bio  live Performance history   •   career  •   recordings  •   style   •  music 4 KIDS


ZOLA is a Billboard® award winning songwriter whose songs are recognized in many categories including, jazz, blues, pop, country, contemporary~folk and cabaret.   This versatile singer~pianist has recorded six solo albums of original material, varying in style and genre, that also include baby lullabies and children’s music.   She has performed with general business bands and as a solo artist  overseas and locally, making her singer~songwriter USA debut in 1997 at Boston’s  Scullers Jazz Club. 


ZOLA, born in Cape Town, South Africa,  apparently began singing long before she could talk. She started composing songs at the piano at a very young age and by the time she was a teenager,  she had already had a number of her songs published.   Being the daughter of a world renowned Broadway actress/singer/comedienne, Chayela Rosenthal, ZOLA’s introduction to the arts came about at a very young age.  Her love of musical theater came naturally, as did her gifted talents as a singer and her ability to act.  By age three she was already the favorite child star in the open air summer stage shows.  At age nine, ZOLA was singing and dancing in local community variety shows with “The Tripple Ripple” - a singing trio she formed with her two best buddies!   She continued on to play the lead role in her school  plays.    Growing up, ZOLA saw every musical movie, or theatrical production that she could, after which she would race home, humming the theme songs in her head, and run to the piano where her little fingers would effortlessly bring those melodies out to play.   While greatly inspired by Broadway musicals, film scores and instrumentals,  ZOLA’s early, yet major, musical influences also included Barbara Streisand, The Carpenters, The Beatles, Sting and the legendary jazz greats.


In her college years, while singing with leading general business bands, ZOLA wrote and performed “First Dance” wedding songs for herself and a few close friends.   She then moved on to voiceovers, commercials, contract work for hire, songs for film, and privately commissioned  songwriting projects. 


Today, in between her Creative Arts teaching program and entertaining young children, ZOLA  continues to write, record and perform  - all with equal passion and love.



  Live performance history


      Scullers Jazz Club (Cambridge, MA)                                              Middle East Café (Cambridge, MA)

The Attic @ Union Street  (Newton, MA)                                             Blacksmith house (Boston, MA)

The Centre for Arts in Natick (MA)                                                       Boston Songwriter’s Showcase

Cambridge Center for Adult Education (MA)                                              Club Passim  (Cambridge,MA)

Amazing Things Arts Center (Natick, MA)                                                         Club 3 (Somerville, MA)       


Baxter Theatre  (Cape Town, South Africa)

Nico Malan Theatre (Cape Town, South Africa)

Sea Point Civic Centre (Cape Town, South Africa)

Wedding venues - part-time lead vocalist with Cape Town’s leading “general business bands”




  music education, career & membership

ZOLA’s formal musical education began with a few piano lessons and the graduation from a ten-year program with the Gertrude Haas Performance School of Music (South Africa).    Starting in her teens, ZOLA did voiceovers, wrote and performed jingles at the South African Broadcasting Company and by age 18, had had a number of her songs signed to Segal Publications Publishing House.   In 1981, she opened her own Creative Arts School and began teaching, performance coaching, writing and directing children’s musical theatre and entertaining at special events.  


ZOLA moved to USA in 1986 where her commercial work and performances continued.  Further  music education includes credits for completing various Songwriting and Performance Courses at Berklee College of Music and the Cambridge Centre for Adult Education (Boston, MA).     She has enjoyed the tuition and private consultations with #1 Hit songwriters including Beth Nielsen Chapman, Jason Blume, John Ims, Phil Galdston, Jerry Vandiver, Angela Kasset ….and has attended workshops with legendary music business professionals including Ralph Murphy and John Braheny.   In 1985, ZOLA became Showcase Director for The Boston Songwriters Workshop  and was later hired to host and co-write PLAYSHOPS, a children’s video series developed by Magic Books Video.


Since 1994, ZOLA is the recipient of over a dozen Billboard® Songwriting awards.    She is a member of  BMI, SGA (Songwriting Guild of America), BACA (Boston Association of Cabaret Artists) and Jazzboston.


In 2007 Zola was hired by Hollywood's David Franco International Productions to write songs for  "The Dancing Pumpkin", a Children's DVD/Film released by Silver Hammer Studios.



performance  &  style


ZOLA’s  award winning songs have been recognized in many categories including, jazz, blues, pop and country.  Her gifted talents as a singer-songwriter are clearly reflected in her pure voice, rich melodies, interesting arrangements and honest lyrics.  With her crystal clear vocals, ZOLA fills every song with the passion, playfulness and honesty as true as her soul.  With natural skill ZOLA creates a unique blend of musical styles that take you on a journey reminiscent of Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Carole King, Dolly Parton, Karen Carpenter,  yet ultimately resulting in a dynamic performance that is all her own.  




In 1995, ZOLA recorded “Letting Go”, her first solo album of adult contemporary songs.   In 1997, ZOLA made her debut as a jazz artist at Boston’s renowned jazz club, Scullers.  This was followed by the release of “On the Blue Side – Zola sings the Jon Seiff songbook” (2001) - then her self titled CD, “Zola” (2002).    ZOLA  is also featured on  a number of “BSW Songwriter” compilation  CD’s and on Boston Sings Out”,  a jazz recording project with the Frank Wilkins Trio, produced by Magnetic Records.  Her latest CD, “Here With You”, recorded at Dreamworld Productions studio, was released in October 2006 with a sold out show at Scullers jazz Club, Boston.


music for children


Besides her love of music, dogs, sunshine, mountains & ocean (scenery from childhood) ZOLA also adores children.  Since the age of eighteen, ZOLA has been working with children (in between writing and performing). She writes, produces and directs children’s musicals and teaches music and drama classes in creative arts programs.   ZOLA also entertains at children’s parties, bar-mitzvah’s and fund-raisers and was named “one of the best” entertainers by the Boston Parents Paper.  She has written, arranged,  recorded and licensed music for children's film and has released a number of albums featuring her original children's songs under the Jollypop Productions Label.  Visit www.zolasongs.com  for more info!