Sophie performing in 2015
|Birth name||Samuel Long|
|Born||17 September 1986|
Sophie Xeon (born 17 September 1986), known mononymously as Sophie (stylised as SOPHIE), is a Scottish record producer, singer, songwriter, and DJ. Xeon is known for her synthesised and "hyperkinetic" take on pop music, and came to prominence with singles such as "Bipp" (2013) and "Lemonade" (2014). Her compilation Product was released in 2015, and the debut album Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides followed in 2018. The latter earned her a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album. Xeon has worked closely with artists from the PC Music label, including A.G. Cook and GFOTY, and has produced for acts such as Madonna, Charli XCX, Vince Staples, Let's Eat Grandma, Kim Petras, Flume and Namie Amuro.
- 1 Career
- 2 Sound and image
- 3 Discography
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Origins and early years
Sophie was born and grew up in Glasgow, Scotland. Starting at a very young age, her father would play cassettes of electronic music in the car and take her to raves, and she quickly became enamored with the music. Describing her childhood in an interview published by Lenny Letter, she revealed, "I spent all my time listening to those cassette tapes. I'd steal them from the car." After receiving a keyboard as a birthday gift, she then began to create her own music. By the time she was approximately nine or ten years old, she confessed to her parents that she wanted to drop out of school to be an electronic music producer (although they did not let her do so and she continued her schooling). She continued to create music throughout her adolescence, even regularly announcing, "I'm just going to lock myself in my room until I've made an album." When Sophie was still a child, she started to DJ weddings and birthdays. Her half-sister asked Sophie to DJ her wedding, as Sophie admitted that her half-sister "didn't know what I was doing in my room on my own" and had assumed she was a DJ. This was when she started learning to DJ in addition to production.
Sophie began her adult music career in a band named Motherland (with bandmates Sabine Gottfried, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, and Marcella Dvsi), and later collaborated with her bandmate Matthew Lutz-Kinoy on a series of performance works. In 2011, she scored the short film Dear Mr/Mrs by Dutch team Freudenthal/Verhagen. Sophie became involved with artists affiliated with the PC Music label after encountering Dux Kidz, a project between A. G. Cook and Danny L Harle.
Sophie released her debut single "Nothing More to Say" in February 2013 via the London-based Glaswegian label Huntleys + Palmers. The single comprised two mixes of the titular track (titled the "Dub" and "Vox"), as well as the B-side, "Eeehhh", which was initially posted on (and later deleted from) Sophie's SoundCloud in 2011. Its follow-up, "Bipp"/"Elle"—which had been released on SoundCloud as previews in the previous year along with a third track "OOH"—was released on Numbers later that year. "Bipp" in particular, featuring vocals from Sophie's former Motherland bandmate Marcella Dvsi, received considerable attention from music critics, topping XLR8R's year-end list and placing 17 on Pitchfork's. Pitchfork later ranked "Bipp" 56 on its list of the best tracks from 2010–2014. In mid-2014, Sophie collaborated with Japanese pop singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Also in 2014, Sophie collaborated with A. G. Cook and the US-based artist Hayden Dunham for the project QT, co-producing her debut single "Hey QT" with the former. The project included an energy drink called the QT Energy Elixir. At the singer's request, "Hey QT" repeats the drink's name for product placement.
Sophie's next single, "Lemonade"/"Hard", was released in August 2014, with vocal contributions on the former from fellow musician Nabihah Iqbal and model Tess Yopp and vocal contributions on the latter from PC Music artist GFOTY. Numbers released "Lemonade"/"Hard" as a 12" single. Both tracks appeared on the Billboard Twitter Real-Time charts. "Lemonade" and "Hard" placed 68th and 91st respectively on the 2014 Pazz & Jop critics poll, and the single was included in the top ten of year-end singles lists by The Washington Post, Resident Advisor, Complex, and Pitchfork; "Hard" was included in the top ten on lists by Dazed and Dummy. "Lemonade" appeared in a 2015 commercial for McDonald's.
2015–2017: Product and breakthrough
In March 2015, Charli XCX announced a collaboration with Sophie. It was later revealed that the pair had worked on multiple songs for her upcoming studio album. In September 2015, Sophie's debut album Product was made available for preorder. The eight tracks listed were the four Numbers singles from 2013 and 2014, as well as four new tracks: "MSMSMSM", "Vyzee", "L.O.V.E.", and "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye". "MSMSMSM" was released on 29 September, and "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye" followed on 15 October.
In February 2016, Charli XCX released her Vroom Vroom EP, produced primarily by Sophie. It was later revealed that the extended play would act as a teaser for XCX's upcoming album, which would be produced by Sophie. After the extended play's release, Sophie embarked on tour with Charli XCX in promotion of their new music. Sophie, along with A. G. Cook and Hannah Diamond, also involved with the EP, received cameos in the official video for the lead single, "Vroom Vroom". The video was premiered on Apple Music and other platforms soon after.
In late 2016, Sophie acted as an additional producer on Charli XCX's song "After the Afterparty", which features vocals from Lil Yachty. The song is the first single from XCX's upcoming third studio album. Sophie cameos in the single's official music video. Sophie also received production credits for two songs on XCX's 2017 mixtape Number 1 Angel, and another for one song on XCX's second mixtape of 2017, Pop 2 which was released later that year.
In January 2017, it was announced that Sophie was working with record producer Cashmere Cat. She appears on "Love Incredible", alongside former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, and "9 (After Coachella)" with MØ.
2017–present: Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides
In October 2017, Sophie made her solo musical comeback with a new single, "It's Okay to Cry", the first new material she released in almost two years. The music video for the song was the first time she used her voice and image in her work. She subsequently opened up to the press about being a transgender woman. Later in the month, she also made her debut live performance, where she premiered newly-recorded songs from her second album with vocal performances by Cecile Believe. One of the songs, "Ponyboy", premiered on Australian radio station Triple J, and the song was released with a self-directed music video on 7 December 2017. The third single from the album, "Faceshopping", was released on 16 February 2018 with a music video on 4 April 2018.
On 3 April 2018, Sophie announced via Instagram that her album was complete, and that it is not titled Whole New World as previously thought. On 1 May 2018, an interview with Crack Magazine revealed that the official album title is Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides. It was released on 15 June 2018 by her own label, MSMSMSM, along with Future Classic and Transgressive. In early 2018, she revealed in a tweet that she contributed to and produced Lady Gaga's latest album. In a video posted up on social media, when asked, she said: "Yes. I mean whatever, you know. I work on a lot of different things. If it comes out, then it's cool. You can never tell. But she's a really cool person."
In July 2018, she revealed that she has worked on four new projects, including her newly-released debut album, which are all going to be released this year. She said, "I have the next one finished... I'm going to release four albums this year". She has even stated in an interview with Lenny Letter that she has done so much collaborating with other people that, "Basically, I've done a whole new album in the last two weeks." When asked to clarify whether she meant EPs or albums, she stated that it would be "a mix". Additionally, she has also been working with Kim Petras, Charli XCX and Bibi Bourelly on new material within the year, as well as some rap collaborations in addition to the confirmed Lady Gaga collaboration.
During a red carpet interview at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, Sophie confirmed that she is working on a remix album on alternative versions of her Grammy-nominated debut album Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides. She had been nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album, and has made history as both one of the first openly transgender artists to be nominated in this category and one of the three first openly transgender women to be nominated for a Grammy.
Sound and image
Sophie primarily uses the Elektron Monomachine and Ableton Live to create music. Instead of sampling, instrumentals are built from waveforms. Likening the construction of a track to building a sculpture out of different materials, Sophie uses the Monomachine to create sounds resembling "latex, balloons, bubbles, metal, plastic, [and] elastic." AllMusic wrote that Sophie's "sophisticated, hyperkinetic productions" feature a "surrealist, blatantly artificial quality", typically making use of high-pitched female vocals in addition to "sugary synthesizer textures, and beats drawing from underground dance music styles." The New York Times described Sophie's work as "giddy fun, but [...] also an invitation to consider pop's pleasures, structures and gender expectations, and pop's commercial status as both a consumer item and an emotional catalyst." The Fader likened it to "K-Pop, J-Pop, Eurodance at its most chaotic, and even turn of the millennium American/UK boybandisms." When Billboard asked Sophie what genre her music falls under, she replied "advertising".
Sophie remained anonymous for some time, concealing her identity in interviews by masking her voice or covering parts of herself. At one Boiler Room show, drag performer Ben Woozy was recruited to mime a DJ set while Sophie pretended to be a bodyguard. She stated that she decided on the moniker Sophie because "it tastes good and it's like moisturizer". Sophie's early visuals came from a series of colourful images she refers to as "Homemade Molecular Cooking". Her singles' cover art often depicts objects made from plastic or other industrial materials, an idea that originated from discussions with John Roberts, a fellow electronic musician. At the POPcube event, Sophie unveiled posters and postcards outlining the products to be offered through her online store, which included a set of wedge heels, a puffa jacket, and unique sunglasses. Although these products were offered for sale when the album was released, they were immediately sold out except for a "body safe silicone product" bundled with a special edition album, raising suspicions that these auxiliary products were never real.
The music video for her 2017 single, "It's Okay to Cry", marked the first time she had used her own voice and image in her work. In the video, Sophie appears on camera unobscured for the first time, against a backdrop of clouds and later stars. The video closes with a lightning storm that hits at the song's climax.
- Product (2015)
|2013||"Nothing More to Say" / "Eeehhh"||Non-album single|
|"Bipp" / "Elle"||Product|
|2014||"Lemonade" / "Hard"|
|2015||"MSMSMSM" / "Vyzee"|
|"L.O.V.E." / "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye"|
|2017||"It's Okay to Cry"||Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides|
|"9 (After Coachella)"
(Cashmere Cat featuring MØ and Sophie)
(Lunice featuring Sophie and Le1f)
|"1,2,3 dayz up"
(Kim Petras featuring Sophie)
(Flume featuring Sophie and Kucka)
|Hi This Is Flume|
|2012||Auntie Flo||"Highlife" (Sophie Remix)|
|2013||Tiny Dancer||"Who Am I" (Sophie MSMSMSM Remix)|
|2014||Paris Suit Yourself||"Won't K" (Sophie Remix)|
|2015||Yelle||"Moteur Action" (Sophie & A. G. Cook Remix)|
Songwriting and production credits
|Title||Year||Artist(s)||Album||Credits||Written with||Produced with|
|"Catch"||2013||Palmistry||Non-album single||Additional producer ||Benjy Keating||Palmistry|
|"Hey QT"||2014||QT||Non-album single||Co-writer/producer||Hayden Dunham, Alexander Guy Cook||A. G. Cook|
|"Bitch, I'm Madonna"
(featuring Nicki Minaj)
|2015||Madonna||Rebel Heart||Madonna Ciccone, Thomas Pentz, Ariel Rechtshaid, Maureen McDonald, Toby Gad, Onika Maraj||Madonna, Diplo|
|"B Who I Want to B"
(featuring Hatsune Miku)
|Namie Amuro||Genic||Mitchie M||-|
|"When I Rule the World"||Liz||Non-album single||Marcus Andersson, Cecilia Efraimsson||-|
|"Koi"||Le1f||Riot Boi||Producer||Khalif Diouf||-|
|"Vroom Vroom"||Charli XCX||Vroom Vroom||Co-writer/producer||Charlotte Aitchison, Amanda Lucille Warner, Jonnali Parmenius||Martin Stilling, Patrik Berger|
(featuring Hannah Diamond)
|2016||Alexander Guy Cook, Charlotte Aitchison, Martin Stilling, Jonnali Parmenius||Martin Stilling, Patrik Berger|
|"Trophy"||Charlotte Aitchison, Amanda Lucille Warner, Jonnali Parmenius, Patrik Berger||Martin Stilling, Patrik Berger|
|"Secret (Shh)"||Jesse "St. John" Geller, Jessica Karpov, Jodie Harsh||Jodie Harsh|
|"High School Love"||Liz||Cross Your Heart||Co-writer||Elizabeth Abrams||-|
|"After the Afterparty"
(featuring Lil Yachty)
|Charli XCX||TBA||Co-writer/additional producer||Charlotte Aitchison, Eyelar Mirzazadeh, Fred Gibson, Mikkel Eriksen, Miles McCollum, Rachel Keen, Tor Hermansen||StarGate, FRED, A. G. Cook|
(featuring Camila Cabello)
|2017||Cashmere Cat||9||Co-writer/producer||Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin, Theron Thomas, Timothy Thomas, Camila Cabello||Cashmere Cat, Benny Blanco|
