Bulgaria. Breeding ground for music talent. News to you?Well that’s because Ruth Koleva is a different breed of artist. Born into a volatile world of corruption and hardship in post- Communist Eastern Europe, she endured a difficult childhood largely spent without her mother, found salvation in the classics (Marvin Gaye, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole) and became ‘tour-hardened’ by jaunts to far-flung destinations such as India and Thailand in the company of her Olympian father (a weightlifting trainer). From there, Koleva quickly developed into a rounded musician, spending an eye-opening year at the Hollywood Pop Academy and embarking on free-spirited excursions into several local scenes including soul, hip hop and the more ephemeral but nonetheless popular bass movement. All this before the age of 18.More recently, Koleva has become an ambassador for the best of Bulgaria – the youngest recipient of GRAZIA’s Woman of the Year award and Best Female Singer award at 2012’s BG Radio Awards, no less – sharing the stage with imperious jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin, reaching the finals of TV show Music Idol, recording her highly acclaimed ‘warm-up album’ (Within Whispers) and garnering praise from a kindred spirit, N’Dambi. So where next for someone who has achieved so much in such a short period? The stars, of course. “I want to tour and collaborate far and wide – western Europe, the US, Asia – walking my own path and finding my own sound,” says Koleva.
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