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The music industry loses a visionary

By Melissa Domingo

Arts Editor

Sophie Xeon, who went by the mononym SOPHIE, tragically died in an accident in Greece. The artist, aged 34, had “climbed up to watch the full moon and accidentally slipped and fell,” as shared by her publicity company, Modern Matters, in a Twitter post.

Artists and fans alike flooded social media with posts sharing condolences and fond memories with the late artist. Many thanked SOPHIE for her passion for music and shared experiences during her career. One of those artists was Charli XCX, whom SOPHIE frequently collaborated with, shared a statement on Twitter: “It’s really hard for me to sum up the special connection I felt with such an amazing person who completely changed my life … But for now, all I can say is that I will miss her terribly.”

Many saw SOPHIE as a pioneer and innovator when it came to producing music; she was experimental and used different mundane objects and sounds to create sonically unique tracks that defied what many believed to be a typical electric pop song. 

SOPHIE was known for her own work, but also the work she has done for artists like Charli XCX, Madonna, and Vince Staples.

SOPHIE was known for understanding how producing music worked and constructing and deconstructing the inner workings of it to make something unique. As shared in a statement by her publicist, 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.”

SOPHIE was also someone who used their platform to amplify trans voices as a transgirl herself. She was very candid about embracing her identity and loving herself. In an interview with PAPER, she said that “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 continued, “On this earth, it’s that you can get closer to how you feel your true essence is without the societal pressures of having to fulfill certain traditional roles based on gender. It means you’re not a mother or a father — you’re an individual who’s looking at the world and feeling the world. And it’s somehow more human and universal, I feel.”

The late artist’s debut album “Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance album in 2018. It was an ambitious album, both sonically and thematically; it explored themes of identity, non-conformity, and reinvention. 

In a four-star review by NME, the album is described to “[cross] boundaries of pop music and chasing transcendence, Sophie achieves the rare feat of making abstract, difficult electronic music that hits you straight in the heart.” 

Electropop would not be where it is today without the boundary-pushing that SOPHIE had done with her music. Many hope that SOPHIE continues to influence electronic dance music and other genres within the industry. Her sound and passion have left a lasting impact on the way many listeners and producers perceive music production and the work put into it. 

FEATURED IMAGE (at the top of this post): Cover art for SOPHIE’s album “Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides” (PHOTO CREDIT: Trangressives, Future Classic, MSMSMSM)

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