Mykaell Riley

Fellow of Arts & Business & Royal Society for the Arts

As a professional writer / producer, Mykaell’s work has encompassed TV, Film and Theatre, but mainly albums, over twenty of them – resulting in over eleven top twenty positions, and three number ones. Here are some of the acts he has been involved with: – Soul II Soul’s, Jamaroqui, Peter Andre, Bjork, East 17, Gabriel, Dina Carroll, Wet Wet Wet, Mark Morrison, The Chimes, China Black, Sly & Robbie, Shara Nelson, Baba Maal and Maxi Priest to name but a few.

Background - Mykaell has had a career in music for over thirty years. He was a founder member of the seminal reggae band, Steel Pulse who went on to win a Grammy. He is also the founder of Britain’s first black orchestra, The Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra for which he has co-written and produced three albums and co-produced a 50min documentary for channel 4

Research Projects:His research focuses on developing the subject area of black British music, and creating a national archive of related content. Ongoing research involves developing a local, national and international Black British music resource.

  • 2014:
    Panel member Open University – Launch of Black British Jazz report
  • External Examiner Tech Music /University West London
  • RSA Films: consulting on Black British Ska, 1979 -1982.
  • Chair ‘reggae month’ Panel: The Jamaican High Commission: ‘Women in reggae’
  • Chair Panel: The Victoria and Albert Museum, Photography reflecting the ‘Black British experience 1950s – 1990s’.
  • Past collaborations involved:
  • Observer: Hull College – validation panel
  • Interview: BBC Radio 4: ‘Jamaica The Harder They Come’
  • Consultant: Ujima Radio – community project on the impact of Reggae on popular music in Britain
  • Contributor: ‘The Globalization of Musics in Transit: Music Migration and Tourism, Simone Krüger, ‪Ruxandra Trandafoiu, Routledge‪ -
  • Song writer /band member: of Dub Colossus; ‘Won Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration’ at SONGLINES World Music Awards 2013:
  • Live performance BBC - Dub Colossus ‘West Holts’ stage Glastonbury
  • British Music Experience: ‘Reggae change my life’ – Panel member.
  • AHRC Application forfunding a national Center for Black music research at the university of Westminster.
  • Chair Panel: SXSW Austin Texas –presented and chaired a panel on the creative legacy of reggae music in Britain under the heading Bass Culture.
  • Keynote speaker: BUMA Culture Rotterdam: on the Creative legacy of reggae in Britain.
  • Academic consultant: BBC – Reggae Britannica – on the legacy and impact of reggae in Britain.
  • Contributor: Masters of the Airwaves: The Rise & Rise of Underground Radio, by Lindsay Wesker & Dave VJ, Every Generation Media - ISBN
9780955106880 (2012)
  • Multimedia consultant: Festival Jamaica 2012’ Stratford:
  • Jamaican High Commission: consultant on music heritage/ exhibition
  • Chair Panel: The Roundhouse Camden: The 1st Bass Culture seminar –on the academic appropriation and use of term bass culture.
  • Chair Panel: Southwark Council Black History Month: ‘Bass Culture’ community workshop.
  • 2011:
    Jamaica Live Festival’ Birmingham: re-formed the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra to headline at ‘Jamaica LIVE’. The event recognized Birmingham’s role as host for the Jamaican 2012 Olympians and the cities historical links with the Jamaican community and Caribbean culture.
  • Research: Black British jazz musicians – Open University /AHRC ‘Black British Jazz’ research project.
Curator: British Museum ‘And the beat goes on’: time, travel and song. Research and curate the story of the Akan Drum – and its links to the Jamaican community and the British museum and reggae music.

  • External Examiner: for Leeds College of Music/Bradford University,
  • Jazz ServicesThe Value of Jazz 2 – A re-commission from Jazz Services, funded by the lottery fund. It formed part of Jazz Services educational content and was completed 2008 as an e-publication.
  • Board member: Camden Arts and business Consortium.
  • HLF Application forfunding a national Center for Black music research at the university of Westminster.
  • 2007:
  • External Examiner: for Leeds College of Music/Bradford University, City University/ South Themes College.
  • 2006:
  • Observer: validation panel Open University /Leeds College of Music,
  • External: City University/ South Themes College.
  • External Examiner: Gateway School of Music
  • Keynote speaker: University Leeds, ‘Race and Cultural Industry’ conference.
  • The Virtual Academy: The research and development of a pilot project, that hothouses the experience and growth of UK black music talent in collaboration with American expertise. Partners: the Arts Council London, The Hospital Group, Overtones. Target group fifteen 18 to 25 year olds.
  • Dub Sweat & Tears: Multimedia photographic now due to tour in 2006/7 with new material. Also reformed the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra. A unique collective of mainly black classical musicians, who function as a multicultural performance collective.
  • 2005:
  • The Value of Report: This is a commission from Jazz Services and funded by the lottery fund. It formed part of Jazz Services educational content and was completed 2006 as a book publication. Research included E-Learning for Multimedia Musicians’.
  •  South Themes College: The development of E-Learning modules for the Digital Musician as an A-level degree. These modules focused on personal branding for musicians.
  • 2004:
  • Black British Music Experience (BBMX): The research and developed of a 16-week interactive module focusing on the black music contribution to pop in the UK for Community Music Ltd. On completion the module was further developed and integrated into course content at the Center for Commercial Music at UoW.
  • Black Composers in the UK and Europe over the last 200 years: The project researched and listed compositions and scores from the black community over two centuries. Selected material was then performed by the Reggae Philharmonic orchestra performed on 20th April for Sheffield Arts council.
  • 2003:
  •  ‘Dub Sweat & Tears’ – photographic exhibition mapping black music artists in Britain over five decades. The project was delivered in partnership with City Hall, Rex Features, Val Wilmer, Time Out, BBC
  • ‘Dub Sweat And Tears’ at Destination Brixton Expo
  • 2002:
  •  HLF /University of Westminster application for a ‘National Center For Black Music’ research.
  •  Taste @ home: The Taste @ home research project was conducted with the University of Liverpool, National Museum and Galleries on Merseyside, Granada Learning, community groups and 120 children from various schools on Merseyside. The project facilitated the sharing of local music history and experiences of music within black families. The project provided valuable insights into effective data collection and community involvement through its workshop, dissemination and outreach models.  Taste @ home pioneered new methods of data collection, identification and collection of objects, and dissemination.
  •  So you think you know about black music: Involves seven schools and the University of Westminster in the live performance of songs, written by UK BME between 1948 & 2002. Project partners: String of Pearls, UoW, Barclays Bank.
  • 2001:
  • Researcher (academic content)‘Reggae Explosion‪Chris Salewicz, ‪Adrian Boot, Virgin Books Limited,
  • 2001:
  • Collaborations: British Underground, British Music Experience, Black Cultural Archives, British library, Ujima Radio Archives, CBMR Chicago, University the West Indies, Jamaican High commission.
  • Affiliations: Performing Right Society, Phonographic Performance Ltd, Mechanical-Copyright protection Society, British library, Black Cultural Archives, Museum of London, Victorian Albert Museum, The British Museum, The Drum, CBMR Chicago, The Jamaican High Commission, University of the West Indies
  • Expertise: 
  • Music Producer
  •  Strategic Marketing of music related content
  • Black British Music/Musicology
  • Convergence Technology for Musicians
  • Music Industry/Consultant
Contact: Mykaell Riley at the University of Westminster
The Black Music Research Unit (BMRU)  Link here BMRU



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