|Birth name||Maria Ilieva (Мария Илиева)|
|Born||1 December 1977|
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Maria Ilieva was born in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, in a family of musicians. Her mother, Vanya Moneva, is the choir-master of the Cosmic Voices from Bulgaria choir and her father, Krasimir Iliev, is the conductor of Sofia Wind Orchestra. Trained pianist since the age of five, she developed her vocal skills as a member of the “Petko Stainov” Choir Academy.
Ilieva graduated from the Sofia High School of Mathematics. She proceeded to receive a master's degree in Insurance and a master's degree in International Relations. Her career as a performing vocal artist started in the late 1990 lead vocalist of the Kaffe Band – best known abroad for representing Bulgaria at the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest .
Moon Dream (2001)
The launch of Maria Ilieva's solo career is marked by the release of her first single "Moon Dream" in the summer of 2001. The album (also titled Moon Dream) was duly released later on in the year, having been described by a Bulgarian website as a phenomenon in BG pop music. Singles released from the album ("Moon Dream", "Nothing") have gone straight to No.1 in all leading Bulgarian radio and television pop charts, while "Alright" (produced in collaboration with the avant-garde soul-funk band TE), shot to fame by staying on the top of Bulgarian Top 100 chart for an unprecedented 13 successive weeks.
Stereo Room (2002)
Ilieva's next project, Stereo Room, included remixes by Bulgarian DJs. The single "Stereo room" was the first completely animated Bulgarian music video produced.
I Come To You (2007)
After establishing her own record label "MI Productions" in 2003, Maria Ilieva worked in collaboration with Bulgarian and American musicians, songwriters and producers to record her album I Come To You, including:
- "What Does It Take" – first single released in English /video produced in Los Angeles, USA/, went straight to No.1 as a new entry on MM TV’s TOP 20;
- "You Come To Me" – Ilieva's first ballad single;
- "Born for Love" – duet single with Bulgarian male vocalist/composer Graffa, whose video went to No.6 on MTV Europe’s World Chart Express;
- "Off the Record" – Ilieva's first collaboration with a hip-hop artist – Knas /Knas&Bacardi/ – 3 weeks at No.1 – Out of 5 chart of Bulgarian national television;
- "Past" – a single that has gone to No.1 on "BG Radio's TOP 20" chart and stayed there for 5 weeks;
- "On My Own" – a single dedicated to the fight against human trafficking and forced prostitution. Official world premiere – 24 March 2007, at The stars of Europe concert, dedicated to the 50th anniversary of EU, broadcast on 56 national TV stations worldwide;
- "Words" – went straight to No.1 on MM TV's TOP 20 three weeks after its release. Premiered on MTV Europe on 24.11.07.
“Truly", the pilot single from Maria's upcoming album, is a vocal house duet song with the American DJ/songwriter/producer Keith Thompson, best known for his remarkable collaboration "Break 4 Love" with David Vendetta. The Bassmonkeys’ remix of "Truly" topped BG Radio's weekly Top 20 chart and remained at No1 for six consecutive weeks, a precedent in the chart's history, and won the Best Duet Award at the ceremony in 2010. "Truly" also won the Best SEE Pop Song at the SEEME Awards in 2010. A phenomenal success for the single was its reaching the top position at the number 1 Australian dance radio station ZFM's chart. It was also rotated on the most popular online Argentinean radio station SonicFM.
I Like (2010)
“I Like", Maria's following hit single, reached the No. 1 positions in all the national music charts. It stayed at No. 1 at Eurochannel's Prime Time Top 10 chart for three consecutive months.
O Primeiro Grande Amor – a duet with Tony Carreira
In 2012 at the Top of the Top festival in Poland Maria Ilieva met Tony Carreira, a multi platinum Portuguese singer-songwriter who later invited her to record a duet for his upcoming album "Essencial" orchestrated by the London Symphonic Orchestra. "O Primeiro Grande Amor" (The first big love) is recorded in studio Guillaume Tell in Paris, and the album became four times platinum within three months of its release.
