In memory of Sophie Xeon: 17 September 1986 – 30 January 2021
On the 30th of January, Sophie Xeon, a pop producer who created unique sounds and records, sadly passed away after a fall in Athens, Greece, at age 34. Artists from around the world expressed their condolences, including Charli XCX and Kim Petras, with whom Sophie worked closely. Record label Transgressive released a statement to say that Sophie had climbed up to watch the full moon, and accidentally slipped and fell.
Sophie was born in Glasgow and fell in love with music after being brought to raves as a child. The producer worked with music for years, releasing the first single ‘Nothing More to Say’ in 2013, and in 2015 collaborated with Charli XCX in order to produce the debut album Product. Sophie then went on to produce Charli XCX’s EP Vroom Vroom, before going on to release another album Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides in 2018, which was nominated for the Best Dance/Electronic Album Grammy in 2019.
The style Sophie created was unique, and has been described as ‘surrealist’, ‘experimental’, ‘giddy’, and has been likened to K-pop, and Eurodance. In truth, Sophie’s style cannot be pigeonholed that neatly. Everything the artist made was so different, from the melodic song It’s Okay to Cry to the more experimental Ponyboy.
Sophie will also be remembered as an LGBTQ+ icon, as an out trans person. For several years, Sophie was simply known as a name and a producer, but with the release of It’s Okay to Cry showed face on camera for the first time and spoke about the subject of identity. In an interview for Paper magazine, the artist stated that coming out as trans was ultimately a reclamation of identity, and that transness is about ‘taking control to bring your body more in line with your soul and spirit’.
Statements following Sophie’s sudden death named the artist as ‘a pioneer of a new sound, one of the most influential artists in the last decade’. Indeed, Sophie’s sound was visionary, something new that warranted exploration. And explore Sophie did, with pure talent leading her to be working with the likes of Madonna and Vince Staples.
Tributes poured in from around the world in the days following Sophie’s sudden death. Charli XCX honoured Sophie on her social media, saying ‘I can’t encapsulate what a unique person she was in one small social media post… she taught me so much about myself without even realising.’ Artist Sam Smith also shared their condolences, calling Sophie ‘a true visionary and icon of our generation’. Rihanna, Jack Antonoff, Grimes, and Rina Sawayama were also among other artists sharing their grief and condolences, just a small sample of some of the many lives that Sophie’s has touched.
Sophie’s work will continue to flourish even after death, and the producer’s style will never be forgotten. Sophie will be rightly remembered as a remarkably talented person who has influenced the pop and electronic genres irreversibly, someone who is responsible for an entire raft of incredible music and unique new sounds. Sophie will be missed sorely within the music industry.