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  • Daniel Peaden, reporter

Remembering SOPHIE, Grammy-Nominated Avant-Garde Pop Star

The music world was utterly shaken Saturday, Jan. 30 when news arrived of the tragic passing of Scotland-born pop artist and producer Sophie Xeon, better known by the stage name SOPHIE, at the age of just 34.

A police spokesperson in Sophie's home of Athens, Greece confirmed that Sophie slipped and fell from the balcony of an apartment and that no foul play was suspected, further corroborated in a statement from the artist's family.

“Tragically our beautiful Sophie passed away this morning after a terrible accident,” said SOPHIE’s record label, Transgressive, in a heartfelt post on Twitter. “She will always be here with us. The family thank everyone for their love and support and request privacy at this devastating time.”

Tributes began to pour in from all corners of the musical landscape. Rihanna, Sam Smith, Charli XCX and countless more expressed sorrow, with Charli going into detail about the special connection she felt with the artist and producer, who was a close friend. In addition, fan favorite songs like "Immaterial" and "It's Okay to Cry" began to breach high placements on the Spotify Viral 50 chart.

Having worked as a producer with superstars like Madonna and boundary pushers like Charli XCX alike, many critics have pointed out SOPHIE's profound impact on the landscape of popular music in the past decade.

In fact, SOPHIE was even nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album in 2019 for the debut album, Oil Of Every Pearl's Un-Insides, an avant-garde work critically praised for its experimental fusion of pop and electronic music.

SOPHIE was also an icon in queer culture, being one of the most visible transgender musicians after coming out in 2017.

"She rebelled against the narrow, normative society by being an absolute triumph, both as an artist and as a woman," said French singer-songwriter Christine and the Queens in a statement. "I can't believe she is gone. We need to honor and respect her memory and legacy. Cherish the pioneers."

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