- Ed Sheeran credits music producer Jamal Edwards with his success in the music industry.
- Jamal died at age 31 in 2022.
- Ed has recently spoke out about his best friend in a docuseries trailer.
Ed Sheeran has made no secret of who he believes helped him rise to the top of the music industry. In a recent Disney+ trailer for his docuseries, Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All, the hitmaker said of the late Jamal Edwards, “You have to wait for one person to be, ‘that’s great,’ and for me, it was Jamal,” he said, referring to Jamal as his “best friend.”
But Ed wasn’t just a high-profile music producer — he had a fully productive and creative career, spanning from fashion to writing and even directing. Here’s what else to know about the late Jamal Edwards, Ed Sheeran’s closest friend.
Jamal was born in England.
Like Ed, Jamal was born in England. The superstar producer began his life in Luton, England, but later moved to Acton, West London, where he lived with his sister Tanisha, mom, Brenda Edwards, and stepfather, Patrick. His mother Brenda was once a contestant on The X Factor, per The U.S. Sun.
He died in Acton on February 20, 2022.
He was the founder of SBTV.
Jamal famously founded SBTV, a media platform launched in 2006 and dedicated to discovering emerging artists. Among them were Ed himself, along with Stormzy, Emeli Sandé, and Jessie J, among others. Rita Ora, Mist, and Tori Kelly also appeared at various points on SBTV.
He was an author and a director.
The multi-talented producer, however, didn’t limit his accomplishments to music. He also directed commercial content for Subway and directed the video for Ed’s “Bad Habits” Remix. In 2013, he published an ebook entitled, Self Belief: The Vision: How To Be a Success on Your Own Terms
For his varied accomplishment, Jamal’s portrait, taken by Simon Frederick, was entered into the permanent collection at The National Portrait Gallery in London.
Jamal was very close to Ed.
Per his docuseries trailer, Jamal’s death (according to the BBC, due to arrhythmia caused by recreational drugs), was devastating to Ed, who considered him a “best friend.” “The loss took over my life,” he said in the clip, also breaking down in tears at one point. He “hasn’t had the time to process and be at peace with his thoughts,” he also revealed.
In an Instagram post in March of 2023, Ed broke down in excruciating detail his pain over the loss and other life challenges. “Within the space of a month, my Pregnant wife got told she had a tumor, with no route to treatment until after the birth,” he wrote. “My best friend Jamal, a brother to me, died suddenly, and I found myself standing in court defending my integrity and career as a songwriter. I was spiraling through fear, depression, and anxiety. I felt like I was drowning, head below the surface, looking up but not being able to break through for air.”
During a September 2022 tribute to Jamal, Ed publicly credited his career to Jamal. “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,” he said during a memorial for the producer per the BBC. “I was slogging on the acoustic singer-songwriter scene for a very long time, just blending in… And Jamal was this sort of tastemaker.”
He had a career in fashion, as well.
On top of everything else, Jamal had a career in fashion. The “tastemaker,” as Ed called him, released a headwear collection (per his Wikipedia page), designed bucket hats for the collection himself, once walked on the runway for Hermes, and was one of the faces for the Primark AW19 collection in 2019.