“I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, But I think your inside is your best side.”
Creative visionary SOPHIE passed away in a tragic accidental fall around 4 AM local time on January 30th at home in Athens, Greece according to the statement from her label Transgressive. She was 34 years old.
Fans and artists alike were hit hard with the news as Sophie Xeon’s work has been a source for inspiration and empowerment. SOPHIE was a prominent figure in the electric and dance music scene, and a leading artist in the groundbreaking hyper-pop genre. The Scottish producer has worked under her own label MSMSMSM, and with labels such as Future Classics, Huntley and Palmers, and Transgressive; and has produced for artists from a wide range of genres, including Charli XCX, Vince Staples, FLUME, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, and Madonna.
“There are very few artists who make me feel something up my core and make me wanna cry... I didn’t really have that feeling again until I met Sophie. I felt this rush of: Fuck, this is the coolest shit I have ever heard.”
- Charlie XCX, 2019
During her early producing career SOPHIE remained mainly anonymous. She began DJing in the European club circuit and working with up-and-coming artists. Sophie released a debut single “Nothing More to Say” in February of 2013. Following that, came a string of singles for various collaborations including the dance mix “Bipp” (2013), bubblegum-pop single “Hey QT (2014)”, and breakout commercial hit “Lemonade (2014)”.
With the release of her music video for “It’s Okay to Cry” in October 2017, SOPHIE presented herself to the world. Her soft-spoken singing voice soothes as she appears nude against a backdrop of clouds crescendoing into her unique blends of melodic vocals and instrumentals. The beautiful video was widely considered a coming-out moment for SOPHIE, as she later confirmed her transgender identity. In later interviews she spoke on boxed in labels and conformities; she’s stated music being her “chosen method of communication” and self-expression.
The intimate ballad creates a sonic and lyrically welcoming mood; in a way offering herself and her art as a safe haven for listeners to be themselves, be vulnerable, and be accepted.
"For me, transness is taking control to bring your body more in line with your soul and spirit so the two aren't fighting against each other and struggling to survive."
- SOPHIE, Paper magazine
On June 15th, 2018, SOPHIE’s solo album OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES debuted through her label with an outstanding positive response. Singles ”Ponyboy” and “Faceshopping” lead the album’s transition to industrial-pop style bringing a wall of glitch, electro-dance, and dream-pop scores. With 80s-inspired synths, pitch-shifts, and aggressive yet playful dance beats, the album proves SOPHIE’s ability to push music into the future, defying boundaries of genre and style. It was nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album (2019), making history as the first openly transgender artist to be nominated in this category and the third openly trans woman to earn a Grammy nomination.
"For all the praise that could be heaped on the bulk of Sophie's output, the best that comes to mind is that it sounds like no one else could have made Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides. This is the kind of music that, in 20 years, we may look back on as a pivotal point in changing the trajectory of pop music sound.”
- Peter Boulos of Exclaim!
This will be her only album released during her lifetime.
“Sophie was a stellar producer, a visionary, a reference. She rebelled against the narrow, normative society by being an absolute triumph, both as an artist and as a woman... We need to honor and respect her memory and legacy. Cherish the pioneers.”
- Chris, of Christine and the Queens
SOPHIE will remain an inspirational and empowering individual in the LGBTQ+ community and beyond as her presence and music celebrate her sense of authenticity, non-conformity, and love. This innovative influence shines through all of the incredible art and music she produced throughout her lifetime. Her creativity knew no bounds.
"SOPHIE was a pioneer of a new sound, one of the most influential artists in the last decade. Not only for ingenious production and creativity but also for the message and visibility that was achieved. An icon of liberation."