Our Chief Exec, Nick Massey writes a monthly column in our FM Forward fanzine. Here’s his latest instalment…

“You’re a star, you’re a star

A lamé suit and a new guitar

And I know that you’ll go far

‘Cause you’re a star”

For those of us of a certain vintage (yes you already know who I’m looking at) the lyrics from the theme tune for the mid to late 70’s talent show New Faces will bring a smile to your faces. It was the template for Britain’s Got Talent, it drew inspiration from Opportunity Knocks, whose origins on the BBC can be traced back to 1949 and it mimicked a thousand local community led talent shows from the Brownies to the Women’s Guild and from the Evergreens to the Army.

The reason for this nostalgic wallowing is because over the last few weeks I’ve been privileged to have been a judge at HardRock Rising, Hard Rock Café’s commitment to support music and emerging artists around the globe. And each Thursday evening in March, I sat in the wonderful Hard Rock Café Manchester and saw some really amazing talent. I’ve been entertained, impressed and inspired.

The bands I’ve been lucky to see are competing for a prize – to appear on stage in Barcelona in July alongside the Kings of Leon in front of 60,000 fans. That’s some prize. So sitting there each week as a judge I have felt a weight of responsibility on my shoulders – it’s impossible to say that one band is better than the other on any given night. The musicianship is of a really high standard, the rhythm and tempo is tight and the bands work together to make sure they deliver the sound they want…and so, inevitably it’s a bit of a lottery who wins.

But for me it’s the talent itself that is the winner and should be celebrated and watching a great band rock together is a great metaphor for thriving communities.

We all have gifts, talents and strengths. Some unique. Some common to all. Some instinctive, others learned through experience or practice. They can be an ability or quality that we possess or a particular strength we have. It may be chatting to people. It may be listening. It may be compassion. It may be your sense of humour or your ability to motivate others. You may be able to plan a project, speak a foreign language, paint, sew, drive a truck, wire a plug….well you get the jist!

We may not recognise these talents in yourself but we all most definitely do have them. They may be hidden or undiscovered and we may not appreciate what treasures we have in our hands but once we acknowledge them and begin to share those talents and work together with friends, family members, colleagues and neighbours we can achieve extraordinary things together

Treat every day like a talent show and like the bands I’ve been watching, create your own noise, stand up, use your talents and make a difference in the places where we work, rest and play.

I hope you find inspiration in this edition of Forward FM and that you feel an irrepressible urge to come and share your talents with us.

Good Night Manchester. You’ve been a great audience!