Sophie, the Grammy-nominated experimental pop musician, and producer, has died aged 34 following a “sudden accident” in Athens.
The Glasgow-born artist worked with the likes of Madonna and Charli XCX.
In a statement, Sophie’s management said the musician had died at around 04:00 on Saturday in the Greek capital, where she had been living.
“Sophie was a pioneer of a new sound, one of the most influential artists in the last decade,” they said.
A further statement from Sophie’s record label Transgressive explained how the “terrible accident” had occurred.
“True to her spirituality she had climbed up to watch the full moon and slipped and fell,” they posted online. “She will always be here with us.”
“The family thank everyone for their love and support and request privacy at this devastating time.”
Sophie was also known as a transgender icon, after affirming their identity in the 2017 video for It’s Okay To Cry.
The artist’s management said she would be remembered “not only for ingenious production and creativity but also for the message and visibility that was achieved. An icon of liberation”.
Sophie’s innovative productions drew on pop, trance and underground dance music, mixing them with warped, disorientating waveforms to create a sound that was both instantly recognisable and highly in-demand.
Madonna sought Sophie out to co-produce the 2015 single Bitch, I’m Madonna; while Charli XCX worked with the musician on her abrasive, avant-garde EP, Vroom Vroom, and the hit single After The Afterparty.
Sophie’s debut album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, followed in 2018, exploring questions of identity, non-conformity and reinvention, while expanding her trademark sound with longer, more explorative tracks.
“Crossing 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,” wrote the NME in a four-star review.
The album was subsequently nominated for a Grammy for best dance/electronic album.
French pop act Héloïse Letissier, aka Christine and the Queens led the tributes to the late star, whose full name was Sophie Xeon.
Writing on Twitter, Letissier described Sophie as a “stellar producer”, “a visionary”, and “a pioneer”.
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 rebelled against the narrow, normative society by being an absolute triumph, both as an artist and as a woman” she added.
London-based Japanese singer Rina Sawayama echoed those sentiments, calling Sophie an “icon”. “The world and our community has lost a beautiful soul,” she tweeted.
Guitar hero Nile Rodgers said she was an “innovative”, “dynamic”, and “warm” person.
“Heart-breaking news,” added singer Sam Smith.
“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.”
After being given the Innovator gong at the Association of Independent Music (AIM) Awards in 2018, Sophie used the platform to promote trans rights.
“To be truly deserving of this award involved not only changing the sound of today’s music, but also ripping apart a deeply entrenched and deeply flawed patriarchal society,” said the producer while collecting the award.
“Creating a more diverse, inspiring and meaningful future for us and the generations whose lives our decisions affect and help shape.”
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