Influential experimental PC pop artist SOPHIE died early Saturday after a fall in Athens, Greece, where she lived, according to her record label, Transgressive.
The Grammy-nominated artist and producer, whose name was Sophie Xeon, was 34.
“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 label posted on Twitter.
SOPHIE, a trans artist, was a purveyor of PC music, which pushes pop in unconventional directions using highly modulated, electronic music, pitch-shifted vocals, unorthodox textures and bright harmonies. She has produced and inspired artists like Charli XCX, Rhianna, and in 2015, Madonna. SOPHIE’s debut album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, made both of this publication’s best albums of 2018 lists and was nominated for the Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
The Scottish-born artist “should be mentioned alongside Bjork … as a true avant-garde artist of the future,” we wrote. “She’s not at all concerned with any preconceived notions of how electronic music should sound. The album might be downright bizarre at times, but there’s a definite method and a tangible human element to the madness.”
SOPHIE first caught our attention as a solo artist. a year prior to her debut album, with single “Ponyboy.” “Full of chilling, siren-like sounds, the song has an electrifying effect that hits like a shock to your system,” we wrote. “Strong and stimulating, this piece of ear candy could be a caffeine substitute.”
Alongside the inventive arrangements of her music, including glitzy keyboards, harsh metallic synth blasts, glitchy and industrial elements with traditional electro-pop, SOPHIE wrote and sang about being free to release emotion, self-love and acceptance, which connected with LGBT+ listeners worldwide. She was also a trans rights activist.
— Transgressive (@transgressiveHQ) January 30, 2021
Artists turned to social media Saturday morning to pay tribute to SOPHIE. “She rebelled against the narrow, normative society by being an absolute triumph, both as an artist and as a woman,” wrote Héloïse Letissier of Christine and the Queens. Added Sam Smith: “The world has lost an angel.”
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
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
Follow editor Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter.