The Netherlands: The story behind Arcade; first live performance tonight on DWDD

by Roy Knoops 4,938 views

There’s more below the surface than meets the eye: Duncan Laurence’s Eurovision 2019 entry Arcade goes deep beneath the skin and tonight he’ll play the heart-strings with a live orchestral performance.

Yesterday evening, Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS unveiled the song Arcade by Duncan Laurence, who will represent the Netherlands at Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv. A haunting love song, yet with a deeper meaning. In essence, it’s a story about birth, death and rebirth, symbolized in the official music video by renowned photographer Paul Bellaart in which Duncan Laurence swims vulnerably naked beneath the water, only to emerge into the light – scared and scarred, but also with a new sense of hope.

What was the inspiration behind this striking imagery?

A story about longing, loss and love against all odds

Duncan Laurence says:

Love can be a crazy thing. We run into it, we dance, we fall… blindly. And when it’s gone, all we do is hope for it to ever come back. Until we realize, mostly when it’s too late, that like a small town boy in a big arcade, we’ve been addicted to a losing game.

Yet it’s not just loss of romantic love that Arcade tells about. For instance, what do you do when you know that your beloved will eventually be gone, pass away, no matter how much you love them? This personal story also inspired Duncan Laurence.

He explains:

During my education at the Rock Academy I learned that you may address a big audience without losing your own story. I went searching for stories that are moving and that mean something, from my own life or that of someone else. I found the inspiration in the story of a loved one who passed away at a young age. She lost her love, but always hoped that he would return one day. That hope I put into the song that was created then, which I christened Arcade – the words and chords came of their own volition, from the heart. That’s why it sounded, despite the variations in the song, so organic. In the creation of Arcade I received help from Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy, and it became not only my story but also a shared story. Arcade is a story about the search for the love of your life. It is the hope for that which seems unattainable.

After Arcade I wrote a lot of songs, but to me Arcade feels like the heart of the matter and as the beginning of my search for how I may mean something to others with my songs. Of course I have been busy for years, yet to me Arcade feels like the start of my career, I want to reach people with my music, maybe help them and give them something for along the way. In the case of Arcade I created an advise for myself, an hopefully for others as well.

A life’s lesson: you define your own happiness.

Live performance tonight

Duncan Laurence will perform a special live orchestral version of Arcade tonight, Friday 8 March, in the TV-show De wereld draait door (DWDD) on NPO 1 between 19:00 and 20:00 CET. The artist will also talk about his Eurovision adventure, being joined by official Eurovision commentator and Dutch “Mr Eurovision” Cornald Maas, singer Gerard Joling (Eurovision 1988) and DWDD‘s Eurovision commentator Emma Wortelboer.

In Tel Aviv

Duncan Laurence is all set to perform Arcade in the second half of Semi-Final 2 on Thursday 16 May 2019. His team includes artistic director Hans Pannecoucke, light technician Ignace d’Haese and creative adviser Ilse DeLange (Duncan’s coach during The Voice, Eurovision 2014 with The Common Linnets).