Sofi Marinova

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Sofi Marinova
Софи Маринова
Sofi Marinova after winning the Bulgarian Eurovision 2012 National Final
Sofi Marinova after winning the Bulgarian Eurovision 2012 National Final
Background information
Birth nameSofiya Marinova Kamenova
Born (1975-12-05) 5 December 1975 (age 47)
Sofia, Bulgaria
GenresPop-folk, ethno-pop, dance
Years active1992–present
LabelsARA Audio-Video, Sunny Music

Sofiya "Sofi" Marinova Kamenova (Bulgarian: София "Софи" Маринова Каменова, pronounced [soˈfi maˈrinova] is a Bulgarian Romani pop-folk and ethno-pop singer. She has won multiple music awards and contests.[1] She is often called "the Romani pearl" and "the Romani nightingale". In February 2012, she won the Bulgarian Eurovision national final with the song "Love Unlimited", thus becoming the representative of Bulgaria in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan.


Sofi Marinova was born on December 5, 1975 in Sofia, Bulgaria, although her family was living near Etropole at the time.[2] She showed musical and dancing talent at the age of two and was tutored in singing and dancing by her mother. In primary school, Marinova was an excellent pupil.[2] She spent a year at a professional builders' school. After 8th grade she moved to a professional school for tailors, though years later she admitted she never liked sewing. While at school, Marinova fell for acting, appearing in school musicals such as Snow White. When she was in 10th grade, a local band offered her the position of lead singer. Her father didn't allow it at first but relented after the insistence of her mother: "I started crying and my mother supported me, because when she married my father she put an end to her singing career".[3]

At age 17, Marinova began singing 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, chaired by the famous Romani-Bulgarian musician Angelo Malikov. At the competition she also met Petar, a drummer, who later became the father of her only child, Lorenzo. After Osikovitsa, Marinova won the Grand prize at the Stara Zagora festival with her songs "Stari Rani" (Old wounds) and "Slanchitse moe" (My Little Sun).

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. Kasamov invited her to record for ARA, because he sensed the future music star in her "by the look in her eyes." Marinova 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.

In 2004, Marinova signed with Sunny Music, working with the producer Krum Krumov. She recorded the albums 5 oktavi ljubov and Obicham. Her cooperation with the Bulgarian hip-hop singer Ustata resulted in some of her most successful songs. In that period she also recorded a Romani cover of "Vetrove" by Lili Ivanova, Bulgaria's most established music artist. The compilation "Sofi Marinova Best MP3 Collection" consisting of her 64 most popular songs from her Sunny Music period, was released in 2009. She stated that she was "happy that my project was accomplished and I hope my fans accept it as a gift for their loyalty and love for me for so many years."[4]

On March 28, as part of the pre-celebrations for the International Romani Day, Sofi Marinova sang Romani songs and her Eurovision song "Love Unlimited" in front of MEPs and official guests in the building of the European Parliament in Brussels. She was invited there by the MEPs from Bulgaria.[5][6]

Philanthropy and charity work[edit]

In 2008, Marinova and Ustata joined a campaign against human trafficking, for which they recorded Chuzhdi ustni (A Stranger's Lips).[7] Both of them travelled around Bulgaria and met with youths in the risk groups for becoming victims of human trafficking.[8] In 2010 Marinova was appointed ambassador against poverty and social isolation.[9][10] Her tasks include raising awareness about the issues, taking part in various activities and sharing her own experience. On her appointment she told the journalists: "I think I can be useful to the campaign. In addition I myself come from a poor family and I'm aware of the concerns of poor and underprivileged people."[10]

Personal life[edit]

Marinova has one son, Lorenzo, with whom she has done some collaboration single with.[11] She was married once (to Lorenzo's father Peter). She then had a long-term relationship with Dacho, who is Peter's eldest son.[12] They tried to marry two times, but they didn't and finally broke up in 2010.[13] She is well known for her honest and direct answers to media's questions in interviews.

Eurovision Song Contest[edit]

Sofi Marinova performing at the Eurovision National Final in Bulgaria at National Palace of Culture, Sofia.

Sofi Marinova was chosen to represent Bulgaria in the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku in May 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.[14] The song "Love Unlimited" was written by Yassen Kotsev and Krum Georgiev. Its lyrics talk about the transcending and all-embracing power of love ("The song has no borders, language and colour").[15]) 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.[16] Marinova performed in the first half of the second semifinal on May 24 and narrowly missed out on qualifying for the grand final, finishing 11th place and scoring the same number of points as Norway who got through in 10th place.

