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Walter De Backer

School: Parade College

Year: 1998

Genre: Music

Born in Bruges, Belgium, in 1980, Wouter migrated to Australia with his family when he was two years old. They first resided in Sydney, New South Wales before settling in Montmorency, Victoria. His parents chose to use the English variation of his name, Walter, when enrolling him in school. As a youth, Walter displayed a passion for music, learning various instruments, most notably piano and drums. In his teens, De Backer formed the band Downstares with three of his College friends, including Lucas Taranto (who still plays in his Gotye live shows). The first seeds of Gotye were planted when Walter was given a large collection of old records. An elderly neighbour, having heard Downstares rehearsing over the years, gave his then- recently deceased wife’s LP record collection to De Backer. He’s the Aria award winner, whose megahit “Somebody I used to Know” and spectacularly- successful Making Mirrors album has afforded him citizen-of-the-world status. In July 2011, Walter released a film clip for the song “Somebody That I Used to Know” on YouTube and Vimeo. Directed by Natasha Pincus, the video has now been viewed over 301 million times (as of August 2012). The video is the Number 17 most viewed video of all-time on YouTube and the Number 4 most liked video of all-time. In October that year, it was announced that Walter had been nominated for seven ARIA Awards. Due to the release date restrictions of the eligibility period, Making Mirrors could not be nominated, and the seven nominations all related to “Somebody That I Used to Know”. Walter 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 (Natasha Pincus), Engineer of the Year (Francois Tetaz) and Producer of the Year (Walter De Backer). On the same day the nominations were revealed, the winners of the Artisan categories were announced, with Walter and the album personnel winning all three. In November 2011, Walter 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 Gotye on the song, also won the ARIA award for Best Female Artist. Walter performed the song on Saturday Night Live in April 2012 along with “Eyes Wide Open”. These collective performances helped the single to reach Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending April 28, giving Walter his first US Number 1 single; the first Australian artist to reach Number 1 in the US since Savage Garden in 2000. In April 2012, “Somebody That I Used to Know” broke a 47-year-old record in the Netherlands by becoming the most successful song in the history of the Dutch charts.

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