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The voice of Zola Jesus (née Nika Roza Danilova) has gone through something of a circular evolution. Danilova was raised as an opera singer before rejecting her classical training in favor of atmospherically dark, often face-meltingly intense experimental music. On last year's Stridulum EP, and then on this year’s fantastic Conatus, Zola Jesus' has bloomed into an avant-garde pop artist whose sound is uniquely her own. Refinery29 was lucky enough to catch Nika in L.A. Along the way we asked about her good-luck charm, evolving style, and that black goop on the Stridulum album cover (hint: it’s more delicious than you might think).
Photographed by Clarke Tolton