This was Marinova's third appearance in the Bulgarian national finals for Eurovision. In 2005, her collaboration with Slavi Trifonov "Edinstveni" ("Only Ones") finished second.[17] They tried again the following year with the song "Ljubovta e otrova" ("Love Is a Poison"), but fell out in the qualifications after taking 25th place, one place short of the semi-final.[18] In 2007, her collaboration with Ustata, "Ya Tvoya" ("I'm yours" in Russian), finished third in the National final.[19]


Solo albums[20]

Year Cyrillic Transliteration Translation Label
1997 Единствен мой Edinstven moy My one and only Ara Audio-Video
1999 Моят сън Moyat san My dream Ara Audio-Video
2000 Студен пламък Studen plamak Cold flame Ara Audio-Video
2001 Нежна е нощта Nezhna e noshta Tender is the night Ara Audio-Video
2002 Осъдена любов Osadena lyubov Condemned love Ara Audio-Video
2004 5 октави любов 5 oktavi lyubov 5 octaves of love Sunny Music
2005 Обичам Obicham I love Sunny Music
2006 Остани Ostani Stay Sunny Music
2008 Време спри Vreme spri Time, stop Sunny Music
2009 VIP-ът Vipat The VIP Sunny Music
2013 Софи Маринова 2013 Sofi Marinova 2013 Sofi Marinova 2013 Sunny Music

Albums with the band Super Express[20]

Year Cyrillic Transliteration Translation Label
1995* Мечта Mechta A dream Magic Music
1996* Без конкуренция Bez konkurentsia No competition Ara Audio-Video
1997 Стари рани Stari rani Old wounds Ara Audio-Video
1999* Песни от сърце /
Гиля таровило
Pesni ot sartse /
Gilya tarovilo
Songs from the heart Ara Audio-Video

.* — Romani language albums


Year Title Label Notes
2003 Best 1 Ara Audio-Video 17 ballads[21]
2003 Best 2 Ara Audio-Video 18 dance songs[21]
2005 Hitove (Хитове) Ara Audio-Video 18 songs[22]
2007 Golden Hits Ara Audio-Video 71 songs in MP3 format[23]
2010 MP3 Best Collection Sunny Music 64 songs in MP3 format[24]

The MP3 album Golden Hits contains all the songs from Sofi Marinova's first five solo albums plus some songs from her albums with Super Express and a few other songs.


  1. ^ "A Biography of Sofi Marinova" (in Bulgarian). Archived from the original on 2012-02-10.
  2. ^ a b Interview (in Bulgarian). 18 December 2009.
  3. ^ "Biography of Sofi Marinova (In Bulgarian)". Archived from the original on 2012-07-13.
  4. ^ "Biography of Sofi Marinova (In Bulgarian)". Archived from the original on 2015-07-06.
  5. ^ Bulgaria: Sofi performs in the European Parliament Archived 2012-04-05 at the Wayback Machine. 2 April 2012.
  6. ^ Bulgaria: Sofi Marinova gets into the European Parliament! Archived 2012-07-31 at 2 April 2012.
  7. ^ "СОФИ МАРИНОВА И УСТАТА ОТНОВО С ПЕСЕН СРЕЩУ ТРАФИКА НА ХОРА (In Bulgarian)". Facetoface. Archived from the original on 2012-06-29.
  8. ^ "Устата и Софи Маринова в кампания срещу трафика на хора (In Bulgarian)". Vsekiden. 3 June 2008. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
  9. ^ Ambassadors of the European Year - Sofi Marinova. 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.
  10. ^ a b "Софи Маринова стана посланик в България на кампания срещу бедността (In Bulgarian)". SunnyMusic. 2010-03-30. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02.
  11. ^ "Софи Маринова запя с 5-годишния си син (In Bulgarian)". 2008-01-31.
  12. ^ "Софи Маринова: Искам да ме изплющи някой як мъжага! (In Bulgarian)". 2011-10-30. Archived from the original on 2012-01-02.
  13. ^ "Софи Маринова: С Дачо не сме заедно от август (In Bulgarian)". Bliasak. 2010-11-18.
  14. ^ 12 finalists for Eurovision Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Results from the national semi-final 2012 Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine. 14 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Love Unlimited-lyrics". Diggiloo Thrush. 9 March 2012.
  16. ^ "Софи Маринова ще ни представи на "Евровизия" (In Bulgarian)". 1 March 2012.
  17. ^ "SMS война изпраща Каффе на Евровизия (In Bulgarian)". 13 February 2005.
  18. ^ "Отрязаха Слави Трифонов от Евровизия (In Bulgarian)". 3 February 2006.
  19. ^ "Елица Тодорова и Стоян Янкулов ще ни представят в Хелзинки (In Bulgarian)". 25 February 2007.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ a b c Discography Archived 2012-03-12 at the Wayback Machine (in Bulgarian).
  21. ^ a b Албумите Best I and Best II in Ara Audio-Video's catalogue: [35 songs are divided into two discs,] one with 17 ballads, the other with 18 dance songs
  22. ^ The album Hitove in Ara Audio-Video's catalogue
  23. ^ The album Golden Hits in Ara Audio-Video's catalogue
  24. ^ Албумът MP3 Best Collection Archived 2011-03-11 at the Wayback Machine in Sunny Music's catalogue

External links[edit]

Preceded by Bulgaria in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov
with Samo shampioni