SOPHIE, the influential British producer who molded electronic music into bracingly original avant-garde pop, has died, a representative confirms. SOPHIE was killed in a sudden accident Saturday morning (January 30) at roughly 4 a.m. in Athens, Greece, where the artist had been living. No further details on the circumstances are confirmed.
SOPHIE emerged on the European club circuit in the early 2010s, breaking out with a string of inventive, house-adjacent singles including 2013’s “Nothing More to Say.” Next single “Bipp,” a stark and disembodied anthem, signalled a new direction and brought international acclaim, both from dance DJs and in the year-end lists of music publications across genres. Subsequent tracks “Lemonade” and “Hard” introduced distinctive vocals and abrasive sound design into SOPHIE’s music, forging a distinctive twist on pop. SOPHIE’s 2014 collaboration with PC Music founder A.G. Cook and Quinn Thomas, “Hey QT,” embodied the new form, a hyperactive sugar rush of unashamedly euphoric hooks.
The 2015 compilation PRODUCT collected these singles and added new music such as “Just Like We Never Said Goodbye,” which pointed to yet another phase of innovation. In 2018, SOPHIE—who prefers not to use gendered or nonbinary pronouns, according to a representative—released a debut album proper, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, prominently featuring SOPHIE’s own vocals. Until then, the producer’s identity was kept mysterious, but in press around the debut, SOPHIE stepped into the frame of videos and photo shoots, coming out as trans. The record was widely hailed as a landmark in forward pop music, earning recognition on album of the decade lists in late 2020. It was nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album at the 2019 Grammys.
SOPHIE’s outsize influence on pop and electronic music stems from not only this solo discography but also an expansive catalog in collaboration with others. This production repertoire includes productions for Vince Staples, Madonna, and, prominently, Charli XCX, who said in 2019: “There are very few artists who make me feel something up my core and make me wanna cry. Justice and Uffie made me feel something when I was 14, and I didn’t really have that feeling again until I met Sophie. I felt this rush of: Fuck, this is the coolest shit I have ever heard.”
In a statement, SOPHIE’s representative wrote: “At this time respect and privacy for the family is our priority. We would also ask for respect for SOPHIE’s fanbase, and to treat the private nature of this news with sensitivity.”