A new star adorns the London skyline… Many know this shining young entrepreneur as Jamal Edwards. The 21-year-old’s rise to fame has been spectacular: he has been a mainstay of the urban scene since he started SB.TV and filming a variety of artists in 2006; but in 2011 his passion shone even brighter. Flavour talks with Jamal during Miss Flavour – he’s on the panel – to discuss his journey…
Congratulations on a very impressive year. What made you get involved in Miss Flavour?
I chose to be involved as it’s new talent and the girls are very good. I like coming to events where everyone’s out, everyone’s chilling, everyone’s drinking, everyone’s dancing; it’s good vibes.
“If I never went up in the lift with Nicki Minaj, that opportunity wouldn’t have happened. That’s what I say – just grab every opportunity that you can.”
What was the initial reason why you chose to get into your field?
I was 15/16 years old when my mum bought me a camera. And it just grew from there. I just wanted to stand out and create a platform for up-and-coming artists, and obviously that’s the best way to do it. Everyone was spitting, I was a spitter back in the day, but I just thought why step out of the box? There were people filming stuff, but they weren’t putting it online and I thought there’s a market there.
Before you got into SBTV, we heard you were actually chasing a football career. So are we going to see Jamal running around with Beats by Dre and a football kit?
[Laughs] Nah, I don’t think I’ll do football; but I definitely wanna get into my acting stuff! I went to a stage school for four years before SBTV. I did drama, singing and dance, but I just grew out of it. Now there’s a market I can maybe have a few cameos and have a role or whatnot.
Did you think when you started in 2006 that it would get to this point?
Never have in a million years. So many people ask me that but it just happened over time; it snowballed. I’m overwhelmed but thankful at that everyone’s supporting.
You became the face of Google Chrome this year. Don’t think you even opened doors, instead you created them for so many people. How did that process come about?
Thank you, man! I’ll try and keep it brief… Justin Bieber did one and Lady Gaga did one. They came to the UK to do one and they wanted it to be a bit more urban, a bit more cool, and appeal to a diff demographic. They thought my story was cool so they emailed me and we got it done!
A lot of people must holler out to you every day, asking you to check out their work?
It’s mad. I’m trying to start a team for this in 2012. Everyone thinks I’ve made it, and yeah, I’ve done Google Chrome and I’ve got a T4 show, but I don’t think it’s got to that point. At the beginning of Jan 2012 I can properly set up things, hopefully it works.
A lot of people have praised you and SBTV for helping to raise the profiles of artists that are often overlooked – do you agree?
Yeah, I do; but I never say I made an artist. I’ve featured English Frank, Mic Righteous, Ed Sheeran, Krept & Konan. People say I’ve brought them success, but I never say they owe me. It was 50 per cent their talent, 50 per cent SBTV; when you link up, it blows up, so I would never say I blew up an artist. I did features for them and everything, but it was a working relationship, hand in hand.
As well as up-and-coming people, you’ve also filmed some of the most famous celebrities in the world. Who would you say was your one favourite person to actually film?
I just did an interview with Kelly Rowland with my guy Aaron Bridgeman, the new presenter. That was my favourite one. I said to her, ‘Kelly, this guy’s new so play with it,’ and she did. I was very pleased about that and Aaron was sick too.
One thing we really wanted to ask you about was about the whole Nicki Minaj thing. Her management said something about telling you not to go up in the lift with her… Can you elaborate on that?
I was filming Nicki Minaj and we did the first UK online interview, so we had to make sure we didn’t do anything bad. Her management said, ‘Don’t go up in the lift with her,’ but I asked Nicki if I could, she said yes. So I went up and filmed all the fans going crazy outside. The next day they phoned me up and said, ‘We want you to come down to 1Xtra.’ And so I was thinking if I never went up in the lift with her, that opportunity wouldn’t have happened. That’s what I say – just grab every opportunity that you can.
Speaking of opportunities, you recently became the ambassador for MTV’s ‘Staying Alive’ campaign. Why is that campaign so important to you?
I feel like that campaign is important because there’s a lot of stigma around HIV. There are a lot of young people out there that are scared to tell people, and SBTV is a platform predominately for the youth, so I want to do short, cut, scene films that educate people. I only just turned 21, so if I can do something for all these young people, I will.
As Flavour’s Young & Ambitious spotlight is on you this issue, what would you like to say to any of our readers who would like to get to where you are?
I’d like to leave you with my favourite quote: There are those who look at things the way they are and ask ‘why?’ But I would say dream of things that never were and ask ‘why not?’ Peace!