‘The Voice,’ Eurovision & TikTok: How Duncan Laurence scored a U.S. hit with “Arcade”

Imagine if Kelly Clarkson kept in touch with a Voice contestant from six years ago, and then arranged for that guy to perform his original song during the Super Bowl half time show. Well, that’s pretty much what happened to Dutch singer Duncan Laurence, who’s now climbing the charts with his hit “Arcade.”

Prior to “Arcade” taking off on TikTok and, subsequently, the U.S. charts, it was a major hit overseas. That’s because Duncan sang it in the Eurovision Song Contest — a massive spectacle watched by millions annually — and won. He skyrocketed to stardom, but he owes it all to his former coach on the Dutch version of The Voice, on which he competed in 2014. 

Duncan says his coach, a former Eurovision contestant herself, took an interest in Duncan after the show, so he began sharing his original songs with her on Dropbox.

“I updated [the link] with a new version of ‘Arcade,'” Duncan tells ABC Audio. “A few weeks later, I got a call from her and she said, ‘I have a brilliant idea for it.’ And then she explained to me the idea of sending it to Eurovision.”

Usually, artists who represent their countries in Eurovision are famous, so Duncan didn’t think he was the right guy. But, he recalls, “She was like, ‘I think with this song, you could become famous…you could finally have that [foundation] that you were looking for for so long.'”

Duncan ultimately convinced himself that he couldn’t pass up the chance to sing for 200 million viewers.

“That’s what I was constantly saying to myself: “You can show the world that you’re ready,” he notes. “That’s what I did….And that is what Eurovision was and is to me. It’s been the platform for me to start my dreams.” 

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