150 Pop Stars' Real Names
WOUTER DE BACKER (a.k.a. Gotye)

In a Billboard video interview, singer/songwriter discusses his breakthrough U.S. hit, new album 'Making Mirrors' and upcoming touring plans.

"When I got to the end of (writing) the first chorus, I hit a real brick wall. I didn't seem to have any way to take the song further."

Good thing Gotye kept going.

This week, that song -- the hooky, organic "Somebody That I Used to Know" -- ascends to the top of Billboard's Alternative Songs chart (2-1). The singer/songwriter born Wouter "Wally" De Backer recently visited Billboard's New York studios to discuss his breakthrough -- and, lyrically, breakup -- song. Watch our video interview below.

"Know" also tops the adult alternative Triple A chart for a second week and rises 26-25 in its third frame on Adult Pop Songs. It previously crowned 15 tallies on Billboard's international charts menu.

"After struggling with what to do with it, it kind of struck me that I needed a different perspective. It should be the other side of the relationship. I wrote that part and then went about looking for the female vocalist I thought could really give it something edgy."

Gotye found Kimbra, the song's featured artist who sings the second verse.

The 31-year-old Gotye was born in Belgium but moved to Melbourne, Australia, at age 2. Calling the many YouTube covers of "Somebody" "very flattering," Gotye, revealing his Down Under influences, says the song's buzz feels like a "bushfire that's just taking off.

"Little spotfires are starting all over the place. I'm not trying to put them out, though. I'm running around, trying to fan the flames."

Things should only get hotter for Gotye, who'll embark on his first U.S. tour this year. Currently on tour in Germany, Gotye heads stateside beginning March 22 at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Included in his U.S. schedule are sold out dates at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., in April.

Video interview by Alex Vitoulis, Billboard's associate chart production manager

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print