Richard Niles


RICHARD NILES’ career spans TV & film, pop, R&B, rock and jazz as a composer, producer, songwriter/lyricist, arranger, conductor, broadcaster, recording artist, guitarist, author and educator. He has contributed to over 40 pop hits.

Pop credits include: Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, James Brown, Tina Turner, Lulu, Cat Stevens, Mariah Carey, Pet Shop Boys, Dusty Springfield, Grace Jones, Joe Cocker, Kylie Minogue, Swing Out Sister, Michael McDonald, Sarah Brightman, Tears For Fears. Jazz credits include: Pat Metheny, Randy Brecker, Bob James, John Patitucci, Jane Monheit, Jim Mullen, Blake Aaron, Danny Gottlieb, Mark Egan, Gary Husband, Chris Hunter, Nigel Hitchcock and Bob Mintzer. Conductor for BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Big Band and Musical Director for TV series Don’t Mis Wax, David Essex, Leo Sayer and Michael Ball.

CDs as composer/guitarist/leader include Hi-Tek, Santa Rita and Club Deranged. He has led his jazz orchestra, BANDZILLA since 1986 and has released two CDs, BLUE MOVIES and BANDZILLA RISES!!! and performed with Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, Leo Sayer and Randy Brecker. ( Niles has also worked with Don Peake and The Wrecking Crew All Stars.

Niles’ music for TV & film includes Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, A Christmas Carol and numerous TV commercials (including McDonalds, Max Factor and Kellogg’s). His score for The Strike, (C4/Comic Strip Films) won The Golden Rose Of Montreux, Honorable Mention for Music.
Niles’ songs have been recorded by Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Leo Sayer, Randy Brecker, Clive Griffin,
Silje Nergaard, Hue & Cry, Deniece Williams, Kid Creole, Bobby Womack and Spike Milligan.
Niles wrote, produced and hosted many music documentaries for BBC radio including his long running series New Jazz Standards (1994—2012), The Arrangers and Pat Metheny – Bright Size Life. His books include The Pat Metheny Interviews (2009) Polymetrics – 2011 (with Gary O’Toole), The Invisible Artist - Arrangers in Popular Music (2014), From Dreaming To Gigging – Jazz Guitar in 6 Months (2015), The Bandzilla Songbook (2017) and Songwriting –The 11 Point Plan (2017)

Degrees: Berklee College of Music (B.Mus. 1975) and Brunel University (PhD 2009). Teaching: Consultant to the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music helping create their international courses. Lectures & masterclasses at The Academy of Contemporary Music, Vocal Tech, Brunel University, Leeds College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music and Rose Buford College, Musician’s Institute, USC, UCLA, CalState (Northridge), Orange County School of Arts, Saddleback College, The Berklee College of Music.

Smashwords Interview

You’ve had a phenomenal 45-year career in music. How did it all begin?
My father was Tony Romano, a singer, guitarist, vocal arranger who worked with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter. I grew up with him playing at home with fantastic Hollywood musicians such as Joe Venuti. I then moved to London of the 1960s seeing groups like The Who, John Mayall and Jimi Hendrix in small clubs. I graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 1975 and all I ever wanted to do was be a songwriter.

So in London I got signed to a publishing deal but I immediately started getting work as an arranger. From that, I became house arranger for EMI Music in 1976 and then was asked to work with Cat Stevens. That led to TV work as Musical Director for David Essex and Leo Sayer. The phone kept ringing for work in pop, jazz and orchestral music, and I started getting production work.
When you look back, what are the highlights?
I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the greatest artists in pop and jazz - Paul McCartney, James Brown, Ray Charles, Pet Shop Boys, Tina Turner, Cher, Swing Out Sister, Pat Metheny, Bob James and so many more. Working with Paul McCartney was great not because his such an icon, but because he is so deeply and genuinely talented. I’ve been so lucky to work with many of my heroes and they all surprised me.

James Brown was a really deep thinker, and so interested in young musicians. Ray Charles was mind-blowing because he was 100% Brother Ray, every minute! Doing the Swing Out Sister album was so much fun because we were doing something so new and fresh. Working with producer Trevor Horn on Grace Jones’ “Slave To The Rhythm” was amazing because it was all about pushing the boundaries of record production. And they give me an 85-piece orchestra to do it!
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Richard Niles online


Adventures in Arranging
Price: $22.50 USD. Words: 51,090. Language: English. Published: July 4, 2020. Categories: Nonfiction » Music » Instruction & Study - Techniques, Nonfiction » Music » Instruction & Study - Composition
Composer/Arranger Dr. Richard Niles credits include Paul McCartney to Pat Metheny, James Brown to Randy Brecker, Tina Turner to Michael McDonald, Ray Charles to the Pet Shop Boys. Beyond a host of arranging techniques and analysis, Niles gives inspiring real-word advice and insider tips from 45 years on the ‘killing floor’ of the recording studio. "Richard Niles is a great arranger” Paul McCartney

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