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Zola Jesus


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Merrill WI, United States (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). 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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  • NiniusNunius

    v I'm still waiting for Taiga with positive attitude cause Dangerous Days is so good.

    Yesterday 6:17pm Reply
  • MarcusLMosnter

    In a new interview for rolling stone, she said that she was inspired by mariah carey and barbra streisand for the new álbum. God, she's slowing killing all the hope i had for this álbum.

    23 Jul 5:53pm Reply
  • sexinthesky2

    "Dangerous Days" is different to the previous Zola's stuff but I like it a lot anyway and I'm excited for "Taiga"! :)

    21 Jul 10:01pm Reply
  • NoktowizoR

    It took me to understand that Dangerous Days is a great song. I can't wait fot full album and tour!!!

    15 Jul 10:23pm Reply
  • solenanthus so beautiful

    15 Jul 4:58pm Reply
  • MarcusLMosnter

    Meh, she just admitted that she is trying to be a pop-diva on a interview for V Magazine

    3 Jul 4:57pm Reply
  • solenanthus

    It's "Taiga" not "Tundra" everybody

    3 Jul 3:00am Reply
  • Nekrovoor

    Even for a lead-single, it's unimpressive, that kind of song that would never draw my attention if it wasn't Zola Jesus. I really hope that it will sound better on the full-length context.

    30 Jun 10:59pm Reply
  • music-o-maniac

    Yeah, same here. Not impressed with the single, it's okay, but! the promo clip of TAIGA has some amazing music in there and I think "Dangerous Days" is the most "popish" song on the album, the rest probably will be better. All in all, even though I'm not impressed with this one, I still like it, though I hope she'll deliver something a little bit darker, at least a song or two.

    26 Jun 5:42pm Reply
  • Zeldeiro

    Kida sad that all the lo-fi bands are becoming clean and electro-pop. The same happened with Var and Lust for Youth, and the three artists are from the same lable: Sacred Bones Records. Well, not anymore, now that Zola Jesus is on Mute

    26 Jun 5:36am Reply
  • CookiePolice

    don't forget that Dangerous Days serves as the first song from the album and chosen as promo single probably is the catchiest from the album. the more pop-oriented and polished sound is not suprising though as Nika herself has shown by that Rihanna cover or her admiration for Britney Spears that she's not reluctant to go that way. also, I don't think the album will be full of songs like Dangerous Days. I'm excited anyways.

    25 Jun 9:55am Reply
  • MarcusLMosnter

    Yeah, I guess it lacks some character/personality, her others songs have always striked me with it overwhelming emotion, like a powerful force of nature... The new one sounds like a tamed tornado

    25 Jun 2:35am Reply
  • arsikiller

    Marcus i feel you. i was so excited after the teaser (well, i still have hope tundra will be great), and dangerous days is nowhere near what i expected. unfortunately. i don't know, to me it's just lacking character, and i wouldn't ever say that about any of her previous releases. it's that kind of disappointment i got after lykkes new lp. meh.

    24 Jun 10:32pm Reply
  • Pukkkk

    I always knew she was going towards popular music. A duet with lady gaygay would be nice... ;) Well, I think it's maybe time for me to leave... But: Let's wait till Tundra and see. ;)

    24 Jun 4:54pm Reply
  • GagaZaynLover

    I'm a new fan and she's releasing a new album yay

    24 Jun 2:56pm Reply
  • colorful0

    who is this "everybody" that everybody talks about?

    24 Jun 1:05pm Reply
  • itshayden

    everybody says there's going to be an R&B track on their album

    24 Jun 10:17am Reply
  • Ciaoty

    There's going to be an R&B track on the album... oÔ

    24 Jun 9:15am Reply
  • MarcusLMosnter

    No problems! Haha anyway, I love all Zola's releases and she is truly an artist who produces and writes her own stuff and as I said is hard-working and has the passion for music, artists always has to try new things, and I'm totally up for it! (heck, my favorite band is Goldfrapp) but the new song didn't click for me, maybe my expectations were too high, i don't know... But as I said before, I don't discredit Zola for this release, I'm sure she worked hard on it and put her emotions in it, as with her other releases! I just don't like it , but I'm sure lots of people are liking it and will like it, hope she gets a bigger audience and all the success she deserves with the new album

    24 Jun 1:26am Reply
  • aaaimon

    Oh, okay. then i misunderstood you. I thought you compared the two, yet you talked down about 'Dangerous Days". So i didnt get why you talked down on a song that resembled iam, when you infact like iam. Sorry for that! :) We all have different taste. It was weird for me to hear something so different, but at the same time it was expected concidering the release of Versions. Its a new direction, but if you look back at New Amsterdam (my all time favourite) and The Spoils, Stridulum (I & II) and Conatus (count side releases too if you will), they all are completely different from eachother. What i LOVE about Nika, is that you never know what comes next, cause she loves what she does, she loves exploring music. This is who she is as an artist, and this is who she always has been. If people want a "artist" who releases the same album each year with different lyrics and generic beats they didnt even produce themselves and just pointed out on, people are barking at the wrong tree here. :)

    24 Jun 12:51am Reply
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