Eurovision 2023 is less than 50 days away. And as the artists and delegations get busy with their preparations, we caught up with Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper from The Netherlands as they put the final touches on their plans for Liverpool.
In a virtual press session with wiwibloggs and other Eurovision media, the pair touched on their Eurovision adventure, their plans for a live performance, and defying bookmakers’ expectations with their song “Burning Daylight”.
Mia Nicolai quickly shared her excitement about meeting the other competing acts in Liverpool.
She said: “It’s very nice to meet other acts. I’m very much looking forward to that. There are a few acts with whom we are having good contact. Selena and Teya from Austria, for example. From time to time, through Instagram. I’m just looking forward to meet those people in real life. I’m a bit of a fan of theirs.”
Among her favourite songs, the Amsterdam native noted Israel’s Noa Kirel, Loreen and Austria, while Dion Cooper said that he finds France’s La Zarra “amazing”.
Dion said: “Because we have been so busy in the past few weeks, we haven’t seen all entries yet. I’m missing a few at least.”
“Burning Daylight” live performance premiere at Eurovision in Concert on Saturday 15 April
Their busy schedule has so far barred the duo from performing “Burning Daylight” live as of yet. But in a few weeks time, the pair will premier the live version of their Eurovision entry at Amsterdam’s Eurovision in Concert warm-up show.
Dion said: “I think it ended like that because of the planning. That we were initially very busy with the release, the video… Eurovision in Concert is something amazing. We are going in with a bang. We feel very good with it. It’s something nice to work towards.”
Mia added: “I think each year, they just do things differently. And by chance, it has gone that way this year. Why? I don’t know.”
The birth of “Burning Daylight”
The duo were enthusiastic to share the birth of their Eurovision 2023 track, on which they spent a considerable amount of time. The process initially started with Mia hanging out with Eurovision 2019 winner Duncan Laurence and his fiancé Jordan Garfield.
Mia said: “During the pandemic, Duncan, Jordan and I were together in the bubble of being able to see each other. From the few people that you were allowed to see. And then we watched films often and those kinds of things. One night, we watched a Shawn Mendes documentary. We were very inspired by it and we went writing. At two at night, we went improvising on something. I don’t remember exactly how it went, but with the three of us, we wrote a sort of blueprint of what ‘Burning Daylight’ is now. Then Duncan and Jordan also worked with [Dion] and they called me one moment, saying that they wanted to make it a duet. A duet with Dion.”
“I thought ‘super nice’, also nice to meet Dion. I had heard a lot about him. Then we met each other in the studio with Duncan and Jordan and Loek van der Grinten. From that moment, Dion’s story was added to it and mine too. Initially Duncan had sung the demo, so it wasn’t based yet on my story or Dion’s. Then we added that and created the outro ‘goodbye old life’.”
The song, which is highly personal for both artists, contains stories from their past. They described that they had both grown as a person from difficult times.
Dion said: “When I sing the first verse, ‘I don’t feel joy anymore from the same old cycle’, I think back of when I was twenty-one and that I was in college, that I was in a relationship and that the relationship did not work out well. And that I thought: ‘I’m actually not that happy. What has happened to that childhood dream of wanting to become an artist? Why am I not doing music?’. “Losing myself while chasing highs”, being busy doing things that distract from music. So when I close my eyes while listening to the song, I am back to that time. Eight years ago.”
Mia explained: “The song is about different things for me. Also if you work very hard towards a goal and not always, you get the confirmation that it will work out. That you feel like you need to search: ‘Where is the higher spirit telling me how my life will progress? I’m getting confused. What am I looking for? ‘And “Chasing Highs” adds to that. I was looking for a lot of distraction. I’m not drinking for six years now, but earlier, I did and I went partying, looking for distraction. Those little things come back into it.”
She added: “For me, as I have experienced Dutch culture, growing up here, it’s strongly truth-centred, humane. Melancholy is part of being human. We give a lot of attention to it, because it’s very human.”
Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper comment on qualification chances
On Thursday, several Dutch newspapers republished quotes from Dutch commentator and selection committee member Cornald Maas. The television presenter and culture critic sounded doubtful of the duo’s chances, suggesting the pair may not qualify for the final. He described their chances of making it through a televote-only semi-final as a “difficult task”.
Dion reacted to that comment: “We are just going to do our thing. And doing that as pure and real as a possible. That’s the only thing we can do.”
Mia added: “To surprise people.”
Dion replied: “I have a lot of trust in doing what we’ll do. That will make it the rest not too scary and important.”
Following Eurovision, Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper are planning to go separate ways, but they won’t leave each other’s paths. They said that they will continue to collaborate and write songs together and do not rule out releasing material together.
What do you think about the Netherlands’ qualification chances at Eurovision 2023? Are you excited to see with what Mia and Dion will come up in Liverpool? Let us know in the comments down below!