At the core of Duncan Laurence’s music is a flicker of hope. While the Dutch singer/songwriter—whose emotionally bruising “Arcade” won Eurovision in 2019 and became a global hit—frequently lays his soul bare, tackling issues such as heartbreak, loss, and loneliness, there’s always a silver lining. As a kid, Duncan was always drawn to music. His parents divorced when he was young, and his grandparents’ home was a safe haven.
Music became even more important to Laurence when he was bullied at school. He unexpectedly found salvation when a physical therapist suggested he take piano lessons to treat a motor disorder in his right hand. A stint at the Netherlands’ Rock Academy followed, along with a period of profound self-growth. “It allowed me to finally be myself,” Laurence remembers. “I graduated a year before Eurovision.” During that time, he polished “Arcade,” a song that would change his life. The ballad not only went on to win the competition but also amassed more than one billion global streams. In the US, it became the first Eurovision song to chart in 25 years when it reached number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Arcade” was re-released with a new verse featuring Fletcher. Working with women, particularly members of the LGBTQIA+ community, is a priority for Laurence. His crew on the visual for “Electric Life” and other forthcoming singles, for example, is composed entirely of women. “The time of the white straight male has passed,” he says. “It’s time for a revolution.”
While Laurence’s debut was focused on the past, his new music is “about being in the here and now.” The ultimate goal for “Electric Life” is to promote healing. After all, out of pain comes new beginnings, and sometimes even hope.