Sophie Xeon, a trailblazing trans musician who collaborated with the likes of Lady Gaga and Madonna and delighted fans with her “hyperkinetic” pop music, has died. She was 34.
Xeon, otherwise known by her stage-named SOPHIE, passed away Saturday morning (30 January) in Athens, Greece, her representatives confirmed in a statement to Mixmag.
“It is with profound sadness that I have to inform you that musician and producer SOPHIE passed away this morning around 4am in Athens, where the artist had been living, following a sudden accident,” the statement read.
“At this time respect and privacy for the family is our priority. We would also ask for respect for her fanbase, and to treat the private nature of this news with sensitivity.
“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.”
A ‘pioneer’, a ‘teacher’, a ‘rebel’: SOPHIE remembered by fans for her creativity and vision
Tributes have been flooding in for the Grammy nominee SOPHIE all morning from her fans, members of the LGBT+ community and her peers, including Christine and the Queens, MNEK, Jodie Walsh and Munroe Bergdorf.
“Our community has lost an icon, a pioneer and a visionary bright light,” Bergdorf wrote on Instagram.
“Heartbroken. SOPHIE you will be missed. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. I hope we might again soon one day.”
Christine and the Queens noted SOPHIE was a “stellar producer, a visionary, a reference”.
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. I can’t believe she is gone. We need to honor and respect her memory and legacy. Cherish the pioneers. pic.twitter.com/3kyRl1KabY
— Chris (@QueensChristine) January 30, 2021
She tweeted: “SOPHIE rebelled against the narrow, normative society by being an absolute triumph, both as an artist and as a woman. I can’t believe she is gone.
“We need to honour and respect her memory and legacy. Cherish the pioneers.”
Countless other tributes recognise SOPHIE for her vision, her creativity and the hope she gave to millions by being a bold, fearless and openly trans artist.
SOPHIE 🖤 A wonderful friend, teacher and collaborator. She was a pioneer in the world of music and a trailblazer for the trans community. No one sounded like her before. Rest in power xx pic.twitter.com/gCpDFXzYDO
— Jodie Harsh (@jodieharsh) January 30, 2021
was lucky enough to share a stage w sophie twice in my lifetime, & even beyond her music, her energy, such a kind person, a joy to watch perform. i always think of her playing at the moma w bubbles floating thru the air anytime i listen to her music lol. i don’t wanna believe it
— BIGMUTHA 🤮 (@bbymutha) January 30, 2021
As a trans woman, Sophie’s music and message of empowerment means so much to me- more than I could ever put to words. She is and will always be a true icon of the community who gave us a voice and an outlet.
— claire ☾ (@clairepods) January 30, 2021
It feels unreal to say but Sophie was a true mastermind and collaborator who birthed entire genres. Her presence is felt across the most experimental electronic music to the most immediate of pop songs. It may take years, still, to comprehend her contributions fully. Rip
— jennui (@jonnoxrevanche) January 30, 2021
SOPHIE, from Glasgow, Scotland, was best-known for her “hyperkinetic” and almost surrealist approach to pop music, her single “It’s Okay to Cry” and for collaborating and working with the likes of Charli XCX, Kim Petras and Camila Cabello.
“It’s Okay to Cry”, released in 2017, and its subsequent music video were the first time SOPHIE used her own voice and image in her work, appearing nude against a backdrop of blue sky and clouds.
This was widely interpreted as her coming out as a trans woman. She confirmed her identity in subsequent interviews.