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Wally (Wouter) De Backer

b. 1980

Wally (Wouter) De Backer (b. 1980), a popular multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter is known as ‘Goyte’, pronounced Gauthier, derived from his Flemish parents’ pet name for him. He has won numerous international popular music awards and topped Australian, UK and US charts. When De Backer was two years old his family moved to Australia from Belgium, settling in Montmorency, Victoria. De Backer learned piano and drums from an early age and formed a band, Downstares, while attending Parade College. When this band dissolved at the end of high school, De Backer started experimenting with electronic music and sampling, developing the distinctive and experimental sound that has become his trademark. De Backer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne.

De Backer’s first self-produced and self-promoted four-track EP, released in 2001 when he was 21, was well received by radio stations and became part of his first album Boardface in 2003. Living in Melbourne, working at a local library and playing drums with band The Basics from 2004, De Backer’s second self-produced album Like Drawing Blood was voted by Triple J listeners Best Album of 2006. The following year he won the ARIA for best male artist, the first of five ARIAs he has received to date. De Backer’s 2011 single ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ reached No. 1 in 18 countries, including the UK and US and was the top-selling song on iTunes in 46 countries. In 2013, he won Grammy Awards for record of the year, best pop duo/group performance and, for his third album Making Mirrors, best alternative music album. In February 2013, the National Film and Sound Archive launched Fractured Heart, an interactive sound and light sculpture designed and built in collaboration with De Backer. The Basics, with De Backer, continue to tour and have released four albums. De Backer’s ability to maintain his artistic integrity, independence and experimental approach is an example of self-made success built on perseverance and exceptional talent in a difficult industry. While De Backer is comparatively early in his career, his achievements are so significant that his continuing place in Australian popular music history is assured.

Updated 2018
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