We Asked, They Answered: Cyprus
Posted by Caroline on May 15, 2010
They maintain that Life Looks Better In Spring, but will life look better in Oslo for Jon Lilygreen and The Insiders? We’ll find out on May 27, but in the mean time the Welsh lads doing it for Cyprus take on the might of the Eurovision Blog interview…..
Introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you ended up being Cyprus’s Eurovision representative this year!
Jon Lilygreen singer/songwriter from Newport South Wales UK, freelance musician who loves playing live. Jon (drummer/producer) and Sylvia (piano BV) run a small recording studio in the Welsh Valleys and they use me as a session musician from time to time. Cypriot songwriter Nasos Lambrianides sent a couple of basic songs over to their studio Gold Disc Productions to be demoed and they asked me to sing. We thought nothing more about it until Nasos phoned Jon G just before Christmas and said that two of the tracks had reached the final 10 in the Cypriot Eurovision heats. He asked us if we’d like to fly out to Cyprus and perform in the final – we did and to our amazement we won!
Who are The Islanders? We know you’re Jon Lilygreen but what about the rest of the band?
The band was put together by Sylvia and Jon G, and consists of freelance musicians who work in their studio on a project basis http://www.goldcd.co.uk . Jon L, Jon G and Sylvia already played on the record and we then added Katherine Squire and Sean Watts on BV as well as Charalambos Kallonas a friend of Nasos on bass.
What are you most looking forward to about taking part and what can we expect from your stage show?
We’re all freelance musicians who make our living from playing. As well as being good mates we really enjoy making music together and it’s this joy and excitement that we hope the audience can see and feel and enjoy. No fancy gimmicks, just a stage full of musicians who LOVE playing!!
Which is your favourite all time Eurovision song and your favourite from Cyprus?
Of all Eurovision acts ABBA has to be the best, amazing songwriters and fantastic musicianship. We were lucky enough to meet a couple of artists (among them last years entry Christina Metaxa) who have already represented Cyprus in Eurovision in the past and they were very nice and helpful! Our favourite must be ‘Stronger every minute’ the 2004 entry for Cyprus .
Which of the other entries this year do you rate?
Tom Dice from Belgium has a really nice song which we all really like, and Germany’s song is also very catchy. We were lucky enough to take part in the Greek selection so we also heard their entry ‘Opa’ and we’ve meet the Bulgarian artist Miro who was a very nice friendly chap (smitten editor goes a bit wobbly at mention of Miro’s name and heads off for a long liedown…..). Other than that we’re looking forward to travelling to Oslo and meeting all the other artists there and hopefully have time to jam and play with all of them!
Many Eurovision fans have said it isn’t a great year for songs, what do you think about this?
None of us have really had much time to listen to the other tracks since winning the Cyprus heats so we don’t really know the other entries, but we’re really looking forward to meeting everybody in Oslo and hearing all the other tracks live.
Cyprus has never actually won Eurovision despite being in the contest for decades. Do you have a strategy to try and change their fortunes and bring the contest to Cyprus?
Cyprus is an amazing place with the friendliest and most laid back people in Europe! It would be fantastic to be able to take the competition to Cyprus next year! Our plan is to do what we always do – play to the best of our abilities and really enjoy our performance and the fact that we get the opportunity to stand on a stage with some of our best mates and play for several million people! It doesn’t get much better than that and hopefully the audience will feel that joy and enjoy the performance us much as we will. Let’s rock hard, have as much fun as possible and may the best act on the night win!
Eurovision always suffers from accusations of political/neighbourly voting. Do you think the new voting system with the re-introduction of juries has gone some way to changing people’s minds?
It is good that there will be a professional jury of musicians in each country as well as the audience vote, however as long as we do our very best on the night we’ll be happy regardless of the voting system!
We’re told you’re actually Welsh, whereabouts in Wales do you come from? Is there any chance we could persuade you to defect and represent the UK instead (since your song is actuallybetter than the UK one)?
We’re a motley crew and the band has it’s base in South Wales. I’m from Newport, Sean is also Welsh and comes from Cymmer, Jon G is Scottish but lives in the Rhondda Valley with Sylvia who comes from Norway and finally Katherine is from Totnes in Devon. None of us ever thought of entering the Eurovision Song contest and it all happened by pure coincidence. The people of Cyprus have put a lot of trust in us as we were the first act ever in Cyprus to get full marks from both the jury and the televoters so we are extremely proud to represent them this year and we’re going to go to Oslo all guns blazing! However, thanks for the compliment – it’s mad that while our entry was produced and recorded in a tiny ex-miners terraced cottage in South Wales the BBC drafted in Pete Waterman. Whatever you think of his track the man is a legend and it’s crazy that we’re now in competition with him as well as the biggest studios in Europe.
And speaking of which….have you heard the UK entry this year and if so what do you think of it? Any chance Cyprus could give us some points (if we asked nicely, since frankly we need all the help we can get……?)
The chap who is singing seems like a nice lad and like we said above Mr Waterman is a pop music legend. In terms of points if the Brits vote for Cyprus we’ll see what we can do!