Gotye And Kimbra’s Breakthrough Performance Before ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ Went Global

Wouter André De Backer, better known as Gotye, initially found modest success in Australia with his 2003 debut album entering the Top 100 and his 2006 follow-up reaching number 13 on the charts. However, it wasn’t until six years later, with his single ‘Somebody That I Used To Know,’ featuring Kimbra, that he achieved significant success. Released in July 2011, the single topped the Australian charts within a month despite minimal airplay. This marked the beginning of the song’s global success.

In November 2011, Gotye and Kimbra headed to the States to promote their song a month before its US release. Making their first radio debut by performing the song live for KCRW, the two singers gave an impressive, low-key live performance at the studios. The video of their performance was posted online and, to date, has received over 89 million views. However, at the time, neither singer could conceive of what was to come in the weeks ahead for them and their song.

Only two months after their impressive performance of the single at the KCRW studios, “Somebody That I Used To Know” entered the US charts at number 91. By April, it reached number 1. From then on, it continued to smash music sales records throughout the year. It stayed at number one for eight weeks and became the number one song for 2012 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. To this day, it still holds the status as the US’s fourth all-time best-selling digital single, with 7.9 million copies sold.

Not only did the catchy and unique pop song receive attention and acclaim, but the music video for the single also received much acknowledgement for its creativity. The music video, directed by Natasha Pincus, features Gotye and Kimbra being painted in stop motion. It apparently took over 23 hours to paint the duo and film the entire video. The creative music video received over 200,000 views in its first two weeks and has gone on to achieve 2.2 billion views to date.

Since his early 2010s hit single, Gotye has maintained a relatively low profile. He has focused on projects outside of his solo music despite his single’s success. He launched his own record label, Spirit Level, in 2014, as well as playing with his bands, The Basics and Ondioline Orchestra.

Shockingly, in 2017, he revealed that he decided not to allow advertising on the YouTube video for “Somebody That I Used To Know,” foregoing millions of dollars of potential revenue from the song.

In 2018, Gotye made a surprise announcement that he was planning to release a fourth solo album. While still waiting for the album release in 2024, fans can rest assured that the musician who took the world by storm over ten years ago still has more to give.

If you’re a fan of Gotye’s distinctive sound and hit song ‘Somebody That I Used To Know,’ you can keep up with his latest work by subscribing to his YouTube Channel. Follow him on his official Facebook and Instagram page for news and updates. Visit his website for more information and to browse his discography.

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