The Bulgarian-born New York City based singer-songwriter isn’t afraid of starting anew. During the early 90s, in hardship of post-Communist Eastern Europe, Bulgaria underwent extreme financial collapse and so Ruth’s father, who is an Olympian and twice World weightlifting champion left for the Far East to seek new opportunities.
Little did she know while taking in the colorful sights and sounds of India, Thailand and Bahrain, she was growing up without a mother and separated from her twin brother, that music would later become her oxygen.
Her rebellious personality and bourbon-like voice helped her rise to stardom back in her homeland and while steadily working to hone her raw musical gifts, she developed into a genre-defying powerhouse artist, effortlessly channeling soul, drum and bass, R&B and indie-pop influences.
In just a few years, Koleva has become a national Bulgarian treasure and continues to expand her fan base internationally. She has shared the stage with legends like jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin, enigmatic trip hop icon Tricky, dub legend Mad Professor, wooed kindred spirits like N’Dambi and Frank McComb and performed five sold-out concerts at Bulgaria Hall with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra.
Released in 2018, Koleva’s previous album Confidence.Truth offered fans a deeply personal collection of songs influenced by Ruth’s connection to soul and jazz. It was produced by one of LA’s finest, Kan Wakan and bolstered by a tight band of musicians including Ron Avant (The Free Nationals/Anderson Paak) and Jameel Bruner (Thundercat, and formerly of The Internet), Gene Coye (Flying Lotus) and the full orchestra of Sofia Philharmonic.
Ruth never gave up on her dream of pursuing her music career in the United States and after overcoming incredible obstacles in obtaining the proper work visa she landed in the Big Apple Fall 2019. As plans for the release of her forthcoming album were underway, the pandemic struck. Rather than cower in the face of uncertainty, Ruth decided to activate her resilience and focus on affecting positive change by raising awareness to causes she champions such as LGBTQ+ rights, equality for all, domestic violence and mental illness.
So much of her success has been celebrated, but what shaped her and is most meaningful are not the awards and accolades. These days she’s more focused on “what lies in the shadows, rather than in the spotlight”.