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Gotye Biography


Home > Music > G > Gotye > Biography


Birth Name: Wouter De Backer
Born: 1980/05/21
Birth Place: Belgium
Years Active: 2003 – present
Genres: Indie Rock, Experimental Rock


Gotye (born Wouter "Wally" De Backer, May 21, 1980) is a Belgian- Australian multi-instrumental musician and singer-songwriter. De Backer is also one-third of Melbourne indie-pop band The Basics, who have independently released three studio albums and numerous other titles since 2002.

In 2001, De Backer recorded his first tracks primarily using samples. He put together a four track album and made around 50 copies of this first collection, hand writing the track list and coloring in the cover sleeve in pencil. His first name, Wouter, translates into French as Gaultier and De Backer's mother used to call him Gaultier as a nickname. He chose his own spelling of this variation and named the project Gotye.

De Backer went on to produce two more four track Gotye collections which were met with positive reviews. Interest in the Gotye project was growing, and De Backer was eventually offered a distribution deal for an album, which would essentially be a collection of the tracks from his three earlier releases. This album was released under the name “Boardface” in late 2003.

In 2004 De Backer moved into a shared house in the South East of Melbourne. He took up work at a local library, while continuing to record his own Gotye tracks. Over the next few years, De Backer would move several times, each time shifting his home recording studio to a new location with new acoustic qualities. The culmination of this was the second Gotye album, “Like Drawing Blood,” named in reference to the difficulties De Backer experienced in recording his music in ever-changing environments. The album reached #13 on the Australian Albums chart and Gotye was nominated for an ARIA Award for best independent release. In 2007, De Backer won the ARIA for best male artist.

His third studio album, “Making Mirrors,” was released in 2011. Prior to the album’s released Gotye released a new single, “Eyes Wide Open,” in mid-October 2010. He released a follow-up single titled “Somebody That I Used to Know” featuring New Zealand musician Kimbra, which was released in July 2011, and debuted at #27 on the ARIA Top 50 Singles chart. The single has gone on to reach 6× platinum status peaking at #1 on the Australian ARIA Singles chart, the New Zealand Singles chart, the Belgian Singles chart and the Dutch Megacharts. On its first week of release, “Making Mirrors” came in at #1 on the ARIA Australian Albums chart, making Gotye the first Australian act to simultaneously hold both the #1 single and album since Silverchair, who achieved the same feat in 2007. “Somebody That I Used to Know” went on to be an international success charting in the Top 20 in over ten countries with six of them being at #1, the song also charted in the U.S. and Canada.