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Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus is the project of Nika, who crafts dark music dominated by her operatic vocals and keyboards. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Nika showed an interest in singing early on, buying voice lesson tapes and opera sheet music at age seven; soon after, she began working with a vocal coach for the next decade. Anxiety and the competitive nature of opera caused her to stop singing for a couple of years, but missing that form of expression spurred her to begin Zola Jesus. Inspired by high-school favorites like Diamanda Galás, Lydia Lunch, Throbbing Gristle, and Swans, Nika made cathartic home recordings using keyboards, drum machines, and anything else she had on hand. Her first officially released music included a couple of 2008 7"s: the Poor Sons EP on Die Stasi and Soeur Sewer on Sacred Bones.

In 2009, Zola Jesus became one of the most talked and blogged-about underground artists, and her release and touring schedule reflected that: along with the full-length The Spoils, she also released the Tsar Bomba EP on Troubleman, New Amsterdam on Sacred Bones, and an untitled, limited-edition vinyl album and a split release with Burial Hex on Aurora Borealis. For her live band, she recruited her cousin Dead Luke to play synths, bassist Lindsay Mikkola, and drummer Max Elliott. Nika also played in the group Former Ghosts, which featured Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart and Freddy Ruppert. She remained just as busy in 2010, touring with Fever Ray and the xx and releasing the cleaner-sounding Stridulum, Stridulum II, and Valusia EPs.

The following year she collaborated with Prefuse 73 on The Misanthrope Meditation Mix and released her third full-length, Conatus, which found Nika continuing to move away from her lo-fi roots and toward experimental electronic pop. Toward the end of the Conatus tour, Nika was asked to perform at New York's Guggenheim Museum, an event for which she collaborated with Foetus' J.G. Thirlwell, who provided arrangements for the Mivos Quartet. These string-based renditions were captured in 2013's Versions. For her fourth album, 2014's Taiga, Nika moved to Mute Records. Named after the Russian word for "forest," she wrote and recorded the album on Washington State's verdant Vashon Island and mixed it in Los Angeles with longtime collaborator Dean Hurley. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Haunting, sultry, bending in a ethereal sense of disturbing vocals. HOT talent not closely matched. Give us more!!!!!
ttoups7
Can't wait till I can buy Dangerous Days!! Love her voice!! One of my new favorite artists!!!:) : )
lo481
Skins season 6 luv it
lo481
Love it
Chad1364 doesn't know what he's talking about. Nika has talked about the strain and damage she has put on her vocals training operatically and so her voice can certainly sound inferior while she's touring, but I have seen her do a KILLER 15 minute set. And I doubt he had an actual conversation with her, cuz she is a beautiful and pretty open person yet modest imo
teen wolf
chad1364
She is so over rated, played live with some better bands and it was painful to watch. Since I met her in Madison I can honestly say her ego is huge and talent is small. She is also a total sell out playing Cracker Barrel HQ's xmas party and would sell out to anybody!
Her music sounds so pained, so perfectly imperfect, introspectiv e and honest. It's like she's shouting out her inner demons as some sort confessional therapy session that we are so lucky to behold.
more like a darker version of Florence and the Machines
cmarie413
She TOTALLY sounds like Siouxsie Sioux...
i think she has a chance-the next few years will tell.
she says she isn't influenced by siouxie-but she sure sounds like her.but very different.we ' l l see what happens.the banshees and the cure went mainstream no matter what that old battered british(siou x i e ) b * * c h says.she is old and bitter.
diamanda galas-thats pretty funny-but i own galas and lydia lunch records.infl u e n c e d by lady gaga is more like it but lets say romeo void or what everyone else is saying-sioux i e - 1 s t comment-that figures-peop l e on pandora are not the brightest lightbulbs in the super market.besid e s all that-i like her...

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