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Zola Jesus, real name Nika Roza Danilova, is an American singer-songwriter from Phoenix, Arizona. Born in 1989 she is known for her diverse sound, which incorporates elements of pop, goth and experimental rock.
Brought up in the country, Zola Jesus began studying music and singing at the age of seven. Determined to sing opera, the young artist taught herself to sing from tapes and sheet music before eventually working with a vocal coach. A series of anxiety-related setbacks put the singer’s opera career on hold and she was forced to re-imagine her musical career.
Starting to experiment with rock music, the singer chose the stage name Zola Jesus and began playing gigs while in college. Determined to get her music out into the world, Zola Jesus began recording her own work from her home with the use of drum machines and any other instrument she could come by.
The singer self-recorded her debut album “The Spoils” in 2009, which picked up a number of fans and extensive attention from music industry professionals. Prepared to do it herself from the very start of her career, Zola Jesus has now released a handful of studio albums and EPs. Two of the singer’s albums - “Conatus” and “Taiga” - have reached the top 10 on the US Billboard Heatseekers chart, and won Zola Jesus ever-increasing industry attention.
Zola Jesus has played extensively throughout the US at various venues as well as festivals such as SXSW. The singer has also toured Europe as a supporting artist for Fever Ray and the xx.
A philosophy student, Zola Jesus has explained that the inspiration for her unique musical style comes from the philosophical concept of Situationism, which encourages artists to live their art. Equal parts performance theatre and musical artistry, Zola Jesus’ style has been compared to Florence Welch, Kate Bush and Joy Division.