Gotye aims to avoid being somebody we used to know

Thu May 3, 2012 6:24pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Australian singer Gotye has conquered the United States with his heartfelt pop tune "Somebody That I Used To Know," but even as it hits No. 1 on singles charts, he is eager to become someone fans will always know for his "peculiar" sound.

Gotye has enjoyed a rapid rise in fame, not just in the U.S. but around the world, for the song of a failed relationship that features New Zealand artist Kimbra. But his offbeat music and rocket ride to stardom has led many to consider whether his career will be short-lived. He doesn't think so.

For Gotye, whose real name Wouter "Wally" De Backer, the smash hit song stems from 10 years of hard work starting, like many others, in front of a home computer. He has three albums behind him, is playing ever bigger gigs and there is more music he wants to create.

"What's happening around the world is unexpected, but still a gradual move forward," Gotye told Reuters.

Led by a simple rhythm tapped out on a xylophone and heartfelt lyrics that give "Somebody That I Used to Know" the feel of a lullaby, Gotye sings about the pain and anger of a breakup in lyrics such as "I don't even need your love, but you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough."

He said that while some people think the song recounts the end of a personal love affair and others simply respond to the angst of the chorus - "now you're just somebody that I used to know" - for him it's all about the memories, both good and bad, of any failed relationship.

"It is more about how varied one's feelings can be and how different feelings can be after a relationship or the memories of it, and how that gets confusing and unclear," he said.

The 31-year-old singer-songwriter from Melbourne, Australia finds the song's wide play both amusing and odd to watch as he becomes a sort of third-party spectator to his own music.   Continued...

Gotye performs at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California April 15, 2012. REUTERS/David McNew