“I’m usually only moved by extremes,” says Nika Roza Danilova. “That’s what Zola Jesus is.” Indeed, Danivola’s musical endeavor is one of alternating forces: On one hand, her vocal range swells in an almost operatic fashion, but the orchestration she chooses isn’t stuffy by any means. Over the course of three albums and three EPs in just three years, Zola Jesus has homed in on an industrial-goth pop sound that soars with brooding emotion. That depth of feeling is clearly evident during her performance of “Vessel” for In My Room, an intimate video series presented by Hive and Yours Truly.
In the second video, “Hikikomori,” she applies her opera roots to her brooding rock sound. Throughout her life, Danilova has found escape through music, from her early childhood when she discovered singing, to her teens, when she took an almost academic approach to studying classical voice. She eventually abandoned her opera studies because she found the technique too stifling. But her strong voice and inherent sense of drama hints at her classical training on the funk-space composition. Watching her is watching someone lose their surroundings, surrendering to sound. Try not to get lost when she stares directly into the camera.
Check back all week for more In My Room featuring Zola Jesus, araabMUZIK and Grimes.