interview with Jamal Edwards MBE

We’ve carefully considered whether to publish this interview so soon after Jamal’s devastating passing, but his words were as positive and inspirational as ever, and thus deserve to be shared.

In the relatively short time we’d been connected with Jamal, he showed us unconditional support and kind words. Since his passing, there’s been countless similar stories of his selfless nature. He was always willing to help and uplift others without looking for anything in return. A true testament to his character. Beyond all his accolades, Jamal showed everyone how to be an exceptional human being.

This issue marks a year of AMBITION’s existence, and its whole purpose is to interview influential individuals like Jamal. We will continue to do just this. Thank you for inspiring an entire generation. A true pioneer. A real legend.

You will be dearly missed Jamal, but your legacy will live on forever.

Where does your AMBITION come from?

My mother is a big inspiration for me. I have always seen her pursue her dreams and it has acted as a big inspiration for me. I definitely get that ambition from my mother.

What has been your single biggest learning after 15 years as an entrepreneur?

My single biggest learning after 15 years as an entrepreneur is that you should never stop learning. There is never a point where we have it all figured out.

From music and media to events and charity, you do a wide variety of work. How important has not putting yourself in a box been to your journey?

I believe not allowing myself to be boxed in has allowed me to expand my viewpoints and ideas. It has enabled me to think in different ways because I am not constrained by a singular way of doing things to impact our communities and industries.

For someone who achieved a high level of success from an early age, it seems your feet are still firmly on the ground. How have you been able to not let success go to your head?

I am humbled whenever someone suggests I have not let success go to my head. I think it is important to have people from all walks of life as close collaborators to be a successful person. When your circle is full of only people doing what you do, or people who are in the same space as you, I think you become slightly oblivious to the lives of others around us. I keep my circle diverse to constantly remind me our world is diverse, and that’s why humanity is so rich in ideas.

What achievements are you most proud of so far and why?

Achievements I am most proud of: my MBE. Delve. Helping a generation of musicians. Writing a book.

Have you actively tried to build up your personal brand or has your work done a lot of the talking for you?

With regards to building my brand, I think it has been a bit of both working hard and having  been privileged enough to meet incredible people who have helped to amplify my story. But my management team also does an incredible job of helping get out there further, to hopefully inspire more youth into business and also break down more barriers.

How have you built up your impressive network and incredibly loyal, engaged social media following?

I actually have not focused enough on building a social media presence if I’m honest. For me, it has always been about doing the work and those that are interested in peeping behind the curtain will find me. My goal is to build stars and talent with game changing IP, so when people call me an influencer, it always throws me a bit because that hasn’t been my personal goal.

As someone who forged his own path in music and media, what advice would you give to the next generation of creatives?

I think the innovations in technology are making the world a very exciting place for the next generation of creatives. Music and media have never been the easiest industries to crack off-screen and on-screen, but technology is allowing us to build and discover audiences in truly democratic ways. My main advice would be: don’t follow the trends, make them.

You call yourself Dr #SelfBelief — how does one go about achieving self belief?

Self belief is a key component to success, I would say, because the whole world could believe in you but if you don’t believe in yourself, it will be impossible to execute anything well. Achieving self belief, I believe, first starts with doing a sort of self-assessment, to understand yourself better. You protect your self belief by accepting we are all vulnerable and it’s okay to speak to others in times of need. You will not have all the answers and that’s okay, you just need the self belief to understand that you have the ability to find the answer.

If you had a microphone and the whole world was listening what would you say?

Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none.

In loving memory of Jamal Edwards.