On stage, it's all about portraying the music for Cyprus this year. There are no gimmicks, special tricks or pyrotechnics as with a lot of other entries in Oslo. Jon is wearing a white jacket with blue jeans and trainers and is playing his guitar throughout the song.
The Islanders team comprises of a female pianist, male electric guitar player, a male drummer who is on a raised platform, plus one male and one female backing vocalist. The pianist is also providing backing vocals. The stage backdrop is dark, and at times when lit with blue lights resembles a starry night time sky.
The Cypriot delegation showed their approval of the rehearsals as they all clapped loudly afterwards and displayed a united thumbs up in the air towards Jon and the Islanders. There was also a personal endorsement from the floor manager, who unusually made a direct remark about the performance saying "Nice music, nice song, nice drums, all nice!".
Well received down under
Jon and the team began the press conference by introducing themselves and explaining how the team was put together. He adds " We're quite an international mix of people. The composer and lyricist is from Cyprus and within the team we have members from England, Wales and Norway also. We didn't plan it this way originally. Nasos the composer communicated by internet with our producer Jon Gregory, he produced the song and made it in to a single, then sent it back to promote. After that came the decision to enter for the Eurovision Song Contest for Cyprus, and then of course we were approved for the final and had to put the band together."
Jon also admitted to being in his bedroom playing acoustic music sat in his underpants when he found out he would be entering the Cypriot national selection for Europe's Favourite TV Show. Producer Jon Gregory then added "We first thought that we would be going to Cyprus for a bit of a holiday, but then of course we won!"
Nasos the composer told the press that Life Looks Better In Spring was a love song talking about how time changes people, and that it talks about hope that eventually comes and the start of something new.
Australian radio's Alistair Birch informed Jon that he had sent a playlist of this years contest entries to 50 radio stations in Australia, and that Life Looks Better In Spring was number one on that list in popularity.
Jon had previously been working as a session musician. He said "I went to university in the hope of becoming very professional. I left though as I had plenty of work outside of uni. I was making money from being in function bands, musical theatre work as well as being a singer and songwriter. I don't ask for much, just throw me a couple of free beers here and there and I'm all yours!!. In fact, if we were to somehow win this contest, I would celebrate by touring Europe and cashing in on a month of free beer!."
Nasos Lambrianides and Melis Konstantinos, the composers of the Cypriot song this year, were faced with a problem when entering it to the Cypriot heats – they didn’t have anyone to produce or to sing it! So, like most people these days who are looking for something – they went online and their surfing led them to Wales and to music producer Jon Gregory. Jon suggested that the songwriters take a look at an online demo of musician Jon Lilygreen. Lilygreen is 22 years' old and is a professional working musician who has been involved with many styles of old and contemporary music. As well as singing, Jon composes his own songs and is a very talented guitar player. He is well known in his home town of Newport where he performs acoustic sets at local clubs. The Islanders - the group Jon will be on stage with - has an international line-up with performers from all over Europe – Wales, Scotland, England, Oslo and of course Cyprus.