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Ed Sheeran says he owes his career to Jamal Edwards

"I really don’t think I would have been allowed through certain doors if it hadn’t been for Jamal"

By Hollie Geraghty

Jamal Edwards and Ed Sheeran pose for a photo in matching hoodies
Jamal Edwards and Ed Sheeran. (Picture: Ed Sheeran, official Instagram)

Ed Sheeran has paid fresh tribute to his late friend Jamal Edwards, saying that he owes his career to the music entrepreneur.

Edwards died in February this year, aged 31, after he suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of taking recreational drugs.

Sheeran has long credited Edwards as instrumental in launching his career, after he performed ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ on SBTV: Music, the YouTube channel that Edwards founded as a teenager in the mid-’00s. Edwards has since been credited with helping to propel the careers of major UK talent including Sheeran, Stormzy and Dave

Yesterday (20 September), Sheeran performed at a charity gala at London’s HERE at the Outernet, raising money to support causes that were important to Edwards.

Speaking at last night’s event, Sheeran said [via BBC]: “I really don’t think I would have been given the opportunities that I was given had it not been for Jamal putting his arm around me.

“I was slogging on the acoustic singer-songwriter scene for a very long time, just blending in… And Jamal was this sort of tastemaker.”

Sheeran added: “My manager, my record label, saw me first on SBTV. I really don’t think I would have been allowed through certain doors if it hadn’t been for Jamal,” he said.

“He was just all about finding people and showing people new opportunities, at a time where the industry was mostly based in London.”

The focus of the event was to “give young people the opportunity to thrive in the media industry”, according to a press release. In partnership with homelessness charity Centrepoint, The Trust is developing a scholarship programme and work scheme for young people at risk of homelessness. It will also help to “develop careers and opportunities in the media” and secure accommodation for young people.

The charity event also saw performances with Jessie Ware and Fireboy DML, while Lewis Capaldi made a surprise appearance. US actor and friend of Edwards Terry Crews hosted the night, which raised over £100,000 for The Trust.

Earlier this year, Sheeran paid tribute to his “best friend” Edwards during a special gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

According to Metro, the singer dedicated ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ to Edwards at the concert in March. “We lost a really, really amazing soul just over a month ago, Jamal Edwards,” Sheeran told the crowd.

“He was my best friend, he was my brother. He changed my life. The song that I’m going to play is a song that he put onto his channel and this song opened up every single door for me. And I just want to say that this one’s for him. My brother.”

Tributes also flooded in from artists like DaveAJ Tracey and Tom Grennan following the news of his shocking death.