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Image for Gotye’s other woman

Gotye’s other woman

MATT SHEA goes in search of the artist that turned Gotye down.

Fun fact: it’s 14 months since Gotye released ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’. That’s 14 months – or 60 weeks – of internet memes, calamitous YouTube covers, even more calamitous television covers, and internet arguments over Belgian and Australian (and Austrian) heritage. In other terms, it’s 420-odd days of wishing Wally De Backer would put some fucking pants on.

It also means we’re now 14 months into the mainstream pop career of Kimbra Johnson. Kimbra leveraged her spiralling, incendiary performance on ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ to propel her own album, Vows, straight to the top of the charts. Now De Backer and Kimbra stand astride our pop culture like a lead-minted, two-headed, colourfully patterned colossus. Obviously, it was meant to be.

Except it wasn’t. In a recent interview on FL, producer Franc Tetaz admitted there were two other singers in the mix before Kimbra was drafted into the studio at the last moment. And during a February interview, De Backer admitted that another singer had been ready to record. “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,” De Backer explained to Canada’s Jam.Canoe.ca, before adding with a laugh, “In fact, we met at a festival months later and she was just like, ‘Maybe that was a mistake.’”

Names such as Sia Furler, Lisa Mitchell, Missy Higgins, Julia Stone and Sneaky Sound System’s Connie Mitchell (WTF?) have since been bandied about by local media. Both De Backer and Tetaz – two happy examples of nice guys finishing first – have refused to be drawn on the identity of the mystery vocalist. But at FL we just couldn’t help but speculate. So we’ve used Google Search, Google Calendar, Google Translate, Google Docs and Google Calculator to help us track down the poor souls who bungled their chance at world domination. Our “definitive” result may surprise you.

Hayley Mary

Disco biscuits. Like it or not, it’s terms such as these that still defined Hayley Mary in the winter of 2011, three months before the release of the Jezabels’ debut album, Prisoner. That is to say, The Jezabels, while a coming force on the Australian scene, hadn’t quite arrived, and Mary herself would’ve hardly been described as high-profile. Then again, she does fit in with the festivals story – the Jezabels shared three bills with Gotye throughout 2011: Groovin’ the Moo in May, Splendour in late July, and Homebake in early December – and she is possessed of an intimidating set of pipes, essential for telling Wally to hand over the fucking records. Still, for us it doesn’t quite line up.

Likelihood: Six Wallys
Better Choice Than Kimbra? Not quite

Patience Hodgson

Patience Hodgson’s the kind of lady you want sharing your song. Spunky, energetic and possessed of a distinctive voice that can turn on a dime from broken to full blown fireworks, the Brisbanite is the envy of many an Australian performer. In terms of profile, Patience is right up there too, and The Grates appeared at Splendour in the Grass the night after Gotye. You’d think there’s a possibility here. Unfortunately, though, the equation doesn’t work on a number of levels: would you really want Patience starring in your artsy Natasha Pincus music video? She’d end up doing headspins and mugging at the camera. Besides, when Kimbra laid down her vocals in May, Hodgson and bandmate John Patterson were likely still pissing it up on Qantas Flight QF835 from New York. Sorry, but Patience is a non-starter.

Likelihood: Five Wallys
Better Choice Than Kimbra? Probably not

Sally Seltmann

Now we’re going the other way. Sally Seltmann hardly has the projection of a Kimbra, Patience or Hayley Mary, but her timeline certainly lines up. “Bumped into her at a festival a few months later,” Gotye says. Well, Seeker Love Keeper played at both Splendour and Homebake, after which Seltmann, Holly Throsby and Sarah Blasko no doubt got shitted off with discussing knitting and vintage fashion, and went back to doing their own thing. Adding a touch of intrigue is the fact that Tetaz has worked with Seltmann before on her 2010 solo album Heart That’s Pounding. But hers is a craft too delicate for the kind of gusto De Backer was looking for on ‘Somebody’. Next.

Likelihood: Five Wallys
Better Choice Than Kimbra? Nuh-uh

Holly Throsby

Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. Like Seltmann, the Seeker Lover Keeper tour bus had Holly Throsby in the right places at the right times throughout 2011. Ultimately, though, her shtick is far too refined for the ballsy delivery required for ‘Somebody’, and there’s no Tetaz tee-up either. Besides, Throsby has it written into every contract that she only ever be photographed from the left (seriously, image search that shit), making her appearance in such an ambitious music video a total impossibility. Later, Throsby.

Likelihood: Four Wallys
Better Choice Than Kimbra? No way

Rhonda Burchmore

Rhonda Burchmore wasn’t at Splendour and wasn’t at Homebake. Nor was she at Pyramid, or Peats Ridge. She was, however, once in a stage show called Red Hot & Rhonda. Really, there’s no good reason why Rhonda Burchmore would’ve been tapped for ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’, unless they decided to make the song about basketball, or De Backer’s mother – in which case Burchmore isn’t even Belgian. It’s fun to think about, though.

