Gotye, winner (with Kimbra) of the 2013 Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group performance and Best Alternative Music Album is one of the most successful Australian musicians to perform on the world stage in more recent times.
Gotye's real name is Wouter (Walter) De Backer or Wally De Backer. He was born in Belgium on the 21st May 1980 and moved to Australia with his parents in 1982.
The family settled in Victoria and 'Wally' discovered during his school years he had a passion for music, particularly the piano and drums.
With his natural talent he formed his first group 'Downstares' while still in school and legend has it that a friend and neighbour, who listened to the group rehearsing regularly, gave Walter his late wife's record collection. It was a turning point in the young musician's career and the first seeds of the artist we know today as Gotye were sewn.
It was in 2001 that he decided to put together his first CD which he recorded in his bedroom at home and it included the song 'Out Here in the Cold'. He made about 50 copies, handwriting the track list and colouring in the cover sleeve in pencil.
He named his new release 'Gotye' (Wouter translates into French as Gaultier) and it was a pet name used by his mother, a French teacher, when he was a child. He decided on his own spelling of this variation and that's why he named the project Gotye.
Although he had no mainstream backing or support, he decided to send out some of the CD's to various radio stations and record companies and while most completely ignored it, one national radio network 'Triple J' gave it some airplay and there was some positive reviews with the Melbourne street press. This gave Gotye enough confidence to continue with his fledgling career.
At around this time, he met a fellow singer-songwriter Kris Schroeder and the two began performing together as 'The Basics'. They became a song writing and performing partnership and were regulars on the live music scene. This gave Wally an outlet for his passion for live performance. The Basics have continued to tour and record alongside Gotye, releasing four albums between 2004 and 2010.
Triple J continued to play his music and when he followed up his first CD, the radio station put several of his new songs on the high rotation playlist and Gotye was being heard regularly and beginning to get more and more positive reviews. This in turn led to a record label distribution deal in 2003 which was mainly made up of his earlier CD's and was titled 'Boardface'.
The second album, 'Like Drawing Blood' was released in 2006. According to Wally himself the name came from "an injury I suffered while licking an envelope".
Perhaps though it came from some of the frustration the young artist was feeling about the difficulties he encountered in trying to establish a musical career and some of the many roadblocks that occurred along the way.
He continues "This record found more success than the one before, and then found more success even after that. Success kind of heaped on top of success, and then on top of itself, like a pyramid of genetically modified frogs. Overall, it was really all about success, this record. And lots of it! So much success did I find, in fact, that I had to buy up some storage company's warehouses in West Oakleigh just to kind of stockpile it all".
Like Drawing Blood began to get more airplay on other popular music stations, charted and was voted number one in 'Best Album of 2006' on Triple J. The album was also nominated for several awards that year and the first single 'Learnalilgivinanlovin' was released in August 2006.
In 2007 Gotye won the ARIA award for best male artist and through all the publicity of the nomination, 'Like Drawing Blood' re-entered the album charts at number 36, a higher position than it had peaked at before and in 2008 won iTunes album of the year in the UK.
Gotye had well and truly arrived!
In 2009, 'Hearts a Mess' charted at number 77 in Triple J's Hottest 100 of All Time, voted by the Australian public.
There was also now European success. In 2008, 'Learnalilgivinanlovin' and 'Hearts a Mess' appeared on the Belgian charts, followed in 2009 by the single 'Coming back'.
Following the success of 'Like Drawing Blood', he set up his own recording studio in a barn at his parents' farm and started work on his third album.
In 2010 he released a new single, 'Eyes Wide Open', online and on vinyl which received generally positive reviews and charted successfully. 'Eyes Wide Open' was also shortlisted for the 2011 APRA Music Awards in the Song of the Year category.
In July 2011 Gotye released a new single titled 'Somebody That I Used to Know' featuring New Zealand musician Kimbra, which debuted at Number 27 on the ARIA Top 50 Singles Charts.
Although the song did not initially get commercial radio airplay it quickly moved up the ARIA charts mainly because of endorsements from Ashton Kutcher and Lily Allen via Twitter which exposed Gotye's music to their millions of followers.
The single went on to reach platinum sales with many millions of copies sold in Australia and the US. It peaked at Number 1 in 18 countries including the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, the Belgian Singles Chart, the Dutch Megacharts, the German Media Control Chart, the Official UK Top 40 and the US Billboard Hot 100.
'Somebody That I Used to Know' has been the Number 1 single on iTunes in 46 countries.
In August 2011 his new album 'Makin' Mirrors' was released and in its first week got to Number 1 on the Australian ARIA albums chart, making Gotye the first Australian act to simultaneously hold both the Number 1 single and album since Silverchair in 2007.
The album became an international success, charting in the Top 10 in 17 countries and reaching Number 1 in six.
It charted on the U.S. Billboard 200 at Number 7 and in Canada. The album achieved platinum sales in Australia, France, Poland and Belgium, and Gold in the US, New Zealand, Germany, UK, Ireland, Canada and Netherlands.
In October 2011 Gotye was nominated for seven ARIA Awards all for 'Somebody That I Used to Know'. It was nominated for Highest Selling Single, Single of the Year, Best Pop Release, Best Male Artist and three awards in the ARIA Artisan category: Best Video, Engineer of the Year and Producer of the Year.
On the same day the nominations were revealed, the winners of the Artisan categories were announced, with Gotye and the album personnel winning all three.
On 27 November 2011, Gotye won three ARIA Awards: Best Male Artist, Best Pop Release and Single of the Year for 'Somebody That I Used to Know'. Kimbra, who collaborated with him on the song, also won the ARIA award for Best Female Artist.
'Somebody That I Used to Know' the single, reached Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the week ending 28 April 2012, giving Gotye his first U.S. Number 1 single and making him the first Australian artist to reach Number 1 in the U.S. since Savage Garden in 2000.
He was nominated for 3 Grammy Awards in December 2012 and on 10th February 2013 was awarded (with Kimbra) Grammies for Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group performance and Best Alternative Music Album.
It is the first time an Aussie has won the record of the year title since Olivia Newton John in 1975 for her hit 'I Honestly Love You'.
His Grammy Award(s) is the first for an Australian performer since Olivia Newton John won Best Song Award in 1972 and guarantees there will be further success in store for this great Australian artist in the future.
It has been a seemingly fast progression onto the world stage for this amazing young Australian songwriter, singer, performer, musician and artist.
He has shown himself to be a man of remarkable talent with his music yet remains somewhat 'quirky' and different..... a refreshing change that has caught on.
You can download all of his wonderfully different music from iTunes via the button below.