2013 – "Wanna Be The Best", "Igraya stilno", "Uslovie #1"
In 2013 Maria released three singles, two in collaboration and one solo. "Wanna Be The Best" by KNAS and the Swedish hip-hop artist Bacardy featuring Maria Ilieva took over the clubs in Bulgaria and quickly turns into a summer hit. "Igraya stilno" (Playing with style), Maria's long anticipated solo single carries the singer's unique vibe and style. A remix by the Bulgarian musician/composer Dexter turned into a massive club hit. Maria's next project, the reggae hit "Uslovie #1" (Rule #1) took Maria's fans to a whole new experience. The song is a duet with Zafayah, part of the best Eastern European reggae band Roots Rocket.
"Vidimo dovolni" – a duet with Krisko
In 2014 Maria records a duet with the hottest hip-hop artist / beatmaker in the country – Krisko. Their song "Vidimo dovolni" is the most rotated song for 2014 and the biggest Bulgarian internet hit of all times with over 18 million views on YouTube (as of March 2016).
The X Factor
Maria Ilieva is a judge on the first, second and third seasons of X factor (Bulgaria). In 2011 she mentors the "Females" category with contestants Mihaela Fileva, Margarita Aleksieva – Mey, and Stela Petrova. In 2013 Maria's team was the "Groups" – Gloria and Yanitsa Vasilevi, Lollipop, Aleks and Vladi Dimitrovi and The New Way. Maria's team in 2014 – the "Males" was the winning one with Miryan Kostadinov, Stanimir Marinov, Sabatin Gogov, Trayan Kostov and the winner Slavin Slavchev.
Stereo Room – the record label
In 2007 Maria Ilieva founded her new label to promote young Bulgarian talent called "Stereo Room". This record label aims at producing and promoting young talented singers from Bulgaria. Special auditions took place in the beginning of 2008 and the first artist – Krista – was selected. Her debut single, "Tova, koeto iskash", went straight to No. 1 at all the national music charts and reached No. 2 on MTV Europe’s World Chart Express. The second artist produced by Stereo Room is B.O.Y.A.N. and his first single's ("It's Over") video premiere is on MAD TV on 9 February 2009. Other of the label's signed artists include "Imam", "Za teb", "Silna lyubov" (feat. Spens) and "Incomplete" – Krista; "Pop Trash", "Teen Life" – MONA; "Komplimenti" – KNAS feat. B.O.Y.A.N. Stereo Room is currently working with hip-hop sensation and teen idol Atanas Kolev.
Billed as a top star at all established regional music festivals, Maria has performed alongside such greats as Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), Simply Red, the Scorpions, Lou Bega, Zucchero, Gipsy Kings, James Arthur, Tony Carreira and others, and has been opening for artists such as George Michael, Simple Minds, Dannii Minogue, Atomic Kitten, Garaj Mahal.
Maria is a headliner at some of the most prestigious music festivals in South-East Europe, such as Apolonia, Bansko Jazz Fest, Music Jam, etc. and has had a number of concert and gig tours across Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Serbia, Romania, Macedonia, UK, USA.
In 2007 she was invited to represent Bulgaria as the only Eastern European artist in the Stars of Europe concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the European Union in Brussels. The event was broadcast to nearly half a billion viewers all over the world.
Since 2008 Maria has toured the country with symphonic orchestras. This unique collaboration was perceived extremely well among the audience and media.
In 2011 Maria commemorated 10 years since the beginning of her solo career with a national tour. The final concert in Sofia took place on the largest scene ever built in Bulgaria for a Bulgarian music artist and was labelled a performance of highest class.
In August 2012 she was invited to represent Bulgaria at the Top of The Top Festival in Sopot, Poland, which brought together the biggest stars of 16 European countries.
In March 2015 Maria performed at the most technologically advanced hall on the Balkans – Sofia Event Center. The concert was highly praised by fans and critics.
