Interview Duncan Laurence: “I never doubted that ‘Arcade’ was the one”

Duncan Laurence
Image Source: AVROTROS

When Duncan Laurence was chosen to represent the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest, virtually no one knew who he was. That changed quickly when he launched his Eurovision entry ‘Arcade’. Soon after he performed the song for the first time, The Netherlands took over the first spot with the bookmakers who predict the winner of the contest. A Bit of Pop Music spoke with Duncan at Eurovision in Concert in Amsterdam about the pressure of being the favourite.

At the very end of a long press day with around 50 interviews for the Dutch singer-songwriter, we had the chance to quickly ask him a few questions. As expected, he could not tell the journalists yet what his stage act in Tel Aviv will look like and if elements from the under water music video will come back on the screens on the big stage. He speaks enthusiastically about a writing session in Stockholm he was about to start after the events of the Eurovision in Concert weekend. When it finally was our turn, we had to ask him how he experienced the weeks after he was announced as the Dutch participant.

When you were announced as the Dutch contestant for Eurovision, fans from all over Europe started to search in every corner of the internet to find out more about you and your music…
“Yeah, they went crazy…”

And then they found a performance of a track they thought was titled ‘I Miss You’. At the same time, The Netherlands rose to a 6th place with the bookmakers before you even officially released a song…
“Yeah, that was good, right!?”

And then your manager had to make an official announcement that ‘I Miss You’ wasn’t going to be your Eurovision entry. Did you at any point start to doubt your choice because of the reception this track received?
“No, I actually never doubted that choice. ‘Arcade’ was always the one for me. The track that people picked up as ‘I Miss You’ is actually called ‘Wake Up Love’ by the way. Just to clarify that right here and now as well! For me it was funny to see that this song suddenly received attention while I was thinking to myself: “But that is not even the right song!” I was confused for a second, because I never wrote a song that is called ‘I Miss You’.

Will ‘Wake Up Love’ be on your album though?
“I don’t know yet…”

I think a lot of people are hoping it will be…
“I will be performing it during my first solo concert in Het Zonnehuis on the 1st of May!”

You are still the top favourite with the bookmakers to win Eurovision. How do you deal with this role?
“I actually keep telling myself that with expectations comes pressure and I don’t deny this. It is there and it is what it is. There is pressure and of course that brings nerves, but that is okay. I keep repeating this to myself. I feel like that keeps me grounded. The only thing I want to focus on is the music. That is what it is all about and that keeps me calm.”

Eurovision might open doors for you. Which artist is on the top of your list of dream collaborations?
“I would love to work with Yebba. She is not that well known yet, although she did sing with Sam Smith before, but she is a fantastic artist! If you have not heard of her yet, I would highly recommend you to check her out! Other than her… this is a tough question! I would love to write with Jessie J or someone like Troye Sivan. It would also be really cool to work with Oscar and the Wolf!”

Which Eurovision song would you like to cover if you have to pick one?
“I am not sure about covering a Eurovision song, but I can tell you that I still have Benjamin Ingrosso’s ‘Dance You Off’ (Sweden, 2018) on repeat. I still listen to that song regularly.”

Interview by Bart Ensie and Michiel Vos

Keep an eye on A Bit of Pop Music for a review of Duncan’s concert in Het Zonnehuis!

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