Today, the music industry mourns the loss of an incredible human being, Grammy-nominated artist, and genius visionary. Sophie Xeon (34), known by most simply as SOPHIE, passed away in a sudden accident while moon gazing in Athens, Greece, where she’d been living for some time. The impact of this morning’s news sent a palpable shockwave across all corners of the internet, with artists from all niches and genres coming forward to pay their respects. In the span of her career as a solo artist and producer, Sophie transformed the way music was created, consumed, and discussed. Yes, she worked with industry giants like Madonna, Gaga, and Charli XCX. But she also worked with Le1f, LIZ, Arca, Kim Petras, and countless other (mostly LGBTQ) artists, creating a soundscape that single-handedly revolutionized the nightlife/dance scene globally.
It’s hard to even come up with the words to pay tribute and do justice to her legacy. Sophie’s visibility (and simultaneous lack thereof) as a trans artist revitalizing pop music was a game changer for so many trans and queer individuals like myself. Seeing an artist like Sophie succeeding in the upper echelons of the music industry inspired so many of us to embrace our bodies and to be unapologetically ourselves. She made us dance, she inspired us to create, and most importantly, she allowed us to feel alive and connected. That she remained relatively “unknown” to so many others is both perplexing and powerful. Some people will never know that their favorite songs sound the way they do because of her, but the way she approached the process of creation will continue to inspire schools of current and future producers for years to come. And THAT’s on periodt.
SOPHIE’s life and legacy as artist deservers to be celebrated. In a year without nightclubs, grieving and coping with this loss feels like an impossible task. Realizing that we won’t get to dance to new music or see another live set again is heart-wrenching. The only thing bringing me solace today is the outpour of love on my carefully curated, algorithm-fed social media timeline. Trans people, I see you and I love you. Your pain is our pain. To the rest of our queer family, stay safe and keep spreading the love.
If you love SOPHIE as much as I do, or if you’re new to her and curious about her music, here’s a playlist with almost every song she touched over the years: