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Remembering SOPHIE

In the early winter of 2019, I was struggling. Having moved to Kalamazoo in the months prior from West Texas, I could not even define what I now know to be seasonal depression, as it was a completely unfamiliar concept to a desert-dweller like myself. While coping with the perils of Michigan Winter™, I was simultaneously going through an existential crisis within my love of music. I was completely out of place and completely out of pocket. My music felt stale, and many of the artists or projects that I would typically listen to in order to cope with these sorts of issues were just not cutting it. This was of course, until my friend Scott introduced me to SOPHIE. I will never forget; we were riding through the Vine neighborhood in his minivan when he mentioned along the way that I “HAVE to listen to this shit,” and blasted "Faceshopping" through those awful Honda Odyssey speakers. It had been so, so long since a piece of music made me feel such an immediate and visceral reaction. It was bold. Audacious. Unique. A BANGER. There are many ways in which "Faceshopping" can be described, but what struck me the most then and today still is how unapologetically individualistic it was. SOPHIE reflected herself through her music in a way that most artists only dream of.

I spent the next few months doing a deep dive on SOPHIE’s music as well as some of the genres and artists she influenced. With all of what I was going through at the time, I needed that more than I could even know. Between Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, "MSMSMSM", "Vyzee", and others, I just could not get enough. Imagine my surprise when I learned that SOPHIE produced one of my favorite hip-hop tracks of all time, Vince Staples’ "Yeah Right". SOPHIE was an incredible artistic talent whose music and legacy will impact for years beyond any of our lifetimes.

And lastly, continuing on the topic of impact. SOPHIE was a reserved individual by nature, not even revealing her true identity to the world until her music had already started to gain traction. Eventually she peeled back some of that reservedness, and SOPHIE became known as a strong and proud trans person. Through her music, her voice, and life SOPHIE empowered the LGBTQ+ community in everything she did. She was a figurehead and inspiration to millions of people from all backgrounds, all orientations, and any other “category” we box people into. SOPHIE taught me about individualism and life, and her music helped me through a very difficult time. I hope my LGBTQ+ friends have a wonderful pride celebration this month. SOPHIE would want that 😊.


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