SOPHIE, a Grammy-nominated avant-pop producer, has died at 34,

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SOPHIE, a Grammy-nominated avant-pop producer, has died at 34,

The Grammy-nominated Scottish musician Sophie Xeon, known by stage name SOPHIE, has died at age 34. Sophie was a producer, singer, and performer who worked both in the outer orbit of experimental dance music and at the center of pop music, producing and recording songs for Madonna, Charli XCX, indie duo Let’s Eat Grandma, and the rapper Vince Staples.

In a statement to various outlets, Sophie’s management company Modern Matters confirmed the artist’s death, saying Sophie died at 4 AM in Athens, Greece “following a sudden accident.” Sophie’s UK label Transgressive elaborated, “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.”

Sophie began recording in the mid ’00s and developed a sizable following within the UK dance scene. As an independent artist Sophie released multiple critically acclaimed singles including “Nothing More to Say” and “Bipp.” Those singles were instantly identifiable by their taut, brash beats and piercing digitized vocals. In 2018, Sophie released the debut album Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides. Pitchfork named it Best New Music. Critic Eric Torres described it as a “vivid, artistic statement” and “a startling, moving experience.” It was later nominated for a Grammy for best dance/electronic album. Speaking about the album, Sophie expressed a simple hope for how people might react to it: “I want people to listen to music and hear music as the 5- or 6-year-old version of themselves, without contex. Just how does that make you feel? Is it fun and furious?”

In the early 2010’s Sophie performed anonymously, leaving people to wonder about the artist’s gender, age, and origin. Later on, Sophie released the music video “It’s Okay to Cry” revealing the artist’s full identity to the pubic for the first time. In an interview with Paper magazine, Sophie described being transgender as “taking control to bring your body more in line with your soul and spirit so the two aren’t fighting against each other.” At the same time, Sophie spoke frequently about the limitations of labels. “Everyone’s different. Everyone’s an individual,” said the artist in an interview with Jezebel.

Following the news of Sophie’s death, many artists took to Twitter to express their admiration for the pioneering, pop artist. Christine and the Queens described Sophie as “a stellar producer, a visionary, a reference,” and said, “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 honour and respect her memory and legacy.”

Abigail Covington is a journalist and cultural critic based in Brooklyn, New York but originally from North Carolina, whose work has appeared in Slate, The Nation, Oxford American, and Pitchfork

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