There was something especially bitter about pop sensation Sophie’s untimely death. Not only tragedy, but to die on the cusp of LGBT History Month seemed cruel. But as we move forward, through this month and beyond, Sophie’s career, despite being cut short, I believe shall prove ever more influential on popular culture. Her career, and the careers of her many counterparts, represent a new voice for Queer culture that has been emanating through society for the past decade. The vessel of this voice has been the latest expansion of musical evolution, the genre of Hyperpop.
Hyperpop is a genre first pioneered in the late 2010s by a small selection of artists and most notably the label ‘PC Music’. The genre combines elements from Pop, Electronic, Emo, and HipHop music, in an eclectic, sonic melting pot of styles, with each of its artists essentially drawing from these influences in unique ratios. Although the genre is not necessarily stringently LGBT, it does have a vast array of transgender or non-binary pioneers in its roots and at its current forefront. Sophie, Dorian Electra, 100 Gecs member Laura Les, Kim Petras, and Arca to name a few.
Within the genre it is today, we can actually see a variety of similarities and connections with Queer Culture. Opulence, one of the core concepts behind the Queer Culture’s 80s ballroom scene, is an evident part of Hyperpop and its extravagant, indulgent, and dramatic visual and sonic style. In its left-field, experimental, and counterculture-esque sensibilities, we can also see reflections of queer culture’s political and artistic influence. In essence, queer culture has come to represent, protect, and celebrate ‘being different’, or deviatingfrom the norms of society, and Hyperpop certainly gives off the alternative vibe, containing so many avant-garde characteristics and fostering themes and messages relating to this. This stretches over into even non LGBT Hyperpop artists, as they equally embrace the idea of uniqueness and difference.
What’s interesting is that since it is a genre created and influenced by many individuals of the queer persuasion and mentality, the scene has actually naturally developed into a sort of shielded space for the queer. A genre based around acceptance and celebration of the different. It is no hard conclusion to draw that transgender or non-binary musicians may not have felt, or have even generally been, involved in other music scenes. So as a reaction to this, they just made their own one. And it is glorious. This is the latest voice of fringe, queer culture, and it will be so interesting to see where they take it. It could become more political as it grows, or perhaps it will pioneer more contemporary musical ideas and techniques. What is certain is that it is one of the most alluring and fascinating genres to come our way as of late, and I am sure the scene will do Sophie proud.