Grammy-nominated experimental artist, producer, and DJ Sophie Xeon – professionally known as SOPHIE died at home in Athens, Greece on January 30, 2021, in a tragic accident. The artist was 34.
“Tragically our beautiful Sophie passed away this morning after a terrible accident. True to her spirituality she had climbed up to watch the full moon and slipped and fell,” a statement from record label Transgressive read.
SOPHIE was born on September 17, 1986, in Glasgow. An interest in music was sparked when SOPHIE’s father would play cassette tapes of electronic music in the car. After getting a keyboard as a birthday present, SOPHIE began creating music. This indirectly led to a job working as a wedding and birthday DJ. The story goes SOPHIE’s half-sister thought all the long hours locked in a bedroom with music equipment amounted to an interest in DJ-ing, rather than music production. This led to the sister asking SOPHIE to DJ her wedding. So along with music production, SOPHIE learned how to DJ and started booking local weddings and birthday parties.
SOPHIE later began as an artist apart of a band called Motherland, alongside Sabine Gottfried, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, and Marcella Dvsi. Later in a career as a solo artist, SOPHIE continued to collaborate with Matthew Lutz-Kinoy in 2011, as well as using the vocals of Maracella Dvsi on the single “Bipp” in 2013. SOPHIE’s work with Lutz-Kinoy involved creating a backing track for his performance called Donna Haraway’s Expanded Benefits Package originating at New York’s New Museum. 2011 also saw SOPHIE score the music for the short film “Dear Mr/Mrs” by the Dutch duo Freudenthal/Verhagen that can be watched here on Vimeo.
“Nothing More to Say” was SOPHIE’s debut single, released February 2013 with vocals from Jaide Green. It was followed by “Bipp,” with the vocals of the aforementioned Marcella Dvsi. These singles brought an entirely new and fresh feel to the electronic genre with the bonus of earning placement on Pitchfork and XLR8R’s year-end ranked song lists. Next came the singles “LEMONADE” and “HARD” with twisting sounds that are sharper and have a lower tonality than the sugar high of “Bipp” and “Elle” giving them a bit more of a bite. These new singles shifted SOPHIE a bit more into the experimental-pop world.
2014 saw the debut of “Hey QT” co-produced with P.C. Music founder A.G. Cook. The hooky song was for the pop star QT. It is high energy and the accompanying video is a splash of pastel colors. It is reminiscent of a commercial. It portrays the energy drink “QT Energy Elixir” in a futuristic techno world that looks like something out of a Black Mirror Episode.
By 2015 SOPHIE released a compilation of 7 singles “BIPP,” “ELLE,” “LEMONADE,” “HARD,” “MSMSMSM,” “VYZEE,” “L.O.V.E.” along with the new single “Just Like We Never Said Goodbye” and called the compilation PRODUCT. “Just Like We Never Said Goodbye” has a similar smooth synth sound and high energy of “Hey QT.”In this year SOPHIE also collaborated with Charlie XCX on her EP Vroom Vroom and co-produced “Bitch, I’m Madonna” for – you guessed it – Madonna.
In 2017 SOPHIE came out as a transgender woman. According to a representative preferred not to use gendered or nonbinary pronouns. And in 2018 was the release of Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, the artist's debut album, which predominantly featured SOPHIE’s vocals across the tracks. In 2018 SOPHIE won the Innovator AIM Independent Music Award. The next year. Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides was nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album Grammy.
“SOPHIE accessed an extraordinary depth of feeling to communicate and construct musical sculptures that will forever be etched in the ether,” Toby L, co-founder of Transgressive said. “SOPHIE’s music is a timeless document of the lightning bolt that she threw into pop culture when it least expected it, yet needed it most … SOPHIE created worlds within worlds, ones that would both intoxicate and save people, transporting us all to other realms entirely.”
Most recently a collaboration with Shygirl for the track “BM” is featured in the slightly controversial video game Cyberpunk 2077. SOPHIE’s latest release was UNISIL on January 28, 2020.
In a statement, SOPHIE’s representation says “At this time respect and privacy for the family is our priority. We would also ask for respect for SOPHIE’s fanbase, and to treat the private nature of this news with sensitivity.”