Jamal Edwards MBE is a British entrepreneur, author, and the founder of the online urban music platform SB.TV. Born in Luton, England on August 24, 1990, Jamal spent his early years there before moving to Acton, West London where he lived with his mother Brenda, stepfather Patrick and younger sister, Tanisha. Edwards is the founder of SBTV – an online media platform to discover emerging artists. It launched in 2006 and has helped to launch the careers of many artists including Ed Sheeran. As of 2019, the SBTV Youtube channel boasts over 1 million subscribers. When Edwards was 15, he was gifted a video camera.
He began to film friends on his estate, rapping and performing and would upload them to his YouTube channel. From there, he created the channel SBTV and uploaded all subsequent videos there. Edwards’ rap name at the time was SmokeyBarz which owes to the acronym SB in the channels title. After he left school, he worked at clothing company, Topman whilst continuing to make videos for his channel.
His videos began to increase in popularity with the views in the hundred-thousands. As this happened, he was able to quit Topman and solely focus on SBTV. Initially, the main focus for the channel’s content was the grime dance music scene, however Edwards expanded this and began to explore other musical genres. He started to film artists ahead of their emergence to mainstream markets, such as filming Jessie J’s first acoustic video outside of her personal YouTube channel. Edwards soon developed a reputation for capturing music artists before they gained widespread popularity such as Emeli Sandeand Rita Ora.
In 2011, SBTV was featured in a Google Chrome advert which caused the name ‘Jamal Edwards’ to be searched more than a million times. The ad also caused the SBTV site to crash due to the traffic it was gaining and became the second-most popular UK Youtube video that year. In 2016, SBTV linked with the youth-focused news service, Press Association to expand into more of a mainstream multichannel video. Over the years Jamal constructed collaborations with some of the world’s biggest stars, conducting the first online UK-based interviews with Drake, Nicki Minaj and Wiz Khalifa.
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