The cellist who moved the nation to tears during the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in 2018 has received an MBE in the New Year Honours for his service to music.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 20, from Nottingham, said he was ‘absolutely thrilled’ after received the distinction for his service to music.
The cellist was hand-picked to play at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding on 19 May 2018 in Windsor.
He was also the first black musician to win BBC Musician of the Year in 2016.
Sharing the news online, Sheku said he was thrilled by the appointment and thanked his parents for their support in a touching post.
Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 20, performing at the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in May 2018 in Windsor. The musician was honoured with an MBE on the New Year Honour list, for his service to music
The Duke of Duchess of Sussex had hand-picked the cellist to play on their big day, two years after he won the BBC Young Musician competition in 2016. Pictured exchanging a kiss as husband and wife on the step of St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on 19 May 2016
In an Instagram post, he wrote: ‘I was so lucky to have the dedicated support of my parents in giving me the opportunity to have specialist music lessons from a young child,’ he said.
‘I also had incredible support from the state schools I attended in Nottingham where music was promoted for its value in developing listening skills, teamwork, self-expression and hard work.’
‘The love and enjoyment for this great art is something that should be available to everyone, regardless of background,’ he added.
‘I am committed to continuing my work with organisations such as London Music Masters and Future Talent to reinforce the benefits of access to music,’ he said.
In an Instagram post, Sheku shared how ‘absolutely thrilled’ he was at the news he had received an MBE and thanked his parents for their support
After making the rounds on several variety shows including Britain’s Got Talent where he appeared with his siblings in 2013, Sheku’s debut album ‘Inspiration’ became one of the biggest-selling classical music albums of 2018.
His appearance at the royal wedding only boosted his sales further and that same year, Sheku became the youngest cellist ever to make the Inspiration became one of the biggest-selling classical music albums in 2018.
Sheku, who studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, has previously spoken out about funding cuts in state schools for music lessons.
In 2018, following steady sales, he donated £3,000 to his old school – matched by another £3,000 from his record label Decca – to fund music tuition for ten pupils to learn cello.
Sheku wowed crowds on Britain’s Got Talent in 2015, before winning the BBC Young Musician competition a year later. Pictured performing at the T.J. Martell Foundation in New York on October 15 2018
In 2015, Sheku and his siblings wowed the crowds of Britain’s Got Talent with with team performance, which led him to compete on the BBC’s Young Musician programme.
He won, becoming the first black man to win the competition since its 1978.
Sheku said his performance at the royal wedding under the direction of renowned conductor Christopher-Warren-Green was ‘amazing.’
On that day, the cellist moved 18 million of UK viewers with three tracks chosen by the couple as they signed the wedding register out of the audience’s sight.
It was revealed that Meghan called him personally to ask him to perform after Prince Harry saw him play at an event in support of the Antiguan charity the Halo Foundation.
He admitted he would probably wouldn’t have picked up the phone, had he not been told beforehand that she would be calling him.
He performed for the couple again later in the year at the Royal Variety Performance.
‘They were happy to see me again and enjoyed the performance and thanked me for performing in May,’ he told the Guardian It was really nice to perform for them and this time they were able to watch it.’
The cellist is now touring in the US and his new album is expected to be released on 10 January 2020.