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Duncan Laurence: "This story has been stuck in my head for years!"

04 April 2019 at 21:31 CEST
Duncan Laurence will represent The Netherlands at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest Stijn Smulders
The Netherlands' 2019 Eurovision Song Contest participant Duncan Laurence talks about his artist name, the way that he created his participating song 'Arcade' and how Ilse DeLange (The Netherlands 2014) has a key role in Duncan's journey towards becoming the Dutch representative this year.

We met up with Duncan in the dressing room of the Zonnehuis in Amsterdam, the venue where he will perform his first - and already sold-out - solo concert on 1 May.

Artist name

The 24-year-old Duncan de Moor tells about how he came up with his artist name Duncan Laurence: "Duncan is my first name. That was easy. Laurence is from my mother, her second name is Laurentia. […] And I changed it to Laurence to honour her."

Creating Arcade

Duncan studied at the Rock Academy in Tilburg, a city in the south of the Netherlands. He was doing lots of vocal training and felt like he actually wanted to write songs instead. 

When Duncan started writing, one topic appeared very dear to him. This was a story about a dear friend who he lost at a young age. She had found the love of her life, but Duncan explains: "That story of her longing for love to come back until the day she died, she wanted her love to come back. He never did. This [...] story was stuck inside my head for years."

Arcade tells about this sad love story, and with the help of additional songwriting from Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy and the latter's production, the song came to full 3-minute bloom.

Mentor Ilse DeLange

Ilse became second for The Netherlands at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest as one half of The Common Linnets. She is a coach in The Voice of Holland and mentored Duncan when he took part in the show. They even stayed in touch afterwards: "We had a Dropbox and I shared my songs that I had written during the years. I kept on sharing them with Ilse, and she kept on listening."

Ilse gave him advice in the process and when Duncan uploaded Arcade he really caught her attention: "After a while she whatsapped me [...] saying this is great [...], when did you write this?" Duncan found out that Ilse liked it so much that she wanted to submit it to the committee in the Netherlands that decides who represents the country at the Eurovision Song Contest each year. 

Duncan did not hesitate: "I was like: let’s do it, let’s go for it. And 1 + 1 = 2, now I’m sitting here talking to She is the one who helped me, advised me and has sent over the song to the committee in Holland. And she is involved in a lot of artistic choices that I make."

The Netherlands in Eurovision

The Netherlands has a proud history of competing at the Eurovision Song Contest with 4 victories. Their first victory was delivered by Corry Brokken who represented the country for 3 years in a row between 1956-1958. She won in 1958 with Net Als Toen, but finished last a year later. Teddy Scholten took the country back to the top again in 1959 with Een Beetje

The most recent victory came in 1975 with Teach-In’s Ding-a-Dong and The Netherlands did not reach the top 3 again until 2014 when The Common Linnets took second place with Calm after the Storm.

The Netherlands set another record when it missed out on the Grand Final for 8 consecutive years between 2005 and 2012 but has qualified from the Semi-Finals in all but one of the last 6 years, finishing in the top half four times. Last year Waylon finished 18th with Outlaw In 'Em.

How do you like Duncan Laurence's song Arcade? Let us know in the comments!