In Memoriam: SOPHIE

A dedication to the legendary SOPHIE who has sadly passed away

Leo Dawson
30th January 2021
The Grammy-nominated pioneer of experimental and avant-pop sadly passed away on January 30th in Athens, leaving behind a legacy of incomparable production and a legendary influence on pop music.

34 year-old Sophie Xeon has been remembered by her most frequent collaborators and close friends, with artist Shygirl calling the Glasgow-born star “a friend I’ve never not been in awe of.”

SOPHIE’s work alongside A.G. Cook and the PC Music label brought a brand new sound to the industry, working with the likes of Charli XCX, Madonna and SONIKKU. Her debut album OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES featured the effervescent ‘Immaterial’, acclaimed by NME for “the rare feat of making abstract, difficult electronic music that hits you straight in the heart.”

SOPHIE’s ‘hyperkinetic’ sound and twinkling accented vocals were the staple of both her collaborative tracks and standalone projects, a perfect storm of metallic synth and deeply intimate lyrics. Far from the musical norm, her ground-breaking discography is a testament to an unwavering devotion to her craft, co-writing and producing some of the most exciting new music with the most exciting new artists since 2013.

Despite remaining elusive for most of her career, originally credited anonymously on her very own EP, SOPHIE was heralded as a trans icon of music with the release of the “It’s Okay To Cry” music video. In an interview with PAPER, SOPHIE defined her transness as “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.” She remains a boundless influence on fellow queer artists such as Rina Sawayama and Shamir Bailey.

On the GRAMMYs red carpet back in 2019, SOPHIE said that she was honoured to represent her legion of fans and hoped her nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album would bring greater awareness to her work. It is even more important now to acknowledge SOPHIE’s impact on the industry, an often unpraised staple of queer music that slipped under the radar of many. Encouraging burgeoning talent into more experimental and unique realms of sound, her guidance allowed herself and other artists to flourish. As Christine and the Queens said this morning, “cherish the pioneers.”

Rest in peace, SOPHIE.

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