Duncan Laurence is a Dutch singer and songwriter. He is best known for his song ‘Arcade,’ which was first revealed in 2019 and later added to his debut album ‘Small Town Boy’ (2020).
He grew up in Hellevoetsluis, Voorne-Putten, South Holland, Netherlands. At the age of four, he began playing the piano, creating his own songs and music pieces. He used to go to an old music school and local theater, where he played piano and wrote songs and poems every day. He studied music at Rock Academy in Tilburg and graduated in 2017. Eurovision TV
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
Family & Ethnicity
I am more than just an artist, I am a person, I am a living being, I’m bisexual, I’m a musician, I stand for things. And I’m proud that I get the chance to show what I am, who I am.”
In June 2019, he announced that he was in a relationship with a man named Gerco Derksen, and in September 2019, he announced separation from his boyfriend.
On October 5, 2020, he announced his engagement with the American songwriter Jordan Garfield.
Band & The Voice of Holland
During the first year of his studies, he played in several bands, which ranged from Motown to Rock and Hip Hop to Reggae. He formed his band ‘The Slick and Suited’ with four other people in 2013 for his semester studies. The band made its debut at Eurosonic Noorderslag, an annual four-day music festival and conference held in the Netherlands. The band then performed at Fashion Week in the Amsterdam RAI and opening for Berget Lewis in the Mezz in Breda, P3 in Purmerend, and the Gigant in Apeldoorn, among others.
In 2014, he participated in the Dutch singing reality show ‘The Voice of Holland;’ he chose the Dutch singer-songwriter Ilse DeLange as his coach. He rose to prominence in the show. He excelled to the semi-finals, where he faced elimination.
In March 2016, he left The Slick and Suited. Laurence and Jihad Rahmouni came together to write Max Changmin’s solo song ‘Closer’ from ‘New Chapter #1: The Chance of Love,’ a 2018 album by South Korean pop duo TVXQ.
At the same time, he traveled to London and Stockholm, where he made music and wrote songs for many artists.
Eurovision Song Contest
In January 2019, Laurence was selected to represent the Netherlands in the 2019 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, an international annual song contest that features participants representing their respective countries, primarily European countries.
The 2019 edition was held in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Laurence won it with 498 points from 41 international juries and the public vote. He is the fifth Dutch entrant to win the competition. Due to the worldwide COVID pandemic, Laurence became the longest-reigning winner of Eurovision, holding the title for two consecutive years.
Albums & Singles
In March 2019, his song ‘Arcade’ was first revealed to the public. The same year, he signed a record deal with Capitol Records. In May 2020, Duncan Laurence dropped his first extended play ‘Worlds on Fire.’ The album included singles like Arcade, Love Don’t Hate It, and Someone Else. The album peaked at 64 on the Dutch Album Top 100 chart and 12 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.
In November 2020, Duncan’s first studio album ‘Small Town Boy’ was released. His song ‘Arcade’ from 2019 was released as the lead single of the album. The album peaked at 6 on the Dutch Album Top 100 chart, 94 on the Belgium chart, and 12 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart. The album received Platinum certification for 40,000 sales and streaming, just three days after its release.
The song ‘Archade’ from the album peaked at 1 on Dutch Single Top 100 chart, 45 on the Canadian Single chart, 29 on the UK Single Chart, and 100 on the US Single chart. In the second half of 2020, his single ‘Archade’ went viral on the social media platform TikTok, which resulted in the song getting more charts success and rise in streaming on various platforms. Talking about his Archade in an interview, he said,
Arcade was inspired by the story of someone I loved deeply, who died at a young age. The words, chords and melodies came to me automatically as if they fell from the sky. When Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy helped me finish the song it got a much larger scope. It changed from a very personal story to a story that everyone can connect to. Arcade is a song about longing… longing for love… longing for something that seems out of reach. And it speaks of hope. Hope, that you will find what you need in life.”
In January 2021, Archade became the most-streamed Eurovision song ever on Spotify. In March 2021, Laurence made his US television debut and performed “Arcade” on Today. He then performed the song’s due version with Fletcher on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. In April 2021, Archade became the first Eurovision-winning song in 45 years to chart in the Billboard Hot 100.
Awards & Achievements
- National in 2020
- International for the song ‘Archade’ in 2020
- Marcel Bezençon Awards – Press Award for the song ‘Arcade’ in 2019
- Edison Award for Best Song for ‘Archade’ in 2020
- Band(s): U2, Queen, Snow Patrol, Coldplay, The Fray, Paramore, Fleetwood Mac, Die Antwoord
- Album(s): Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, Back To Black by Ami Winehouse
- Singer(s): Elvis Presley, Alex Vargas, Sam Smith, Adele, Troy Sivan, Allie X, Noah Cyrus, Jessie J, Tom Odell
- Song: Dance You Off by Benjamin Ingrosso
- Film: Harry Potter series
- Book: Harry Potter series
- Duncan likes listening to music and producing songs, even in his leisure time. He says that AirPods and his laptop are two things that he always carries while traveling.
- Because he was born prematurely, his parents named him ‘Duncan,’ which means dark warrior in Gaelic. ESC Today
- While talking about how he came up with the name ‘Laurence,’ Duncan replied that the name came from his mother’s second name, Laurentia. ESC Today He said,
Duncan is my first name. That was easy. Laurence is from my mother, her second name is Laurentia. […] And I changed it to Laurence to honour her.”
- In February 2020, he revealed that he has a motor disorder affect in his right hand due to oxygen deprivation at birth. Talking about it in an Instagram post, he said,
When I was born, I didn’t get enough oxygen, which caused epileptic seizures during my first few days as a new born child. I’m glad and grateful it only resulted in just some damage on the left side of my brains, causing a -what doctors call- motor disorder. Easiest way to explain it: I can’t move my right hand properly.”
- Duncan grew up in a town that was foreign to music. Music was not part of the regular school system. However, he was drawn to music at a young age.
- As a child, he faced a lot of bullying and couldn’t defend himself. This drew him to the world of music, where he found himself safe and at peace. Talking about it in an interview, he said,
I was bullied a lot when I was younger. I had a tough time in school from the age of four until I was eighteen. The school wasn’t a safe place for me, but my home, specifically my room, was because I had music. I couldn’t be myself. All that negativity I took home and locked myself up in my room. I would play my piano and write songs. It was a way to dump all that negativity into melodies, chords, lyrics and turn it into beautiful songs. I could be myself, make mistakes and tell my own stories, in a safe world, created by music.”
- In 2017, he was featured in the song ‘Laat Gaan’ by the Dutch artist Sjors van der Panne.
- He has two tattoos on his right arm.