It’s been undoubtedly one of the most successful contemporary songs and duets in recent Australian music history, a match that many saw as made to be. But that isn’t how it was designed revealed Gotye over the weekend during an interview in Toronto.
Gotye’s success continues to surprise even his most ardent followers as he continues his international conquest off the back of the success of his breakthrough duet Somebody That I Used To Know with adopted-Australian Kimbra.
The music video for the single has just ticked over 70 million views on Youtube, combined with more than 54 million for the Walk Off The Earth cover and the countless other parodies or tributes and it isn’t hard to see why Gotye’s star is shining brighter than ever overseas.
No one was particularly surprised when Making Mirrors, off which Somebody That I Used To Know comes from, reached #1 on the ARIA Charts here in Australia. The duet was also a shoe-in for the Triple J Hottest 100 that it won convincingly, and let’s not forget those ARIA Awards just a few months back.
But what we’re sure no one expected was for the album to reach the top 20 on the Billboard charts in the US, or the top 5 on the charts in Canada. Perhaps even more impressive is that Somebody That I Used To Know has gone #1 in 11 countries including in the United Kingdom where it currently sits atop the charts.
So somebody, somewhere, is probably kicking themselves for turning down what has turned out to be a huge career kick-started not just for Gotye but for his duet partner Kimbra too. Yes, you read that right. A ‘high profile’ female vocalist actually cancelled at the last minute and Kimbra lucked out as the replacement.
Speaking to Jam Music in Canada while he does a promotional visit of North America, Gotye revealed “There was a vocalist who was quite high profile in Australia who was all set to do it and then cancelled the night before we were going to do the vocal session.”
“In fact, we met at a festival months later and she was just like, ‘Maybe that was a mistake,’ ” he adds with a laugh. Gotye, ever the gentlemen, is so far refusing to name names to save the embarrassment of the mystery woman.
So how did Kimbra come into the mix? The song’s mixer who had also produced Kimbra’s debut Vows recommended her. “It was a huge hurdle just finding the right person for the song,” adds Gotye.
“There were plenty of times between the start of 2011 and May roughly when (Kimbra) did the vocal and I finally finished the mix of the song where I almost convinced myself that the song wasn’t meant to be. Like I couldn’t find the right person for it.”
Despite months of mixing and recording, Gotye was so disenfranchised with the tune he even tried his real-life girlfriend and singer Tash Parker to sing on the song but discovered that her voice just didn’t work. But he decided to stick with Kimbra and rest as they say is history.
“Kimbra has so much she can do with her voice,” says Gotye. “On the one hand I feel like she’s able to channel all these great jazz vocalists but then with Somebody That I Used To Know what I was really looking for, I just wanted it to be raw and direct. I wanted to hear singing sort of trying to tap into the feeling of it and she did that.”
The duo are set to tour North America together all through March and April, and recently performed live on American television for a special performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
But the mystery woman continues to have industry tongues wagging. Just who was it that turned down what could have been the chance of a lifetime? Let us know your best guesses in the comments below.