Who’s going to win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest? According to the bookmakers, the Dutch participant Duncan Laurence stands a good chance! But who is this relatively unknown singer-songwriter? And what is his sensitive song Arcade actually about? We looked into it for you!

Duncan who?

Duncan Laurence (Duncan de Moore’s artist name) is a singer-songwriter who graduated from the Rock Academy in Tilburg in 2017. He has been involved with music his whole life and has been writing songs since he was fourteen years old. After his graduation, Duncan started coaching rising vocal talents.

You may know Duncan from The Voice of Holland, where he made it to the semi-finals in 2014 under the guidance of his coach Ilse DeLange.

His former coach Ilse was also the one to suggest Duncan to the Dutch selection board of Eurovision. When they heard Arcade, they were so impressed that they unanimously voted for him!

But what’s the story behind Arcade? Let’s dive into the lyrics!

Straight from Duncan’s heart

Duncan said this about the message behind Arcade:

I found inspiration in the story of someone dear to me. Somebody who died at a young age – she was just forty years old. Her death had a big impact on me: it was my first big loss and it still is. The song that I wrote about this, became Arcade.– the words and chords came, at least it seemed to me, straight from the heart.’

This resulted in the following open, vulnerable lyrics:

A broken heart is all that’s left
I’m still fixing all the cracks

Lost a couple of pieces when
I carried it, carried it, carried it home

I’m afraid of all I am
My mind feels like a foreign land
Silence ringing inside my head
Please, carry me, carry me, carry me home

Duncan’s dear friend never stopped being in love with her husband, despite the fact that he had left her:

I spent all of the love I’ve saved
We were always a losing game
Small-town boy in a big arcade
I got addicted to a losing game

Ooh, ooh
All I know, all I know
Loving you is a losing game

How many pennies in the slot?
Giving us up didn’t take a lot
I saw the end ‘fore it begun
Still I carried, I carried, I carry on

Arcade – Duncan Laurence

Duncan refers to a penny slot; a slot machine in a casino where you insert coins in order to gamble. He is comparing the love of his dear friend to a gamble which she ultimately loses (Loving you is a losing game).

Life lesson

Arcade may be a heavy loaded song, but Duncan wants to give people something positive with this song:

‘With Arcade, I managed to get advice for myself from the life story of someone I cared for; a life lesson: you make your own happiness.’

Did you expect there to be such a deep message in Arcade?

He has won the hearts of bookmakers and lots of Dutch people with this sensitive song, and in May he will go for the rest of Europe. Go Duncan! You have our douze points!

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*The interview referenced here was provided by Duncan Laurence’s management.

– Arcade is written by Wouter Hardy, Duncan Laurence & Joel Sjöö © Spark Records BV, under exclusive license to Universal Music, 2019.

📸: Paul Bellaart