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The Rise and Fall of Gotye: Music Industries’ One Hit Wonder

By Vinno Artono

Wouter "Wally" De Backer, best known as Gotye, was an Australian musician (emigrated from Belgium). His eccentric and soulful songs have a self-fulfilling prophecy sound to them.

De Backer had a passion for music as a child, studying different instruments and performing in bands during his adolescence. With his three high school mates, he formed the band Downstares. This band was the beginning of his musical career.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in 2001 and began his career as a musician with the release of his first record, Boardface. He first recorded a limited-edition EP called Out Here in the Cold, which preceded the album's release. After getting some airplay on a well-known radio station named Triple J, he was inspired to continue producing music under the name Gotye.

De Backer met Kris Schroeder while practicing as a solo artist, and the two formed The Basics to play together. They created enduring songwriting and performing partnership and became regulars on the live music scene, giving De Backer 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. A few years later, Gotye released his second album, Like Drawing Blood, in which he won the ARIA Prize in 2007 for best male artist and then re-entered the ARIA Chart with his second album at no. 36. In 2008, Like Drawing Blood received the iTunes album of the year in the United Kingdom. After the successful release of his second album, Gotye peaked with his third album, Making Mirrors, where he became the star of international success. He went from a known artist locally to a global phenomenon with the single called "Somebody That I Used to Know." The single got 11x platinum status in Australia and 8x platinum status in the US.

The single also peaked at number 1 in 18 countries. It also won the multiple ARIA Awards named Highest Selling Single, Single of the Year, and more, while his album Making Mirrors earned him three Grammys.

Following his explosion in the music world in 2011-2013, it wasn't long until he went into a hiatus where he stopped releasing tracks, and he went into a break. In this period, he launched a few different projects like an independent record label and more. He was known for performing here and there in the next few years, but nothing major happened. Like that, Gotye went from placing the 1st spot in many countries to disappearing without any trace.

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