Picture: AVROTROS

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!

38 Comments
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Frau Loch
Frau Loch
10 months ago

I am missing the name of Ilse de Lange in this story. She was the one that put the Netherlands back on the map staging wise. She is Duncan his mentor so something tells me that she is involved in this project and will repeat what she did in 2014. Elevating a radio friendly song to a great Eurovision act.

Hansen
Hansen
11 months ago

Irritating song performed by two fake artists with zero chemistry. Longing back to the days with Anouk and the Common Linnets.

Addie
Addie
11 months ago

I don’t know how, but this song just grew on me immensely. When the song was released, I thought, “oh it’s going to be incredibly boring”. But I was surprised at how effortlessly Mia and Dion carried the song. And the ‘goodbye old life’ part is just so lovely. it accurately captures their vocal prowess, I think. The lyrics did seem quite unoriginal at first, but gradually I realised how much I related to it. So yeah. I really want them to qualify. If they get the staging just right, I think we are in for quite a surprise!

Benito Camelo
Benito Camelo
11 months ago

Man, what can I say? I do relate with this song and both Mia and Dion seem to be nice people, but I’m still unsure about their chances, SF1 is stacked!

Benito Camelo
Benito Camelo
11 months ago

Yeah, Mr Maas was shady af with those comments

Timi
Timi
11 months ago

If these song grows on stage, they will be in the final for sure. Let’s see how they sound live, if they have chemistry… Not my favorite NED song ever, but it’s a nice effort with beautiful lyrics for sure.

Cubansigars
Cubansigars
11 months ago

Iam not worried about this one at all
The staging and the live chemistry/energy will elevate the song, that became a personal favourite after the second listen
And Netherlands got a great running order position (same as CATS actually)

Noam600
Noam600
11 months ago

I don’t about you.. I just listen “Unicorn” with Crowd sound effect in the background and I died! Israel 2024? for sure! Loreen who??

I am ready for the dislikes… but Israel gonna win for sure, I’m still in shock!

Noam600
Noam600
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

This song is so anthemic and hypnotic, amazing!

Tulilintu
Tulilintu
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

Could you explain what the lyrics are about?

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
11 months ago
Reply to  Tulilintu

They about standing here like a unicorn (look up what a unicorn is on the urban dictionary), all on their own.

Noam600
Noam600
11 months ago
Reply to  Tulilintu

Unicorn – this is actually a metaphor for the “Jewish people”, the Jews have always been persecuted in history, but still managed to survive for thousands of years when the other peoples disappeared over time, it’s an amazing thing that such a small nation manages to survive, you can say it’s almost as unrealistic as a unicorn. People keep telling ridiculous stories about the Jews (Kanye West and others) so Noa is actually saying in the song that it is possible to change this sad reality of racism and horrible history and create a new, better reality. On the other… Read more »

Fizz
Fizz
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

What did you put in your nose Dear?

ThePointsMan
ThePointsMan
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

No.

Fizz
Fizz
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

You mean The Burning Daylight of what this post is about?? Yeah, thanks alot that a huge compliment . Toda Raba, we will be also in shock if this slays!!

Panna
Panna
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

I might have given Israel a vote in the semi final, but due to toxic obsessive fans of Noa, I will not 🙂

Fizz
Fizz
11 months ago
Reply to  Panna

Im here with you

Pat
Pat
11 months ago
Reply to  Panna

Same. Agreed. The psychotic fans will kill Noa’s chances of getting deserved votes.

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

Okay, so she’s better than Loreen but not as good as Mr Cha Cha Cha himself.

Thallo
Thallo
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

I’ll be honest, I’m a huge Noa Kirel stan. Pantera is probably one of my favorite songs ever, but it’s leagues ahead of Unicorn.

Whilst I know for a fact Noa will kill the staging and perform amazingly, she’s not a winner this year. Maybe she can return with a better song and win, it’s been done before!

Fizz
Fizz
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

Hellooooo Naom600, this post is about the Netherlands entry, Mia and Dion with their beautifull song Burning Daylight.
Why you have to push your fav here?? I bet there will be enough space for that on posts concerning the Israeli entry. Toda Raba

Amar pelos dois
Amar pelos dois
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

Israel is one of the worst songs this year, absolutely rubbish.

Jay
Jay
11 months ago

I agree

Marlinken
Marlinken
11 months ago
Reply to  Noam600

Israel still helping the Jewish-Russian oligarchs to escape Western sanctions fam?

Fizz
Fizz
11 months ago
Reply to  Marlinken

its great your comment could passed the barrierline as I posted a critical comment about the other peoples there abandonned from their homes ( I cant say the name otherwise I might be blocked again), but its so called Freedom of speech an United by music………………………………….hahahahaha, Unicorn, Darlings its my little Pony with bad legs!! Now get back to Burning Daylight!! A true Masterpiece. xx

Marlinken
Marlinken
11 months ago
Reply to  Fizz

It needed to be said my love. We’ve banned Russia and Belarus from the contest, why allow a country knowingly giving refuge to billionaire kleptocrats who brought our beautiful continent to this place? All the European governments know; they just know what will be shouted if they say anything.

I love Burning Daylight! High-quality, understated, classy song!

Fizz
Fizz
11 months ago
Reply to  Marlinken

Thank you, Danke, Merci, Gracias and Dankuwel, HaPPY esc 23 SEASON

Alex
Alex
11 months ago

The song and its lyrics/meaning are fantastic. Meaningful and emotional.

I also think Dion looks great on camera.

They need to go big and creative with staging like Netherlands 2014 which will give them an advantage. I hope they do not go the simple way because it will make the song forgettable. They need a statement and emotions.
SF1 is very tough, also performing b4 Finland and having a televote-only semifinal…

Patrick Pastor
Patrick Pastor
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex

I agree. In this particular semi, right between Czechia and Finland, going simple means a quick death.

Robert
Robert
11 months ago

I just want my country to go all out with the staging.. its a good song that needs impactful and apealling staging

Hans P.
Hans P.
11 months ago

I am Dutch and this is going to do fantastic. Great choice.

Epicurean
Epicurean
11 months ago

I am Dutch and this is going to go nowhere. Poor choice.

WannaEatMySpaghetti
WannaEatMySpaghetti
11 months ago
Reply to  Epicurean

The song might not be impactful but it’s high quality and with an appropriate staging it could shine. Plus, in a year full of high tempo songs, it would be sad to lose this good ballad in semi final.

Amar pelos dois
Amar pelos dois
11 months ago
Reply to  Epicurean

Especially compared with the wonderful song in Dutch last year it´s a big disappointment for me..

hellohi
hellohi
11 months ago

This is more than capable of being a top 3 result . It’s a song people can connect with . Just needs staging as good as NL 2019 and 2014

Zisk
Zisk
11 months ago
Reply to  hellohi

Top 3? It has all the potential in the world to do well but that’s way too far an expectation. Top 10 possibly though.

Lady Vulvamort
Lady Vulvamort
11 months ago
Reply to  hellohi

2014 deja vu anyone? Around the same time back then Calm After the Storm was #28 in the odds, and everyone was calling it boring.

This is no doubt the dark horse of this year. I can see this top 5 in the GF.