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Zola Jesus On World Cafe

Zola Jesus.  (Courtesy of the artist)closemore
Zola Jesus. (Courtesy of the artist)

Nika Roza Danilova, known on stage as Zola Jesus, has crafted an experimental, genre-straddling sound which incorporates Gothic rock, lo-fi acoustic music, orchestral instrumentals, ambient electronic sounds and strong, diva-esque vocals. She's released three full-length studio albums in the span of three years, and each has sounded more purposeful and powerful than the last.

Zola Jesus' latest record, Conatus, marks a new stage in her career. Named for a philosophy of innate drive and determination, Conatus has helped transplant Zola Jesus' electronic experimentalism out of obscurity and into international acclaim. Released last October, it's ferocious, yet also more pop-driven than its predecessors.

In this interview, host David Dye sits down with Zola Jesus to discuss her efforts to break out of her comfort zone — both in habit and in music — as well as her influential childhood in Wisconsin. Zola Jesus and her band also play songs from Conatus and describe the philosophical roots of her moniker.

Copyright NPR 2016.

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