Sunday, 22 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Bulgaria

Sofiya Marinova Kamenova, better known as Sofi Marinova (December 5 1975) is a Bulgarian pop-folk and ethno-pop singer of Romani heritage who is also known as the Romani pearl and the Romani nightingale. She is one of the most popular singers in Bulgaria, famed for her extreme five-octave vocal range. She has won multiple music awards and contests.

Sofi Marinova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She showed musical and dancing talent at the age of two and was tutored in singing and dancing by her mother. At school Sofi fell for acting, appearing in school musicals such as Snow White. At the age of 15 a local band offered her the position of lead singer.

At 17 Sofi began to sing at weddings and christenings. Her repertoire included songs of Dragana Mirkovic, Michael Jackson, Sandra, Whitney Houston as well as Romani music. Around this time she and the band took part in a music competition in the village of Osikovitsa near Sofia. She won the singers event and the admirations of the jury.

Sofi Marinova was introduced to the big stage by Nencho Kasamov, president of the record company ARA Music, after he saw her performing in a restaurant. Sofi and her band recorded for ARA the album Stari Rani, which is believed to be one of the best-selling music albums in Bulgaria of all time. During her career Sofi released 19 very successful albums. In some of her most successful songs Sofi cooperated with the Bulgarian hip-hop singer Ustata.

Sofi Marinova was chosen to represent Bulgaria in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with the song Love Unlimited. She won the National final, which was held on February 29, receiving a total of 20 points - the maximum 12 points from the public and 8 points from the jury. She was one of the favourites to win after coming second in the public vote in the semifinals. The song Love Unlimited was written by Yassen Kotsev and Krum Georgiev. The song is in Bulgarian but contains the phrase I love you in Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Serbo-Croat, French, Romani, English, Azerbaijani and Italian. The song is characterised by the typical Romani glides, vocal power and Techno musical arrangement.

This was Sofi's third appearance in the Bulgarian pre-selection for Eurovision. In 2005, her collaboration with Slavi Trifonov, Edinstveni, finished second. They tried again in 2006 with the song Ljubovta E Otrova, but fell out in the qualifications. In 2007, her collaboration with Ustata, Ya Tvoya, finished third in the National final.

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