In 2011, the air streams of numerous radio stations were awash with the melody of the Belgium-Australian singer and songwriter, Gotye. His hit single Somebody That I used to Know was the breakup anthem of the year and every single person who had ever been in a relationship that went awry could relate to the words of the song. For the song and the album of the song, he won two Grammys in 2013. Gotye has said he does not think of himself as a musician. Why would he say that? Well, let’s find out and as well learn other things about the life that this Belgium born Australian talent leads and has led in the past.
Who Is Gotye?
Wouter De Backer was born in Bruges Belgium on the 21st of May and in the year 1980 to his parents who are of Flemish heritage. When he was two years old, the family moved from Belgium to Australia; they lived in Sydney for a while before making Montmorency their permanent place of residence. To avoid confusion and the risk of alienating their son, the De Backers decided to enrol Wouter in school with the English version of his name which is Walter or Wally as he got to be known for most of his life.
Wally’s high school education was at the same sex school, Parade College. While there, his passion for music flourished. He learned to play musical instruments as well as created a band – Downstares – with three of his friends from school. One of them still performs with him even though the band split up when they graduated from high school.
Gotye got into the University of Melbourne in 2001 and in 2005, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
What Happened To Him?
What happened to Gotye is that he became popular after unleashing the genius of his talent to the world. In 2001, the same year he got into the university, he started to create music independently. He made three EPs in the space of four years. The first EP was made in only 50 copies, some of which he took to radio stations in the area. For the title of the first EP, he chose to customize the spelling of the pet name his parents gave to him; Gaultier which he spelt as Goyte.
After taking the EPs to radio stations, Goyte made sure he hounded them to play the songs and demanded feedback. By the end of the four year period, three EPs had been made. He then decided to compile all of them into one album which he titled Boardface and released it to the public in 2003. The EPs were not the only work he was involved in that period, he created another band called The Basics with Kris Schroeder, a singer and songwriter.
Boardface received nationwide recognition and this gave De Backer the confidence to produce more music. In 2006, he released another independent album, Like Drawing Blood which was met with praise, critical acclaim, and won him his first award. It was not until 2011 and with his release of Somebody That I used to Know which featured the vocal talents of Kimbra, that he gained international fame.
The song topped the Billboard charts with help from stars like Ashton Kutcher who promoted the song on their Twitter accounts. The album Making Mirrors which the song was part of and the song itself were nominated for numerous awards.
Where Is He Now?
Gotye, in 2014, announced the end of his solo music career; he still makes music with his band The Basics and has worked with other musicians on their personal projects. In a bid to prove his stance of not considering himself a real musician, he decided to not take the money he got from the millions of YouTube views of the song Somebody That I used to Know. Also, he refused to promote the music videos of his other songs from Making Mirror.
In 2016, he decided to preserve the legacy of the pioneer of electronic music, Jean-Jaques Perrey, beginning with the purchase of Ondiolines which is the instrument mostly linked to Perrey’s music. After the death of Perrey in 2017, De Backer created a record label in honour of his music and released some of his songs that were previously not available to the public.
Gotye lives in Australia with his partner Maud and their daughter Leonie.