • Jewrusalem

    Damn these top tags are way off

    22 Jul 10:54am Reply
  • colorful0

    i stopped reading at "u plebs"

    10 Jul 5:27pm Reply
  • InYourDark

    Stridulum shits over this crap called Taiga. I know what u plebs are thinking: 'omg how you can't accept the '''evolution'' of an artist, if an artist makes the same genre music will be boring blablabla' No. This fucking sucks. With her capacity this is puke, with her potential she could produce a huge masterpiece superior to Stridulum. And c'mon this is fucking boring, unspirational and shallow. Maybe some tracks are decent but if i imagine this as an debut record from a new artist i would ignore this shit. 3/10

    20 Jun 10:27pm Reply
  • CookiePolice

    Not boring at all.

    19 Jun 11:50pm Reply
  • sansdasjupiten


    11 Jun 7:00pm Reply
  • colorful0 inspiration about her way of singing. Not her music. Go troll somewhere else.

    8 Jun 2:18pm Reply
  • uhIgor


    31 May 12:17pm Reply
  • mortauxvaches_

    She aimed high mentioned Rihanna as an inspiration. I'm afraid Zola has still a long way until be able to control the mainstream. Taiga is ok though.

    22 May 5:51am Reply
  • buildabonfire

    Great voice.

    12 May 1:14am Reply
  • AlanisParodi

    19 Apr 8:57pm Reply
  • dikiz

    Thanks god she has a terrible nose otherwise I would have fell in love with her

    11 Apr 9:14pm Reply
  • ChateauDeChat

    So good!

    13 Mar 9:08pm Reply
  • gah1amaral

    Hope she release another b-sides with the next singles

    16 Feb 5:13pm Reply
  • flou-rish

    TAIGA: This is what it sounds like when an artist matures, discovers a confidence they perhaps never knew they had, and return, revitalised. (The 405) ♥♥♥♥

    16 Feb 12:59am Reply
  • CookiePolice

    Compass is great. could have easily replaced Long Way Down.

    15 Feb 5:05pm Reply
  • johnonymous

    Compass is incredible, everyone should get together and petition she unleash the rest of the Taiga demos.

    14 Feb 4:19am Reply
  • colorful0

    The whole quote : "The day the record came out, and the weeks surrounding were some of the darkest. In all honesty, i resented how people thought the record was a bid at commercial success - based on some out-of-context quotes and headlines made to sensationalize my innocent efforts of creativity. [...] it only reinforced my lack of desire to participate in civilization." - Zola Jesus. thank you guys

    12 Feb 4:44pm Reply
  • nonnen8

    Judging an artist by his musical preferences is so obnoxious and irrelevant. One can be an artist creating most alternative music in the world and still be a fan of some major mainstream acts only. [4]

    12 Feb 3:08pm Reply
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