Sophie Xeon, professionally known as SOPHIE, was a producer, musician, singer and DJ who died suddenly on January 30, 2021. She was 34.
The avant-garde, Grammy-nominated pop star’s death was co-announced by the Scottish artist’s record labels, Transgressive and Future Classic. Transgressive published the following statement on its website, revealing that SOPHIE’s death stemmed from a “terrible accident.”
The statement said, “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 accidentally slipped and fell. She will always be here with us. The family thanks everyone for their love and support and request privacy at this devastating time.”
SOPHIE was living in Athens, Greece, at the time of her death, as reported by The Guardian. Her management told the outlet that SOPHIE died at 4 a.m. local time on Saturday following a “sudden accident.”
The statement added that the artist was “a pioneer of a new sound” and “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.”
SOPHIE’s debut album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, was released in 2018, which earned her a 2019 Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
Here’s what you need to know about SOPHIE:
SOPHIE, Whose Birth Name Was Samuel Long, Came Out as Transgender in 2017 With the Music Video, ‘It’s Okay to Cry’
For the first years of SOPHIE’s career, she kept her true identity a secret. Born with the name Samuel Long, in 2017, she came out as a trans woman with the single, “It’s Okay to Cry.” The official music video on YouTube racked up more than 2 million views.
The futuristic pop star opened up about being transgender to Paper magazine in 2018. She 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. … It means you’re not a mother or a father — you’re an individual who’s looking at the world and feeling the world.”
When asked for her opinion on taking hormone pills, SOPHIE noted that while “it’s different for everyone” and “you don’t need to be called by woman’s names and have tits to feel like a woman,” she preferred to have that kind of physique. “Personally, that’s the type of body I prefer, and I love having both male and female parts of my anatomy.”
Louis Vuitton featured the artist and the song, “It’s Okay to Cry,” for their Spring 2020 fashion show in 2019. The remixed music video was directed by Woodkid, who also created the videos for Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” and Taylor Swift’s “Back to December.”
SOPHIE Started Releasing Music at Age 13, Produced Songs for Madonna, Kendrick Lamar & Charli XCX
SOPHIE, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland, started releasing music at the age of 13. At 14, she gained a popular following after the release of the single, “Lemonade.”
The musician quickly ascended as a producer, working with legendary artists such as Madonna on her 2015 track “B****, I’m Madonna,” and frequently collaborated with Charli XCX, whose real name is Charlotte Emma Atchinson, a popular English singer and songwriter. Together, they produced Charli’s EP Vroom Vroom and the 2018 mixtape Number 1 Angel and Pop 2.
“I think all pop music should be about who can make the loudest, brightest thing,” SOPHIE said in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone. “That, to me, is an interesting challenge, musically and artistically. And I think it’s a very valid challenge — just as valid as who can be the most raw emotionally. I don’t know why that is prioritized by a lot of people as something that’s more valuable. The challenge I’m interested in being part of is who can use current technology, current images and people, to make the brightest, most intense, engaging thing.”
I think it’s up for definition, really. I would like to present some ideas about what could define a producer. It was something different for me and my friends in London where we would just work with whoever was around us, you know, because we are inspired by our friends. That’s what I’ve always done: collaborate with friends because they are the people who understand. If you are a good friend you understand someone on a different level.
Tributes to SOPHIE Filled Twitter Following the News of Her Sudden Death
RIP SOPHIE 💗 u were the sweetest – an icon and a visionary. the world and our community has lost a beautiful soul pic.twitter.com/Nxbvx3hsSU
— RINA SAWAYAMA (@rinasawayama) January 30, 2021
Following SOPHIE’s death, Twitter filled with tributes to the “FACESHOPPING” singer.
Chris of Christine and the Queens tweeted on Saturday, “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.”
Producer Jack Antanoff tweeted, “the loss of sophie is huge. she’s been at the forefront for a long time and we see her influence in every corner of music. if you’re not aware of what she has done then today is the day to listen to all her brilliant work. you’ll hear an artist who arrived before everyone else.”
“an artist who truly had the ideas first and the guts to put it out there,” Antonoff continued. “i was never in the same room as sophie but have felt her presence countless times through her work.it is rare that we get to live at the same time as an artist so truly singular. if it’s the actual sound of her work which is the definition of new, or the feeling behind it … it was legendary during her life and will continue to be after.”
The clubs would be playing SOPHIE all night long tonight. 💕
— Travis (@travisalabanza) January 30, 2021
Fully devastating, gutting news to wake up to. SOPHIE was the rare artist to emerge as a revelatory force—someone whose music you immediately knew would spark entire new worlds, someone who would inspire musicians, DJs, and so many more. I can’t believe it, what a huge loss. God. pic.twitter.com/L5z7ahUWMD
— Puja Patel (@senari) January 30, 2021
the word gets thrown around a lot – but she was a genius.
a real one.
we had her.
she gave us so much
— jg (@jacquesgreene) January 30, 2021
Rest In Peace to SOPHIE. I found myself so consistently inspired by her and in awe of her production. Heartbroken to hear this
— FINNEAS (@finneas) January 30, 2021
Singer Sam Smith tweeted, “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.”