Duncan Laurence will represent The Netherlands at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with his song “Arcade”. It’s an emotional ballad that’s heavily tipped to go all the way.
Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS chose Duncan through an internal selection process. It’s a tactic the network has used since 2013. However, Duncan is a relative unknown compared to his immediate predecessors.
After his warm reception at Eurovision in Concert and with Tel Aviv growing ever closer, we’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about Duncan Laurence. Let’s do this!
1. He graduated from the Rockacademie in Tilburg
Some people have music in their blood. The Dutch singer is one of them. Born Duncan De Moor on 11 April 1994, he went on to study in Tilburg’s Rockacademie, one of the biggest schools for musicians in The Netherlands. While there, he and some of his fellow students formed the band The Slick & Suited.
2. His band performed at Eurosonic
The Slick & Suited were part of the line-up for Eurosonic Noorderslag in 2015. It’s a world-famous festival which showcases both Dutch and international talent — Eurovision stars Blanche, Kristian Kostov and Salvador Sobral picked up gongs at the 2018 event.
3. He was number one in South Korea
While “Arcade” is slowly gaining traction in the Dutch charts, Duncan can already call himself a number one songwriter… in South Korea! He co-wrote a song called “Closer”. It was recorded by the K-pop duo TVQX and featured on their album New Chapter #1: The Chance of Love. The record debuted at the highest position in the South Korean charts.
4. He competed on The Voice of Holland
This might be considered the moment that started it all. In 2014, Duncan participated in The Voice of Holland. For his blind audition, he performed Ed Sheeran’s “Sing”. Three of the four coaches turned — Trijintje Oosterhuis being the exception. After some deliberation, he joined Ilse DeLange’s team. Sadly, he didn’t make it to the final, with Eurovision 2017 stars O’G3NE winning the season. The show boasts several more Eurovision connections, with Anouk, Douwe Bob and Waylon also serving on the panel at some point.
5. He’s still in touch with Ilse DeLange
Duncan’s relationship with Ilse has continued on long after the end credits rolled. In fact, he first shared “Arcade” with her via their common Dropbox account. According to an interview with the Dutch talk show DWDD, Ilse loved the track and asked if she could send it to the Dutch selection committee. And the rest is history. When our Charlotte met Duncan last month, he confirmed that Ilse will be in Tel Aviv to give him advice. She should have lots of tips, given she came second with The Common Linnets in 2014.
6. He’ll be staged by Hans Pannecoucke
Belgian stage director Hans Pannecoucke is another familiar name travelling with the Dutch delegation. He is famed for his staging of The Common Linnets’ “Calm After The Storm” in 2014, and less so for numerous other entries through the years. He made a masterpiece on the stage once, so maybe he can do it again.
7. He is singing a very personal song
Duncan does not want to explain everything about his personal connection to the lyrics. But in both his wiwibloggs and DWDD interviews, he tells us that the song is about someone he knew who passed away when he was younger. He put his feelings into the lyrics which makes it a very personal song. However, it is also universal and anyone can connect to it in their own way.
8. He is the first Dutch act to be the bookies’ favourite
Even though The Common Linnets came very close to a win in 2014, Duncan Laurence is the first ever Dutch act to be the frontrunner in the bookmakers’ odds. But nothing is decided yet. Two years ago Italy was the favourite for a long time before the rehearsals but only finished sixth. However, last year favourites Israel took the trophy.
9. He is LGBTQ+
A couple of years ago I came out as bi-sexual. It was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Not because I want to fool around with both girls and boys, not because I can’t choose… Quite the opposite: my choice is clear. I fall in love with a person. And how lucky I am I’ve found that person a couple of months ago.
After Douwe Bob, he is only the second Dutch representative to identify as bisexual. Sexuality aside, as his music video shows, he also shares Douwe’s lack of inhibitions when it comes to showing off his ”lekker kontje”.
— Douwe Bob (@douwe_bob) May 4, 2016
10. His first concert sold out in days
Last but not least, Duncan will host his first solo concert on 1 May in Amsterdam’s Het Zonnehuis. It will give fans one last chance to see the singer live before he travels to Tel Aviv. Tickets went on sale on 15 March and they were all snapped up within six days.
How do you think Duncan will do in Tel Aviv? Could he win? Sound off in the comments below.