Grammys pays moving tribute to late pop vanguard and trans icon SOPHIE

Maggie Baska
·3-min read

The 2021 Grammys paid a touching tribute to trailblazing trans musician Sophie Xeon, who tragically passed away earlier this year.

Xeon, who was known by her stage-name SOPHIE, died in January following a “sudden accident” in Athens, Greece, at the age of 34. SOPHIE was originally from Glasgow, Scotland, and she was widely-known for her surrealist approach to pop music.

In her career, SOPHIE collaborated and worked with Lady Gaga, Madonna, Charli XCX and Camila Cabello.

The 2021 Grammy Awards looked back at the legendary music icons and performers who passed away over the past year. On Sunday (14 March), the ceremony underscored the depths of creative loss with several major artists – including Bruno Mars, Brandi Carlile, Lionel Richie and Brittany Howard – performed songs to honour some of the musicians lost in the last year.

During the In Memoriam segment, SOPHIE was honoured on screen, even though none of the performers sang any of her iconic songs.

The singer’s fans shared the heart-warming moment on Twitter. One fan wrote: “We love you and miss you so much, queen.

“Hope you’re making everyone have the best part of their lives wherever you are.”

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Another fan wrote that SOPHIE “deserved a better tribute” at the Grammys ceremony.

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Like many performers, an image of SOPHIE flashed on the screen behind the artists who were singing the hits of some musicians who died in the last year.

The segment actually had to be extended nearly 15 minutes due to the toll COVID has had on the music community.

Host Trevor Noah acknowledged, during the past year, that the “loss of life has been historic”. Noah continued: “And so tonight, we want to remember the enduring impact of those in our music community who we have lost this past year.”

This year’s In Memoriam began with Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak’s version of “Good Golly, Miss Molly” as a tribute to Little Richard, who died in May at age 87 after battling bone cancer.

Next, the legendary Lionel Richie sang Kenny Roger’s “Lay Down Beside Me”. He concluded the performance by saying: “I miss you, Kenny. I miss you man.” Rogers died in May at the age of 81.

LGBT+ icon Brandi Carlile sang country singer-songwriter John Prine’s “I Remember Everything”. The song was the last song Prine wrote before he died in April due to complications from COVID.

Last but certainly not least, Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard and Coldplay’s Chris Martin teamed up for “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in tribute to Gerry Marsden, who was the leader of the group Gerry and the Pacemakers. Marsden died in September at age 78 following an infection in his heart.

Alongside SOPHIE, the segment honoured more music legends who passed away in the past year on the screen including Eddie Van Halen, Mary Wilson, Bonnie Pointer, Charlie Daniels, Charley Pride, Adam Schlesinger, MF Doom and Pop Smoke.