Likelihood: Half a Wally
Better Choice Than Kimbra? Naturally

Megan Washington

Hello! Now we’re talking. If there’s one lady you want featuring on your heartbroken hit single it’s Megan Washington, the artist who did a Kimbra the year before Kimbra did a Washington. Washington has the pipes, the expression, the talent and the indie cachet. She’s the perfect fit and would have been at the height of her post- I Believe You Liar popularity. What’s more, Washington was at Groovin’ the Moo in 2011, performing on the same bill as Gotye. Winner? Not quite. Sorry to shit on the parade, but Groovin’ the Moo was in May – a good couple of months before ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ hit the charts. And Washington didn’t perform at Splendour that year, or any other festivals that featured Gotye. The Bamboos did appear at Pyramid Rock over the New Year alongside De Backer, but on that particular occasion didn’t feature Washington. Who knows – maybe she was in the crowd – but there’s nothing to suggest it. Unfortunately Washington, as close as she is to the perfect collaboration, just doesn’t work.

Likelihood: Seven Wallys
Better Choice Than Kimbra? Possibly

Sarah Blasko

Bingo. Don’t think Sarah Blasko was lined up for ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’? Allow us to convince you otherwise. Blasko has an unmistakable presence, the come-hither-before-I-break-you vocal potential, and undisputed star quality. Perhaps more tellingly, Blasko’s dates line up. As mentioned, Seeker Lover Keeper played at both Splendour in the Grass and Homebake. The trio talked to triple j’s Zan Rowe about seeing Kanye West on the first night of Splendour, meaning they were also in the crowd for Gotye and Kimbra’s performance of ‘Somebody’, during which De Backer actually had to ask for quiet such was the excitement in the air. Did the Sydneysider approach De Backer and admit she’d made a mistake? It adds up. The only flaw is that Blasko was based in London for a time at the start of 2011, but that often means very little in this day and age.

Likelihood: Nine Wallys
Better Choice Than Kimbra? A good chance

Gotye Australian tour dates:

Thursday, December 6 – Entertainment Centre, Adelaide
Saturday, December 8 – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne
Wednesday, December 12 – Riverstage, Brisbane
Friday, December 14 – Entertainment Centre, Sydney

Comments

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46097
astrokt

astrokt said on the 20th Sep, 2012

rhonda burchmore is not the same person as rhonda in the racv ads, fasterlouder.

MorningAfterboy

MorningAfterboy said on the 20th Sep, 2012

DRAWING A LINE IN THE SAND! SERIOUS MUSIC JOURNALISM!

Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo said on the 20th Sep, 2012



I don't have the time to complain as much these days I am so proud that you have picked up the slack.
I hope you have a spot saved for your new proficiency in magenta badge.

http://theadanews.com/archive/x1449189809/g258000000000000000eac94bf51ee67c709f35bd74898ba542fa284213.jpg

MorningAfterboy

MorningAfterboy said on the 20th Sep, 2012

Not even worthy of a .gif. You're not even trying anymore.

daverh

daverh said on the 20th Sep, 2012

She's so hot. Like a sunrise.

psulli12

psulli12 said on the 21st Sep, 2012

why is there a wtf next to connie from sneaky sound system? she did all the additional vocals on kanye west's album graduation! singing flashing lights makes her more qualified than some of the others.

mondo22

mondo22 said on the 21st Sep, 2012



here here, she's probably better than all the singers just mentioned.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 21st Sep, 2012

Any one else think Sarah Blasko would have been terrible?

Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo said on the 21st Sep, 2012



http://i615.photobucket.com/albums/tt235/cstalli2/are-you-not-entertained-o.gif

sarahanne

sarahanne said on the 21st Sep, 2012



Nowhere in our manifesto did we use the phrase "serious music journalism" and even if we had, that would not imply "writing devoid of humour and personality." We said we are making a commitment to quality writing to provide unique content: "Sometimes funny, sometimes controversial, sometimes touching."

Matt is a brilliant writer, with a sharp mind and an even sharper wit. In music journalism, even "serious music journalism," there is room for hard-hitting in-depth features *and* writing that is light, playful and entertaining. Earnest 500+ word reviews and naval gazing artist interviews do not inherently equate good journalism. We are not writing about political instability in Sudan - we are are writing about music. Music, which can be beautiful, sad, absurd, hysterical, touching and downright fucking awesome. To look at it through one lens with absolute seriousness at all times is totally missing the fucking point.

The Guardian's John Harris recently summed up the joy of music journalism as: "The righteous and precious existing in the midst of cheapness and absurdity …" and I think that says it all.

And if you don't like a feature, do something more than writing one unproductive comment that doesn't engage anyone, or offer an alternative. You have the editor's emails, if you have a great idea or something you would like to offer then by all means pitch it. It would make more of a point to show us what you can do.

In conclusion, I will leave you with the wise words of Lester Bangs, "The first mistake of art is to assume that it's serious.”

