Rhinegold Photo credit: Lars Borges

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Sheku Kanneh-Mason makes chart history

6:00, 2nd February 2018

Sheku Kanneh-Mason has become this year’s best-selling British debut artist – across all genres – to enter the Top 20 in the Official UK Albums Chart with his album Inspiration.

The release, which features repertoire ranging from Shostakovich to Bob Marley, has entered the main chart at No. 18, and is at No. 1 in the classical chart.

The 18-year-old is the first BBC Young Musician to break into the pop chart with his debut album, as well as the youngest cellist ever to reach the Top 20 and the youngest classical artist to break into the Official UK Albums Chart in almost a decade.

‘As a classical cellist, I can’t quite believe I’ve made the Top 20 in the pop charts with my first ever album!’ Kanneh-Mason said. ‘It has been an amazing experience and I’m very grateful to everyone who’s supported me. I hope the pieces on this album inspire others the way they’ve inspired me.’

The album, released this week on Decca Classics, was recorded with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and music director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. It features Shostakovich’s first cello concerto – the piece which propelled Sheku to fame as the first black winner of BBC Young Musician in the competition’s 38-year history – and Kanneh-Mason’s own arrangement of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’.

Kanneh-Mason is the top streamed young classical artist, having received 2.5 million streams on Spotify alone.

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