In 2011, the airstreams of many radio stations were awash with the melody of Belgian-Australian singer and songwriter Gotye. Her 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 gone wrong could relate to the song’s lyrics. For the song and the song’s album, he won two Grammy Awards in 2013. Gotye said he doesn’t consider himself a musician. Why would he say that? Well, let’s find out and learn more about the life this Belgium-born Australian talent leads and has led in the past.

Who is Gotye?

Wouter De Backer was born in Bruges, Belgium on May 21 and in 1980 to his parents of Flemish origin. When he was two, the family moved from Belgium to Australia; they lived in Sydney for a while before making Montmorency their permanent home. To avoid confusion and the risk of alienating their son, the De Backers decided to enroll Wouter in school with the English version of his name which is Walter or Wally as he has been known for most of his life.

Wally’s high school education was at the same-sex school, Parade College. There, his passion for music blossomed. He learned to play musical instruments and started a band – Downstares – with three of his school friends. One of them still performs with him even though the band broke up when they graduated from high school.

Gotye entered the University of Melbourne in 2001 and in 2005 graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.

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 entered college, he began creating music independently. He has produced three EPs in four years. The first EP was made in only 50 copies, some of which were transmitted to radio stations in the region. For the title of the first EP, he chose to personalize the spelling of the pet name his parents gave him; Gaultier he spelled as Goyte.

After taking the EPs to radio stations, Goytes made sure he tracked them down to play the songs and asked for feedback. By the end of the four-year period, three EPs had been made. He then decided to compile them all into an album which he titled Boardface and released it to the public in 2003 EPs weren’t the only work he was involved in during this time, he started another band called The Basics with vocalist and songwriter Kris Schroeder.

Boardface received national recognition and this gave De Backer the confidence to produce more music. In 2006, he released another independent album, Like Drawing Blood which was praised, critically acclaimed and won him his first award. It wasn’t until 2011, and with his release of Somebody that I used to know which showcased Kimbra’s vocal talents, that he achieved international acclaim.

The song reached the top of the Billboard charts with the help of stars like Ashton Kutcher who promoted the song on their Twitter accounts. The album Make Mirrors which the song was part of and the song itself was 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 order to prove his position of not considering himself a real musician, he decided not to take the money he got from millions of YouTube views of the song Somebody that I used to know. Additionally, he refused to promote the music videos for his other songs from Make a Mirror.

In 2016, he decided to preserve the legacy of the pioneer of electronic music, Jean-Jaques Perrey, starting with the purchase of Ondiolines which is the instrument most closely linked to Perrey’s music. After Perrey’s death in 2017, De Backer created a record label in honor of his music and released some of his songs that were previously unavailable to the public.

Gotye lives in Australia with his partner Maud and their daughter Leonie.