About me

Mykaell S. Riley began his career in the late seventies as a performer with pioneering Reggae outfit 'Steel Pulse' who went on to achieve a Grammy. In the nineties he founded the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra, who represent the most visibly black/multicultural collection of classically trained musicians in the UK.

He has been a professional writer/producer and performer for over 25 years. Over this period he has achieved Silver, Gold and Platinum awards and contributed to four number 1 singles and seven number 1 albums via his production and writing work.

He works as a music industry consultant and a content developer for music related educational programmes. He is a subject specialist (music/production) for the Open University validation panel.

He is a member Arts & Business foundation, a board member of Camden Arts & Business Consortium, on the steering group for South Themes College, and a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.


My current research involves developing the subject area of British black music, and creating a national archive of related content.

I am the director of the Black Music Research Unit and my key objectives are to promote workshops, seminars, guest lectures and collaborative research projects, as well as to encourage networking of media scholars, practitioners, policy-makers and students of Caribbean music. Our first project entitled 'Bass Culture' aims to highlight British popular music heritage.

Research Projects

Current Projects include researching Black British Ska 1979 -1982. The Value of Jazz in Britain Report - the first national mapping of UK jazz - The creation of BBMX an interactive educational DVD exploring the history of black music in the UK - Dub Sweat & Tears, a major photographic exhibition, reflecting 60yrs of British black music.


Past collaborations include:

  • Black Cultural Archives, ongoing research developing local national international British Black music resource
  • the Jamaican high commission 'Women in reggae' 2014
  • the Victoria and Albert Museum, Photography reflecting the Black British experience 1950s - 1990s' -2013; BBC Radio 4 interview ... January 31, 2013
  • Simone Krüger, Ruxandra Trandafoiu, Routledge 'The Globalization of Musics in Transit: Music Migration and Tourism 2013
  • Ujima radio 2013
  • Bristol Archive Records 2013
  • Arts Council England, British Underground 2012
  • SXSW Austin Texas 2012
  • BUMA Culture Rotterdam 2012
  • BBC reggae Britannica 2012
  • Black British Jazz, Open University 2011
  • British Museum 'And the beat goes on': time, travel and song 2010
  • Jazz services value of Jazz-1 2005 & Value of Jazz-2 2008
  • Leeds University, 'Race and Cultural Industry' conference 2006
  • Dub Sweat & Tears -BBC/City Hall London 2003
  • British black music.co.uk, Punch Records, the British library, Museum of London.