Music Industry Trusts Award 2022: Jamal Edwards MBE to be honoured
Jamal Edwards MBE (24 August 1990 – 20 February 2022) is to be honoured with this year’s prestigious Music Industry Trusts Award (MITS), in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the music industry as a music entrepreneur, DJ and founder of the multifaceted music platform SB.TV.
The award will be presented to Jamal’s family on Monday 7th November at a gala ceremony in The Great Room, Grosvenor House Hotel, held in aid of the BRIT Trust, Nordoff Robbins and The Jamal Edwards Self Belief Trust, the charity set up by his family in 2022 to honour his memory and continue Jamal’s incredible legacy. The trust’s objectives are to support those causes that mattered most to Jamal. The Trust will target three key interrelated areas: (i) Combatting homelessness; (ii) Supporting people with mental health issues and; (iii) Providing young people with essential life skills.
Jamal’s acknowledgement follows 2021 MITS honouree Pete Tong MBE, and sees him join the ranks of previous recipients including Annie Lennox OBE, Kylie Minogue, Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Emma Banks, Rob Stringer, Sir Lucian Grainge, Ahmet Ertegun, Michael Eavis CBE, and Roger Daltrey CBE.
Brenda Edwards says, "It is very humbling for the family to be accepting this award on behalf of our beloved Jamal and we are delighted to have the MITS highlight the Jamal Edwards Self Belief Trust alongside The BRIT Trust and Nordoff Robbins. We know that Jamal will be looking down on us on 7th November - busting with pride that his absolute love of the music industry and giving back to the less fortunate in society has been recognised in this way. Thank you, MITS!"
Ed Sheeran says, “Jamal changed my life. He played such a huge part in shaping the trajectory of my career as well, but I would not be where I am now without him. Jamal’s sharp knowledge, unwavering optimism and willingness to help others whatever the cost meant he changed the lives and careers of so many, not just people in music, and there’s no-one more deserving of a MITS Award recognising his place in this industry.”
Co-chair of the MITS Award committee, Toby Leighton-Pope: “Jamal Edwards changed the face of the music industry in his 31 years, his achievements could be on par with someone 60 years into the business. His influence on the music scene as it is today should never be underestimated, just look at some of the UK’s biggest artists, tours and hits today, and Jamal will have played a part in some way. That’s why he is so deserving of this year's MITS Award. Myself, Dan and the MITS Committee would like to thank the Edwards family for their gracious involvement in the MITS this year. We will celebrate Jamal’s incredible legacy at the ceremony in November and continue to raise funds for the MITs charities The BRIT Trust and Nordoff Robbins. This year, we will also be donating funds for The Jamal Edwards Self Belief Trust.”
Co-chair of the MITS Award committee, Dan Chalmers: “Jamal Edwards was a visionary. He saw a brilliantly creative way to promote new music on a platform and he went for it. When he founded SB.TV over 15 years ago, he was ahead of his time and he forced open the doors into the industry for the talented artists that deserved to be seen. Jamal helped to launch the careers of some of the UK’s best artists and it’s a testament to him that SB.TV’s YouTube channel now has 1.23 million subscribers and still continues to grow. Myself, Toby and the MITS Committee are humbled to award this year's MITS to Jamal this November and thank his family for their involvement."
This is the first MITS Award to be given posthumously, with Jamal also being the youngest recipient of the award, showing the incredible extent of how much he achieved in his 31 years, his endless positive energy and invaluable contributions he brought to the music industry. At the MITS ceremony held in his honour with his family in attendance, the music industry will mark Jamal Edwards’ legacy.
Jamal will always be known as someone who selflessly helped others in every aspect of his life and career, he had a big heart and even bigger dreams. His journey as an entrepreneur began in 2005, after being gifted a handheld camera by his mother, Brenda. His creativity with a camera was sparked, and starting off by filming wildlife in his back garden, his attention quickly moved to recording local talent, particularly Grime artists. These videos would eventually become his business, and in 2006 he launched the renowned platform SB.TV.
Founding SB.TV opened multiple doors into the industry, not just for himself but also for the emerging artists he discovered. Edwards felt the artists he listened to weren’t being represented in the mainstream media, so by using the platform he created he helped to launch the careers of some of the UK’s biggest artists including Ed Sheeran, Dave, Jhus, Jessie J, Young Adz and Emeli Sandé. This led to one of Jamal’s proudest moments - being awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to music. As of 2022, the SB.TV YouTube channel has 1.23 million subscribers and continues to grow.
Often Jamal’s talent for filmmaking and love of music would collide. Before long, Jamal was working with global music icons, he joined Rihanna on her famous 777 Tour and attracted the attention of Dr. Dre, accompanying him on his tour of Asia. Even last year, for instance, he teamed up with long-time collaborator and friend Ed Sheeran to direct his ‘Bad Habits’ remix video featuring Tion Wayne and Central Cee. Shortly afterwards he would go on to A&R Fireboy’s Peru remix, facilitating Sheeran’s appearance on the record. That year also saw Edwards work with singer-songwriter Jake Bugg, directing a brand-new series showcasing the unseen side of Bugg’s story, including his early years in Nottingham and inspiration behind his music style and lyrics.
Directing and filmmaking were at the heart of many of Jamal’s ventures. In 2011, Jamal was approached by Lemonade Money on behalf of Channel 4 to produce an observational documentary, Inside SB.TV: From Bedroom to Boardroom. Going behind the scenes into the rise of SB.TV, it ran for two successful seasons. A few months later, Jamal also featured in a Google Chrome advert, which became the second most popular UK YouTube video of the entire year. He returned to his roots in 2021, signing to RadicalMedia as a director.
Music aside, raising awareness surrounding mental health was also of great importance to Jamal. In March 2017, he made a documentary with The Guardian about male suicide, in which he spoke to his childhood friends who suffer with mental health. He continued this work and explored mental health in the creative industries, collaborating with the mental health charity CALM, writing a column for The Book of Man, and hosting an open forum discussion with British fashion model Adwoa Aboah for 2019’s GQ Heroes series.
As an ambassador for the Prince's Trust, Jamal felt strongly about helping young people realise their own potential and encouraged them to have the self-belief to see their dreams and achieve them. In 2014, at just 23 years old, Jamal helped launch the Queen's Young Leaders Programme alongside Prince William and Prince Harry. In 2020, Jamal announced a partnership with the Department of Education, resulting in a three-part campaign encouraging young creatives to consider undertaking an apprenticeship.
Deservedly, multiple accolades were sent his way over the years: he was named a Next Generation Leader by Time Magazine (2014), inducted into The British Interactive Media Association Hall of Fame (2016), appointed Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Sussex and received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of West London (both 2021) to list just a few. From music to filmmaking, to youth work, business, mental health and fashion - Jamal Edwards made a huge impact. In 2022, The MITS Award is one way the industry will mark his extraordinary achievements.
Celebrating its 31st year this year, the Music Industry Trusts Award is recognised as one of the true benchmarks of achievement in the UK music business and continues to benefit hugely deserving causes year after year. The MITS Award supports two important charities, the BRIT Trust and Nordoff Robbins, and is sponsored by PPL, SJM Concerts, Spotify, Voly Music and YouTube.