Zola Jesus: An Intense New Voice


Hear Songs From This Session

"Trust Me"

3 min 5 sec

"Sea Talk"

4 min 55 sec

"Poor Animal"

3 min 54 sec


3 min 0 sec

I was a little late to the game on the Zola Jesus record. A few friends whose musical taste I admire put Stridulum II on their lists of top albums of 2010, so I finally decided I had to check it out. And when I did, singer-songwriter Nika Roza Danilova (aka Zola Jesus) had me at the first wail. Dark yet compelling, Zola Jesus' music seemed to be creating a new gothic sound. I could not wait to have her band perform live on KEXP and, let me tell you, they did not disappoint.

They created a textural soundscape in a moody and chilling set of somber synthpop. The real showstopper here is Danilova's compelling voice, which belies both her small stature and young age. She belted out one powerful song after another. After hearing her, it was no surprise to find out that she studied opera for 10 years, starting when she was just 8. At the start of the set, she sang "Trust Me," and I totally did. From the first note, I was putty in her hands.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.