Forbes Bulgaria ranked Maria Ilieva as the most influential female celebrity for 2013, 2014 and 2015. Her music and style awards include:
- Best collaboration – "Taka da e" (with Atanas Kolev) – 359 Hip-Hop Awards
- Best song – "Vidimo dovolni" (with Krisko) – BG Radio Music Awards
- Best song – “Vidimo dovolni” (with Krisko) – 359 Hip-Hop Awards
- Best collaboration – “Vidimo dovolni” (with Krisko) – 359 Hip-Hop Awards
- Most rotated song on The Voice TV channel – “Vidimo dovolni” (with Krisko) – a special award from The Voice TV, 359 Hip-Hop Awards
- Most liked, commented and shared video on Vbox7 – “Vidimo dovolni” (with Krisko) – a special award from Vbox7, 359 Hip-Hop Awards
- Best Lyrics(Igraya Stilno)- BG Radio Music Awards
- Most Stylish Woman – Grazia Magazine Awards
- Best Female Artist – MM TV Music Awards
- Most Stylish Woman Award – Bravo FM Group
- Best Album ("I Come To You"/M.I.Productions) – MM TV Awards
- Most Stylish Singer as announced by Elle Magazine
- Golden Pen Award – for a Special Contribution to Bulgarian Culture – Classic FM Radio/MAKTA
- Best Female Artist – BG Radio Music Awards
- Woman of the Year – Grazia Magazine/Avon Awards
- Best Female Artist Award – BG Radio Music Awards
- Best Style Award – Bravo FM Group
- Best Female Artist – Melo TV Mania, BNT
- Best website of the year – International Media Festival Albena
- Best Hairstyle – Pantene Beauty Awards
- Best Female Artist – BG Radio Music Awards
- Best Female Artist – MM TV Awards
- Best Female Artist – Rhythm Magazine Awards
- Best Video Award (Nishto) – Rhythm Magazine Awards Най-добра изпълнителка – BG Radio Music Awards
- Best Debut – Melo TV Mania, Bulgarian National Television
- Best Debut – MM TV Awards
- Best Video (Moon Dream) – BG Radio Music Awards
- Best Video (Moon Dream) – Forte Top 100 Awards, Bulgarian National Television
- Best Female Artist – BG Radio Music Awards
- Best Female Artist – Forte Top 100, Bulgarian National Television
Maria Ilieva is also an accomplished actress, appearing in such Hollywood based films like:
- Inside Out – Bulgarian voice over of main character Joy in the award winning Disney/Pixar 2015 box office buster
- "Sofia Residents in Excess" (Bulgarian: Столичани в повече) – the most successful and longest running Bulgarian dramedy, a Dream Team production
- “Sutreshen blok” (The Morning Show) – a sitcom starring Bulgarian comedy actor Todor Kolev, an Old School Production
- 2005 – “Undisputed 2"- A Millennium Films / Nu Image Production
- 2005 – "Submerged" – A Millennium Films / Nu Image Production
- 2004 – "Locust"- A UFO Production
- 2004 – "The Mechanik" (aka "The Russian Specialist") – A Millennium Films / Nu Image Production
•2002 – "Emigrants" – A Boyana Cinema Production
Apart from her music career, Maria Ilieva has been dedicated to a number of important social engagements and causes, such as:
- 2005–present – Official Spokesperson for the Avon Cosmetics’ Campaign Against Breast Cancer, a part of the global initiative for breast cancer awareness and prevention
- 2012–present – Official Spokesperson for Teach For Bulgaria foundation facilitating equal access to education for every Bulgarian child
- 2008–present – Spokesperson for ICanToo foundation's campaign to help us raising funds for the needs of children with disabilities
- 2007 – Ambassador of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All
- 2006 – 2007 – Official Spokesperson for Face to Face Foundation's Campaign Against Human Trafficking and Forced Prostitution
- 2006 – Official Spokesperson for Standard daily newspaper Fund-raiser Initiative for Talented Children
Brand ambassador / spokesperson
• 2013 – 2014 – Official Mtel Brand Ambassador and celebrity spokesperson • 2013 – Official Avon Sensuelle Brand Ambassador and celebrity spokesperson • 2009 – 2010 – Official KitKat Senses Brand Ambassador and celebrity spokesperson • 2008 – 2009 – Official Société Générale Expressbank Brand Ambassador and celebrity spokesperson • 2006 – 2007 – Official spokesperson for BMW • 2005 – 2007 – Official celebrity spokesperson for Haute Couture designer NEVENA • 2003 – 2005 – Official Pantene Pro-V Brand Ambassador and celebrity Spokesperson
- ”Rhythm” magazine Archived 23 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, February 2002
- "Maria Ilieva at music.dir.bg". Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- „BG Radio Awards 2010“, BG Radio, 26 April 2010.
- „Maria Ilieva won a Best Song award“, BLife, 20 September 2010
- „Maria Ilieva is number 1 in Australia“, Slusham.com, 15 December 2009.
- „Maria Ilieva stays on top“, Hello
- "Vidimo Dovolni“, YouTube