Skip to Content Skip to Navigation


Raised in Orange, NJ MIKE GRIOT (pronounced “gree-oh”) grew up musically bombarded by many influences. A snap decision at age 8 started him on classical cello; this turned quickly into regular recitals and concerts by age 9 throughout NJ. As a teenager, he listened intently to records by the Isleys, Chicago, Parliament and Earth Wind & Fire. A 7th chair All-New Jersey cellist by age 13, Griot formed a neighborhood funk band, and began what would become a career-long vocation as a musical director. By high school graduation, he was playing tuba in the concert band, trombone and electric bass in the stage band, and sousaphone in the marching band.

Griot’s professional career as a working musician began in college at Howard University, and he quickly found himself an “in-demand” live & session musician in the DC area. Now a full-time “bassist-student”, Griot began performing and touring while completing his undergraduate studies. He also reinvested his earnings by booking studio time, and learning computer-based production. Before graduating from Howard, he had built a small recording facility, managed & booked his now popular band four times a week, and produced a rap act with a video on MTV.

After graduation, Griot returned to Jersey and expanded even further…eventually signing a publishing deal with MOTOWN RECORDS, and beginning his production company – PWI ENTERTAINMENT. The work did not slow down, however; his performance credits include a who’s who of extraordinary artists: COMMON/CARTER BEAUFORD (Dave Mathews Band)/RUSSELL GUNN/GURU OF GANGSTARR/HAROLD MELVIN/OMAR (LYEFOOKE)/LAURYN HILL/MICHAEL HILL/HUBERT SUMLIN/STACY LATTISAW/SUE FOLEY/N’DEA DAVENPORT/BOBBI HUMPHREY/ANGIE STONE/MTUME


MIKE GRIOT has done major sound design & foley work for BELIEFNET NETWORK (, and has recently worked as a staff producer/bassist for the German blues label RUF ( He is also the Founder and CEO of  the South Mountain International Blues Festival in the NY-area, a former Adjunct Professor of Recording Arts at the International Academy of Design & Technology in Tampa, Florida, Talent Consultant and Curator of the popular "Blues in the Loft" series at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, and Executive Consultant for Arts Education at the Valley Arts of Orange, NJ.

Orange native Mike Griot continues to burnish and build his reputation as New Jersey's music man, equally at home on stage as he is in a recording studio, producer's chair, or classroom. Such diverse musical undertakings are not foreign to Mr. Griot, who has crisscrossed the world for several decades as a sought-after bass player in a variety of musical genres including, blues, funk, jazz, gospel, and rock. Performances in dozens of cities including Frankfurt, Dubai, Paris and Amsterdam have firmly established him as an in-demand touring professional.

As an educator, he has worked under the prestigious NEA/Our Town Grant to deliver music instruction and history to students in the Orange Public School System. As an Adjunct Professor, he is credited with designing the Digital Music curriculum at Essex County College, and taught Music Business, Laws & Practices at IADT in Tampa, Florida.

Griot has also established himself as a producer of world-class cultural events, including founding the Essex County/South Mountain International Blues Festival, Co-producing the ValleyArts Hat City Streets Festival and Curator of the immensely popular BLUES IN THE LOFT Series at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.