Remona Aly
Saturday 25 March 2017 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

Karaoke and Finding Your True Talent

Karaoke and Finding Your True Talent
Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, Breakfast with Dermot O’Leary


Nowhere else on earth is it clearer that talent doesn’t matter than in a karaoke room.

Just the other day, I took centre stage in an alternative ‘Britain’s got no talent’ show, and belted out Starship’s ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ to friends whose faces were a mixed bag of rapture and shock at just how dire my singing voice really was.

But there was no judgement, no rules, and clearly no skill. Yet it’s also in the karaoke room that the power and ability of real musicians, truly comes home to me. How these artists manage three hour gigs, sing like nightingales, and go on endless tours – is simply beyond me.

Yet it’s not only their sheer hard work and devotion that produces their craft, it’s that they’re maximising their God-given talents. And I believe each of us was born with them – some admittedly more than others. But viewing talent as God-given, makes me realise that I’ve got the tools within me already, I’ve just got to carve out what I am, what I can achieve, and believe in it.

The medieval Muslim poet and scholar, Rumi, said: ‘There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine.’

The belief that my inner talents are divine gifts is what keeps me grounded, and it’s not wanting to let God down that makes me seek to fly.

I’m inspired by the people who achieved great heights, but remained humble, like the late Muslim philanthropist, Abdul Sattar Edhi, whose talent was his active compassion that saved thousands of lives; and like Sojourner Truth, the African-American abolitionist whose talent spurred on the human rights movement, or like Michael Faraday, the English father of electromagnetism, whose talent helped bring us the miracle of radio – and Dermot O’Leary.

Talent shouldn’t be limited to our four walls – unless of course it’s me trying to sing in a karaoke room. Because the greatest talent is one which is shared with others, whether that is one person, 5 people or millions, and it all boils down to finding one thing, and that – as the Foo Fighters say – is the best of you.