Piqua, Ohio, U.S.A. – Sophie Xeon, one of the music industry’s most visionary artists, died Saturday, January 31 at the age of 34.
We have little information regarding her death, but according to a statement released by Transgressive Records, her UK-based record label, it was a “terrible accident.”
“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,” the statement said.
Although ostensibly a pop singer, to her millions of fans she was far more.
Sophie was an icon whose unapologetic trans identity and multifaceted talent as a singer, songwriter, and record producer gave fans the confidence and inspiration to be themselves.
Born on September 17, 1986 in Glasgow, Scotland, Sophie grew up hearing cassette tapes of electronic music and raves that her father played, according to The New York Times.
In an interview for feminist newsletter Lenny Letter, Sophie said of these years, “Music, I suppose, became my escape, like this friend I was looking for that was about the same stuff as me. It takes a while, as you might know, to find your people.”
Little did she know, in due course she would find her people, and use her passion to help millions more find theirs.
With her debut album Nothing More to Say in 2013, Sophie came onto the scene with a bang, the album topping the UK charts. She followed up with Bipp/Elle, an eclectic mix of Japanese-inspired pop which gained her even more acclaim.
By 2015, Sophie was working alongside Charlie XCX, and Madonna. Her magnum opus, however, was the album Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides.
Sophie came out with this release in 2017, using her own voice and image for the first time in her career. An ethereal, transcendent, and shockingly personal assortment of ballads, all with the theme of identity at their core. It was at this time that Sophie came out as transgender and became an open advocate for the trans community.
In an interview with Billboard, Sophie said that coming out meant “there’s no longer an expectation based on the body you were born into, or how your life should play out and how it should end. Traditional family models and structures of control disappear.”
That quote, more than any other, defines the beauty of Sophie’s life and art.
Whether in music or reality, making traditional, old, oppressive systems disappear was what drove her.
Had she lived, she would have no doubt continued breaking ground. May she rest in peace.
Zurie Pope is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.