Last night the UK music industry came together to celebrate a true innovator in music, Jamal Edwards MBE, who was posthumously honoured with this year’s prestigious Music Industry Trusts Award (MITS) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the industry as a music entrepreneur, DJ and founder of the multifaceted music platform, SB.TV. The gala was 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.
Hosted by DJ and presenter Gemma Cairney, the evening saw exceptional performances to honour Jamal from some of the UK’s best names Little Simz, Jorja Smith, Mahalia and Max Cyrus. Key industry figures, artists and the Edwards family, including Jamal’s mother Brenda Edwards and sister Tanisha Edwards, all gathered for the gala ceremony at Grosvenor House Hotel.
Accepting the award on behalf of her son, Brenda Edwards told the standing ovation,
“I want to say thank you to Dan and Toby and the MITS Committee for acknowledging Jamal with this prestigious award. It’s been a real honour to hear so much great talent in one room. I’m overwhelmed and Jamal would be blown away by tonight.”
Mercury Prize, MOBO Award and BRIT winning rapper Little Simz closed the night with an incredible set of songs from her acclaimed album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert including ‘I Love You, I Hate You’ and ‘Point and Kill.’ She joyfully told the crowd, “We’re gonna have a party in here and celebrate this man, everything he’s done and everything he’s accomplished. He was a go-getter, someone that had a vision… This song makes me feel like that…” before launching into her soulful hit ‘Woman,’ and finishing the night with ‘How Did You Get Here.’
Ivor Novello and BRIT Award nominated artist Mahalia also took to the stage, radiating feel-good energy as she sang ‘Simmer’ and ‘Grateful.’ Earlier in the evening, Grammy nominated artist Jorja Smith opened the show with a poignant rendition of her 2018 single ‘Goodbyes.’ The audience then welcomed composer and producer Max Cyrus, who shared a spoken word piece in honour of Jamal. The evening also featured two tribute videos with heartfelt words from industry figures and artists Stormzy and AJ Tracey.
Special guests on the night included: 2021 MITS recipient and legendary DJ Pete Tong MBE, musician Richie Sambora, rapper ENNY, Hipgnosis Songs Founder Merck Mercuriadis, DJ Eliza Rose, and ITV Loose Women’s Coleen Nolan, Linda Robson and Jane Moore.
Co-chair of the MITS Award committee, Toby Leighton-Pope says:
“It was an incredibly special room to be in tonight with the music industry coming together to honour Jamal Edwards. Thank you again to the Edwards family for accepting the MITS award on his behalf, and to Little Simz, Jorja Smith, Mahalia and Max Cyrus for their spectacular performances. We’re proud to continue to raise funds for the MITs charities, The BRIT Trust and Nordoff Robbins and to, this year, donate funds for The Jamal Edwards Self Belief Trust.”
Co-chair of the MITS Award committee Dan Chalmers adds:
“We are very humbled to award this year’s MITS to Jamal Edwards. He was a visionary – brilliantly creative and ahead of his time, making space for rising stars and talented artists, launching so many impressive careers. Thank you to his family for their involvement and to the amazing artists who helped make tonight so special. We hope both Jamal and SB.TV’s legacy can live on and help inspire future generations.”
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.
This was 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.
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.