Gotye

  • Belgian/Australian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist born Wouter “Wally” De Backer in 1980, in Belgium.
  • Though born in Belgium, his parents moved to Australia when he was 2 years old, and they used his English name “Walter” when he attended school. He learned piano and drums as a youth, and he formed a band named Downstares when he was in high school. After college graduation, De Backer recorded a 4 track CD, mostly using samples of other music, naming the project Gotye (pronounced Goh-tee-ay) – a pronounciation respelling of the Dutch name “Wouter” into the French name “Gauthier.” He made 50 copies and sent them to Australian radio stations and music contacts. He received positive feedback, especially from Australia’s national alternative music radio station, Triple J.
  • He met another singer-songwriter, Kris Schroeder, in 2002, and they formed a band called The Basics. They became popular performers, and Goyte has maintained performing with the band while also focusing on his solo career. The Basics released 4 studio albums as well as several EPs and live albums.
  • Goyte’s success with his first CD led to 2 more collections, which led to interest by a record label that specialized in Australian alternative acts. In 2003, his debut album, Boardface, was released. It compiled the 12 songs from his CDs into this one album. It snuck onto the Australian album charts, but did not lead to any hits.
  • Over the next few years, Goyte moved several times, and his recording studio moved each time he did. By 2006, he released his next album, Like Drawing Blood, so named because of the difficulties he had in the sound quality that came with each of his moves. The album was very popular in Australia’s alternative music scene, voted best album of the year in 2006 by listeners of Triple J. It was certified platinum in sales in Australia (awarded for sales over 70,000 units).
  • In October 2010, Goyte released Eyes Wide Open, the first single to his next album, Making Mirrors, which was released in August 2011. Eyes Wide Open was his first to chart in the U.S., reaching #96 on the Hot 100. In July that year, the second single from the album was released – Somebody That I Used To Know. The song features New Zealand singer Kimbra on supporting vocals. It became a huge hit – the song has been certified 8x platinum in the U.S. and peaked at #1 in 18 countries, including the U.S. The video has been viewed over 1.1 billion times on YouTube. He performed the song on Saturday Night Live in April 2012. In 2013, he won 3 Grammy awards for the song and the album.
  • Goyte has followed his huge success largely with silence. He has focused more on his work with The Basics than on his solo career. He has done some vocal work for other obscure artists. In 2017, he revealed that he does not permit advertising on his on-line videos – given that Somebody That I Used To Know has had 1.1 billion views, that means that he has given up millions of dollars of advertising revenue.
  • When I first heard Somebody That I Used To Know, I loved it, and it remains a favorite alternative song for me. Here’s the video. It’s very cool, very alternative, very artsy – you should watch it! And…no commericals!

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