MEET MIKE RILEY
Michael “Mike” Riley was born and raised in Orange County, CA. His
mother was a schoolteacher from Cleveland, Ohio, who made
education a number one priority in Mike’s life. She was also
adamant about voting and participating in government. The
language of transformation that Mike’s parents carried forward
from the sixties informed Mike’s earliest childhood and fostered
a curiosity in him that led to an active high school career in
In addition to being active in music and the arts, Mike was in
several music bands, was a photographer and was also a
local DJ. Naturally, he was president of his campus Black
Student Union where he was involved in many of the campus
organizational events concerning African American culture.
Following high school, Mike attended college in Fullerton to
pursue a degree in music and piano performance. While in
college he received an internship at Interscope Records, which
led to a job as a personal assistant to recording artists Nas and
Kelis. After that, Mike worked in the marketing department for
93.5 KDAY, which is a Los Angeles based hip-hop station. In 2008,
Mike became heavily involved in his local Democratic part by
signing up and campaigning for Barack Obama.
In 2010, Mike linked arms with two former music production partners and produced an EP entitled RPD20x, which featured artists such Kendrick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle, Jay Rock and Crooked before they were the successful artists they are today. The promotion of that project required Mike to learn the production skills necessary to produce music videos. His first music video production entitled “Hometown” was released in 2010 and received four million views on WSHH.com.
With that success in hand, Mike decided to pursue film and photography full time. In 2012, he launched Finally Free Media with several business partners. Over the next three years he directed and produced numerous music videos and short productions. In 2013, the low voter turnout for the Los Angeles mayoral election flipped Mike’s activist switch, and he decided to produce his first documentary film, The Uninformed States of America. The basis of this documentary was to seek the causes, effects and solutions to political apathy and ignorance in The United States. In 2016 The Young Angels of America organization invited Mike to direct their Millennial Voters Matter project and sponsored the development of The Mike Riley Now Podcast. The organization is also incubating The Mike Riley documentary web series, “The Uninformed States of America”. Mike Riley lives in Los Angeles, California.