Music News

Duncan Laurence explains the excitement and the loss that inspired “Arcade”

Paul Bellaart

After winning the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest with his song “Arcade,” Duncan Laurence is now seeing it become a hit in the U.S.  Duncan, who’s from the Netherlands, says “Arcade,” was inspired by several things that happened when he was young: Moving to a different city, and losing a family friend.

As a kid, Duncan moved from a small town to Tilburg, a bigger city that each year hosts the biggest fair in Europe each year.  “To me the whole city felt like an arcade, just this whole new place full of opportunities and full of new life,” he explains.

Duncan says he pictured himself, a small town boy, who was “just seeing all these things, these flashing lights, but also falling in love for the first time, finding out who he is, falling in love with his music.”

That’s how he came up with the arcade imagery in the song’s lyrics, but it was another childhood incident that helped inspire the lyrics about lost love.

“A friend of the family, when I was younger, she passed away,” says Duncan. “On the day she passed away, she kept staring out[side]…and at first we were like, ‘Why is this happening?’ And then…we [realized] that she was waiting for the love of her life — who she had split up with a couple of years before — to [come and] say goodbye. And he never did.”

“It was such a heartbreaking moment and such an unanswered love, that that has always been inside of my head somewhere,” Duncan concludes. “And I combined that story, her story, with my story, when I was growing up as that small town boy.” 

“Arcade” is on Duncan’s debut album Small Town Boy, which was just released in a deluxe edition with three new songs and an “Arcade” remix.

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