Experimental pop artist and producer Sophie Xeon, known to the world as SOPHIE, died in a "terrible accident" on Saturday morning at age 34, according to a statement from the musician's record label Transgressive.
"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," the statement posted on Twitter read.
SOPHIE died at her home in the Greek capital Athens at 4 am, the artist's publicist said in a statement. It went on to add that the producer 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.”
And Sophie was that. And much more.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Sophie developed a taste in music pretty early in her young life, thanks to her father who would make her listen to cassettes of electronic music in their car. Gifted a keyboard on her ninth or tenth birthday, Sophie then started creating music and even for a while wanted to quit school to focus on developing music. Growing up, she would often stay in her room for hours trying to develop albums and this even gave her a chance at DJing weddings and events in her locality.
She broke into the music scene first in her adulthood when she started producing and working with a band called Motherland, where Sabine Gottfried, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, and Marcella Dvsi were her bandmates. She maintained a friendships with Lutz-Kinoy and produced more performances with him later on.
Sophie released her debut single titled 'Nothing More to Say' in 2013. But the song that proved to be a game-changer for the singer-producer was 'Bipp', which helped establish her style early on in her career.
Her 2018's album titled 'Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides' earned her a nomination for a Grammy for best dance/electronic album. The nomination was extra special as Sophie also made history as she went on to be one of the first openly transgender artists to be nominated for the category along with being one of the three first openly transgender women to be nominated for the prestigious award.
Sophie worked with tall artists in her time. She collaborated with Madonna and helped her write her 2015 single Bitch I’m Madonna. Other artists Sophie worked with included Vince Staples, indie duo Let’s Eat Grandma, singers Charli XCX and Kim Petras, Bibi Bourelly among others.
As great and revolutionizing was Sophie's career, she was equally a force to reckon with when it came to being a change maker in gender identity and standing up for trans rights. Initially living in the obscurity, Sophie came out as a trans woman sometime in 2017, when she released a music video of "It's Okay to Cry" where her voice and photos were used and she appeared in the nude.
After coming out, Sophie had often spoke about being a transgender and spoken of the hardships while trying to attain gender equality on many occasions. In an interview to Paper magazine, she had said, “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.
Several artists paid tribute to the musician, including British singer-songwriter Sam Smith, who posted on Twitter: "Heartbreaking news. The world has lost an angel. A true visionary and icon of our generation."
Heartbreaking news. The world has lost an angel. A true visionary and icon of our generation. Your light will continue to inspire so many for generations to come. Thinking of Sophie’s family and friends at this hard time ❤️ pic.twitter.com/7qr4aI0DDi— samsmith (@samsmith) January 30, 2021
French pop artist Christine and the Queens described SOPHIE as "a stellar producer, a visionary, a reference."
DJ and producer Erol Alkan tweeted: "Such sad news to hear of Sophie passing."
Such sad news to hear of SOPHIE passing... my sincere condolences to her friends and family.— erol alkan (@erolalkan) January 30, 2021
Fans across the world have also drowned in mourning about the singer's untimely and tragic demise. Paying tributes to the late singer, they called her a pioneer of a deeply different set of music who vitalised the genre of electronic-pop.
(With inputs from CNN)