Getting to Know Zola Jesus

“Skin” by Zola Jesus is one of our favourite mournful ballads of all time. Not sure who Zola Jesus is? Find out the influences that combine to create this high-fashion songstress, whose fifth album, Taiga, is out today.

Zola Jesus

(Photo: Jeff Elstone)

Enigmatic, otherworldly performer Zola Jesus (née Nika Roza Danilova) contains multitudes. The 25-year-old Wisconsin-bred, Los Angeles–based singer-songwriter—whose breakthrough album, 2011’s Conatus, earned raves from Pitchfork and Spin—draws on eclectic inspirations, many of which can be heard in the epic art-pop anthems on her latest album, Taiga (Mute Records, Oct. 7).

Get to know Ms. Jesus by the sum of her parts

Stevie nicks

(Photo: Rex USA)

30% Stevie Nicks: Flowing cape-shirts, witchy goth-wave aura, sprinkling of unicorn dust—all can be traced back to the godmother of boho pop.

Kate Bush

(Photo: Rex USA)

25% Kate Bush: Taiga showcases Danilova’s mercurial melodies and affinity for the natural world, both of which are in harmony with Bush’s earthy ethos.


(Photo: Getty)

25% Opera: After studying opera for years, Danilova decided she didn’t have the voice for it, but her songs still possess the emotional heft and soaring power of arias.

Ace Of Base

(Photo: Rex USA)

25% Ace Of Base: A true child of the ’90s, Danilova is still enamoured of the decade’s cheese-synth production. (See also: Aguilera, Christina; Spears, Britney.)

Bikini Kill

(Photo: Getty)

10% Bikini Kill: Danilova said she was inspired by the punk rockers’ take-no-prisoners attitude and social conscience.