|"Roll with Me"||Charli XCX||Number 1 Angel||Charlotte Aitchison, Klas Ahlund, Jonnali Parmenius||-|
|Producer||-||Life Sim, A. G. Cook|
|"9 (After Coachella)"
(featuring MØ & Sophie)
|Cashmere Cat||9||Featured artist/co-writer/producer||Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin, Karen Marie Ørsted||Cashmere Cat, Benny Blanco|
|"Nights with You"||MØ||Non-album single||Co-writer/producer||Karen Marie Ørsted, Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin, Ryan Tedder||Cashmere Cat, Benny Blanco|
|"Bossed Up"||Quay Dash||Transphobic||Producer||-||-|
(featuring Kendrick Lamar & KUČKA)
|Vince Staples||Big Fish Theory||Co-writer/producer||Vincent Staples, Harley Streten, Kendrick Duckworth, Laura Jane Lowther||Flume|
(featuring ASAP Rocky)
|Vincent Staples, Rakim Mayers||-|
(featuring Sophie & Le1f)
|Lunice||CCCLX||Featured artist/producer||-||Lunice, S-Type|
(featuring Amber Liu)
|Superfruit||Future Friends||Co-writer/producer||Sarah Hudson, Danny L Harle, John Hill, Amber Liu||Danny L Harle|
|"Queen of This Shit"||Quay Dash||Quay Dash EP||Producer||-||-|
|"Out of My Head"
(featuring Alma & Tove Lo)
|Charli XCX||Pop 2||Co-writer/producer||Charlotte Aitchison, Ebba Tove Nilsson, Alma-Sofia Miettinen, Alexander Guy Cook||A. G. Cook|
|"Hot Pink"||2018||Let's Eat Grandma||I'm All Ears||Rosa Walton, Jenny Hollingworth||Faris Badwan|
|"It's Not Just Me"||Rosa Walton, Jenny Hollingworth||Faris Badwan|
|"No Angel"||Charli XCX||TBA||Additional producer||-||The Invisible Men, SaltWives|
|"Immigrant Sons (Pasos & Gas)"||Gaika||Basic Volume||Co-Producer||-||Gaika, Aart|
|"Girls Night Out"||Charli XCX||TBA||Co-writer/Producer||Charlotte Aitchison||Stargate|
|"1,2,3 Dayz Up"||2019||Kim Petras||Non-album single||Kim Petras, Lukasz Gottwald, Aaron Joseph, Aaron Jennings||MADE IN CHINA, Aaron Joseph|
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- Simpson, Paul. "Sophie - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- Day, Laurence. "Sophie reveals piercing new single "L.O.V.E."". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
- "GAIKA announces debut album BASIC VOLUME, featuring production from SOPHIE". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- "Filing for MSMSMSM, INC".
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- Mougin, Marie (4 September 2018). "Sophie, le nouveau phénomène de la scène pop expérimentale et underground". France Inter (in French). Radio France. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
SOPHIE n’est qu’un nom de scène, derrière il y a Samuel Long, un Écossais né à Glasgow le 17 septembre 1986.
- Lin, Yu-Cheng. "SOPHIE: A Beginner's Guide to a Hyperpop Mystery". Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
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- "Sophie – "Just Like We Never Said Goodbye"". Stereogum. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- Lee, Morgan. "StreamCharli XC's Sophie-produced Vroom Vroom EP. Fact Magazine.
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- "Sophie's 'OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES out now". Transgressive. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- DiMeglio, Mary J. (8 July 2018). "Sophie Confirms Rumored Lady Gaga Collaboration: Watch the Video". Billboard. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (10 February 2019), Sophie Red Carpet Interview | 2019 GRAMMYs, retrieved 12 February 2019
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- Ravens, Chal (1 May 2018). "Cover Story - SOPHIE: Earthly Pleasures". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- "Palmistry released a mixtape, worked w/ SOPHIE, playing NYC with Helix & more (listen)". BrooklynVegan.
- "Dollars to Pounds: Palmistry".