Mykaell Riley

Mykaell Riley is an academic /researcher/music consultant/ curator/songwriter /producer. Mykaell’s career started as a founder member of the British roots Reggae band Steel Pulse who would go on to receive a Grammy. As a professional writer / producer, his work encompassed TV, Film, resulting in eleven UK top twenty positions, and three UK number ones. He also formed The Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra, Britain’s first black pop orchestra – and composed extensively for television: BBC, SKY and Endemol. Mykaell’s a Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for the Black Music Research Unit, and Principal Investigator for Bass Culture Research. In 2009 he co-authored the first National Jazz report and the Value of Jazz 2 and contributed to the Black British Jazz report 2009-2011. In 2016, he received the first major AHRC award titled ‘Bass Culture’, to research the impact of Jamaican music in Britain. In 2017 his first research output championed the Grime Report in partnership with Ticketmaster, which resulted in a change in government legislation in 2017. In 2018 he staged the Bass Culture Exhibition, the UK’s largest photographic exhibit on the impact and influence of Jamaican music on Britain. 2019 saw the premier of ‘Bass Culture’ the film. The story of Soundsystem culture as British history. Mykaell now sits on the academic board for the Museum of London, HKW Berlin and is trustee for Tavaziva Dance and Finding. This Riley’ study is striking: The State of Play Grime Report.




Research interests

Overturn existing hierarchies, and engage with social, racial, sexual, gender, health. TV, film, reggae, bass culture, jazz. 



Riley, M. & Fully Focused Community (2019). Bass Culture film. Westminster: Westminster School of Arts – DCDI. (Full length 59mins). Bass Culture Podcast. 

Riley, M. (2018). Bass Culture Exhibition Ambika P3 London. Westminster: Westminster School of Arts – DCDI.

Riley, M. (2017). Bass Culture Online Platform. Westminster: Westminster School of Arts – DCDI.

Riley, M. (2017). The State of Play Grime Report. Westminster: Westminster School of Arts – DCDI.

Riley, M. (2015). Bass Culture: An Alternative Soundtrack to Britishness. In J. Stratton & N. Zuberi (Eds.). Black Popular Music in Britain Since 1945 (pp. 101-114). London: Ashgate.

Riley, M. (2015). Return of the Rudeboy: photography, film, installation. In D. Chalkley & H. Elliott. Return of the Rudeboy. London: Self Published. 

Riley, M. (2012). Contributor Masters of the Airwaves. In L. Wesker & Dave VJ (Eds.). Masters of the Airwaves: The Rise and Rise of Underground Radio. Every Generation Media.

Riley, M. (2013). Contributor The globalization of musics in transit. In S. Krüger & R. Trandafoiu (Eds.). The globalization of musics in transit. Music migration and tourism. Oxford: Routledge.



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