Ed Sheeran: I owe my career to Jamal Edwards

September 22, 2022 7:14 am

Jamal Edwards gave Ed Sheeran his first big break 12 years ago. [Source: BBC News]

Pop singer Ed Sheeran has paid tribute to Jamal Edwards, saying he owed his career to his late friend’s support.

The star was speaking at a memorial for Edwards, who founded the online music platform SBTV and was made an MBE for services to music in 2014.

The entrepreneur died in February at the age of 31.

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Edwards gave Sheeran his first break in 2010, getting him to perform the future single You Need Me, I Don’t Need You on his YouTube channel.

That video was how the star’s manager, Stuart Camp, and record label Atlantic first discovered him.

Tuesday’s memorial also served as the inaugural fundraising event for the Jamal Edwards Self-Belief Trust, which aims to help young people at risk of homelessness and to provide entry points to the media industry for people who might not otherwise have the opportunity.

Edwards had also devoted his free time to helping the homeless, she added.

Edwards founded SBTV “on a £20 phone” while he was still at school – but the channel went on to launch the careers of artists like Dave, Skepta, Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sandé.

It was pivotal in documenting and promoting the rise of London’s grime scene, which Edwards saw as “like the punk movement, in terms of lyrics and rebellious attitude”.

As his fortune grew, he expanded into other entrepreneurial ventures, often with a focus on improving the lives of disadvantaged young people; and shared his experiences in the best-selling book Self Belief: How to Be a Success on Your Own Terms.

He died suddenly in February from a heart attack after taking cocaine and drinking alcohol, a coroner concluded.