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12 years after his biggest song released Gotye is now Somebody We Used To Know

12 years after his biggest song released Gotye is now Somebody We Used To Know

He released the song more than a decade ago, but that's not stopped the YouTube views coming in

Today (5 July) marks the 12-year anniversary of a release that helped redefine pop music.

Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used To Know' became one of the biggest and most recognisable hits of the 2010s, with the post-break-up anthem resonating right around the world.

However, the man behind the song has since stepped away from pop music, with Gotye often referred to as a quintessential 'one hit wonder' today.

But why did this song become his only hit of note, and more significantly, what has he been doing in the decade or so since his world was turned upside down?

Gotye in the music video for 'Somebody That I Used to Know'.

Born in Belgium, Gotye (real name Wouter Andre De Backer) spent his formative years in Australia, where he still resides today.

Musically inclined from an early age, he released his first tracks in 2001.

Two full-length albums would follow over the course of the next decade, but in 2011, a single from his third studio album - Making Mirrors - changed his life forever.

Recorded with New Zealand artist Kimbra, 'Somebody That I Used To Know' took the world by storm after its release on 5 July 2011.

The song sold over one million units in the UK in the year of its release, and was downloaded 6.8 million times in the US in the same year.

It also peaked at Number 1 in the charts in 26 countries, including the UK and the US.

Most remarkably of all, the song's music video on YouTube has racked up 2.1 billion views at the time of writing - making it one of the most popular videos ever to be uploaded to the platform.

In spite of this incredible success, his 2012 album tour would be his last as 'Gotye' - with no other original music being released under that name since.

There are some pretty big reasons for this. Firstly, Gotye never planned - or even wished - for stardom.

He also appeared to grow weary of monetising his music, to the point where he stopped running ads on his YouTube videos.

"I’m not interested in selling my music,” Gotye told in 2017.

"That’s the reason I don’t put ads on my YouTube channel, which seems strange to people in today’s climate, but that is a decision you can make. I’m like that with all my music.

"Ads are calling for our attention anywhere we turn in the world.

"I decided it made more sense to focus on creative things and not get hung up on money and lawyers and courts."

While Gotye has never officially retired the moniker, in 2014 he did inform fans that 'there will be no new Gotye music' via a newsletter.

The musician in 2017.

While future projects were hinted in the very same newsletter, fans are still awaiting the artist's return.

Nevertheless, Gotye's hiatus has allowed De Backer, the man behind the mask, the indulge in some other artistic projects.

In 2014, he launched an independent record label called Spirit Level. He has also remained an active member of band The Basics, who announced their retirement from touring in 2021.

His most niche musical project since stepping away from pop has revolved around electronic music pioneer Jean-Jacques Perrey's discography.

Becoming a master of Perrey's Ondioline instrument, first invented in 1941, De Backer has since released a compilation album.

Titled Jean-Jacques Perrey et Son Ondioline and released in May 2017, it sees the 43-year-old remaster his idol's work, which he has since performed live with a six piece orchestra.

In summary, while the artist formerly known as Gotye might be long gone, De Backer's creative spirit lives on through other pursuits and passions.

Uncomfortable with the trappings of fame and fortune, the Belgian has found solace in personal projects, and very much seems to be living his best life.

Featured Image Credit: Eleven/Shutterstock

Topics: Music