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 21st Sep, 2012



In summary it said:

eadc.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 21st Sep, 2012



Maybe she should have spoken up?

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 21st Sep, 2012



so why didn't she go and write a song about it?

I Awake
An Arrow
Bury This
God-Fearing
All Of Me
New Country
Here
Illusory Light
Fool
Cast The Net
An Oyster, A Pearl
Not Yet

Wait, she did. 3 times.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 21st Sep, 2012

she probably did, but she could never have guessed the song would ever be us #1. i guess she might have been willing to suffer fools a little more or maybe not if she had had a crystal ball.

btw, i think she would have done a much better job. i found the female vox on the track pretty dinky.

I was making a joke based on Sarah Blasko's soft voice. Sezza goes alright though, I wouldn't have taken any shit from DJ Qualls either.

I personally think it would have been better if Kerser rapped a verse.

It could have been about the emotional turmoil of knowing someone and then forgetting them because you have huffed too much glue.

Jesus Q Doom Esq

Jesus Q Doom Esq said on the 21st Sep, 2012

nowhere in our manifesto did we use the phrase "serious music journalism" and even if we had, that would not imply "writing devoid of humour and personality." we said we are making a commitment to quality writing to provide unique content: "sometimes funny, sometimes controversial, sometimes touching."

matt is a brilliant writer, with a sharp mind and an even sharper wit. in music journalism, even "serious music journalism," there is room for hard-hitting in-depth features *and* writing that is light, playful and entertaining. earnest 500+ word reviews and naval gazing artist interviews do not inherently equate good journalism. we are not writing about political instability in sudan - we are are writing about music. music, which can be beautiful, sad, absurd, hysterical, touching and downright fucking awesome. to look at it through one lens with absolute seriousness at all times is totally missing the fucking point.


i'm almost sure it is you who has missed the point. "serious" journalism in this case need not mean devoid of humour, but rather "authentic" and "relevant" journalism.

the articles here read like my elderly mother describing what she heard on triple j today, or maybe womans day with guitars instead of neighbours. quoting the guardian (a fantastic publication, but not for its music coverage) is a good example.

it's ok if press releases and trash pieces are your thing, that's cool. but don't be surprised when people have a chuckle at your boasts of lines in the sand, and your thoughtful, incisive, critical, respected and influential voice.

daveyac8881

daveyac8881 said on the 21st Sep, 2012

This article is too long. What's the answer?

Piko

Piko said on the 23rd Sep, 2012

It does smell a bit like Gotye had come around to the top of the list of muso's with high interest that hadn't had an article for while list. But since when is any other media outlet any different? I'm pretty sure yours isn't Q Doom.

batdan

batdan said on the 23rd Sep, 2012

Nowhere in our manifesto did we use the phrase "serious music journalism" and even if we had, that would not imply "writing devoid of humour and personality." We said we are making a commitment to quality writing to provide unique content: "Sometimes funny, sometimes controversial, sometimes touching."

Matt is a brilliant writer, with a sharp mind and an even sharper wit. In music journalism, even "serious music journalism," there is room for hard-hitting in-depth features *and* writing that is light, playful and entertaining. Earnest 500+ word reviews and naval gazing artist interviews do not inherently equate good journalism. We are not writing about political instability in Sudan - we are are writing about music. Music, which can be beautiful, sad, absurd, hysterical, touching and downright fucking awesome. To look at it through one lens with absolute seriousness at all times is totally missing the fucking point.

The Guardian's John Harris recently summed up the joy of music journalism as: "The righteous and precious existing in the midst of cheapness and absurdity …" and I think that says it all.

And if you don't like a feature, do something more than writing one unproductive comment that doesn't engage anyone, or offer an alternative. You have the editor's emails, if you have a great idea or something you would like to offer then by all means pitch it. It would make more of a point to show us what you can do.

In conclusion, I will leave you with the wise words of Lester Bangs, "The first mistake of art is to assume that it's serious.”

To be honest I like the "In defence of" articles. The butthurt which follows them are classic. If I wasn't listening to 90's alt rock and Slayer as much I would write an "in defence of the in defence of articles".

pluginbaby

pluginbaby said on the 23rd Sep, 2012

he said 'we met at a festival months later'. doesn't mean they were both on the bill at whatever festival it may have been, they could have just met in the crowd!

Jesus Q Doom Esq

Jesus Q Doom Esq said on the 23rd Sep, 2012



unfortunately, i don't have a media outlet. i could never finish writing the manifesto.

maxiejr

maxiejr said on the 3rd Oct, 2012

all close, and rhonda would have been my pick, but it was actually clare bowditch!! surprise surprise!

krudboy

krudboy said on the 11th Feb, 2013

i personally think it would have been better if kerser rapped a verse.


kerser singing gay lovesong... im sure that would be right up his alley.

MorningAfterboy

MorningAfterboy said on the 11th Feb, 2013

Re-re-re-reaction time, junior.