British Music Entrepreneur Jamal Edwards Has Died Aged 31
Music3 Minutes Read

British Music Entrepreneur Jamal Edwards Has Died Aged 31

February 21, 2022 Share

Tributes have been pouring for Edwards as he is credited with building the foundations of today’s soaring UK rap scene.

THE British music industry is mourning the loss of Jamal Edwards today, the British entrepreneur who founded the revolutionary online music platform SBTV.

Edwards grew to prominence as the chief executive of SBTV, a video and music platform that helped to launch the careers of chart-topping artists including Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Jessie J and many more.

Credit: Jamal Edwards/Instagram

At the age of 15, he launched the platform recording his friends performing in his area of Acton, west London, before quickly rising to fame. He was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to music and was an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, a charity set up by Prince Charles that helps young people start their own businesses.

The news comes as a huge shock to UK music as he attended the Brit Awards earlier this month and reportedly performed as a DJ at a gig in north London on Saturday night.

His mother, Brenda Edwards, is a regular panellist on ITV’s Loose Women and paid tribute to her “beautiful son”. In a statement released on the show’s official Twitter account, Edwards said her family and friends were “completely devastated” and confirmed that Jamal had died “after a sudden illness”.

Brenda Edwards wrote: “It is with the deepest heartache that I confirm that my beautiful son Jamal Edwards passed away yesterday morning after a sudden illness. Myself, his sister Tanisha, and the rest of his family and friends are completely devastated. He was the centre of our world.

“As we come to terms with his passing, we asked for privacy to grieve this unimaginable loss. I would like to thank everyone for their messages of love and support. Jamal was an inspiration to myself and so many. Our love for him lives on, his legacy lives on. Long live Jamal Edwards MBE, MBA, PhD.”

The biggest names in British music have expressed their heartbreak at Edwards’ passing, and the news has even prompted The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to give their condolences on Twitter.

Other artists who were heavily influenced by Edwards and SBTV also gave tributes on social media.

SBTV became a hugely influential music platform for up-and-coming artists within the UK rap/grime scene in the mid-2000s. Edwards began filming rappers on a phone that cost him £20 ($27) and upload the clips to YouTube because he was frustrated at the lack of radio and TV airtime British MCs were receiving.

“You can say my videos had mixed reviews, to begin with, some people didn’t get them, but others thought they were sick,” he told the BBC in 2013. “So I started to put them up on YouTube so everyone could see them, and it just grew from there.”

The platform appeared at a crucial moment in British urban culture and marked the beginning of a movement that would see UK rap become the dominant force in the charts, blaring out from almost every radio station and winning countless awards.

Without SBTV, the career paths of Ed Sheeran, Dave, Stormzy, Krept & Konan, Bugzy Malone, Rita Ora, Mist, Abra Cadabra, Nines and Kano would look very different, and although Edwards has always considered himself a behind-the-scenes figure, he was instrumental in building the infrastructure that has given rise to a global phenomenon.

Rest in peace to a genuine trailblazer, Jamal Edwards.

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Author: Tom Cramp
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