Born in London, England, in his youth, Cole was classically trained on the oboe and piano, and won scholarships to both the Royal College of Music Junior Department and City Of London School.
Having graduated from City University, Cole began working at the drum and bass label SOUR, as a tape operator and sound engineer to the likes of Freq Nasty and Ed Rush. It was working on Ramsey & Fen's 2-step remixes for Kym Mazelle, however, that gave him the garage bug.
From there, Cole penned and produced "Sincere" in 1998 using a sampler and Atari, which was eventually picked up by Pete Tong and AM:PM and became one of the earliest garage records to break into the top 40 on the UK Singles Chart.
He signed with Gilles Peterson's Talkin' Loud label where in 2000 he produced his first album, also called Sincere, which earned him two top 15 singles on the UK Singles Chart, a prestigious Mercury Music Prize nomination, Brit Award nomination and beat Dr. Dre to win MOBO's Best Producer award in 2001. He received a BPI certification for UK sales in excess of 60,000 copies. Cole formed a live band to accompany his Sincere album performing on Jools Holland's Later Show as well as on Top of the Pops, CD:UK, The Chart Show and at the Mercury Music Prize and MOBO Awards. In 2003, Cole followed Sincere with his Cut to the Chase album, also released via Talkin' Loud.
After leaving Talkin' Loud in 2004, Cole released several singles and EPs via his own Prolific Recordings label. Cole's output on the label has included many notable collaborations including grime artist Wiley and long-time collaborator Elisabeth Troy.
More recently, he has collaborated with T Williams on "Privilege", released in 2015 on Today Records and Tomorrow Records and released "Bouldaz" on Disclosure's Method White label the same year.
Cole has continued to produce for artists across the musical spectrum. Dizzee Rascal's "Bassline Junkie", Example's "Something in the Water" and Katy B's "Blue Eyes" were all produced by Cole.
In 2014, he co-wrote and produced "Nobody But You" for Mary J. Blige with Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes, and again in early 2015 on Napes' own Making Of Me EP.
He has also remixed tracks for Amy Winehouse, Mariah Carey, De La Soul, Alicia Keys and many more. Recently he released remixes of Jess Glynne's "Hold My Hand" on Atlantic and DJ Fresh and Adam F's "Believer" on Ministry of Sound.
Cole has written and produced scores for several major TV advertising campaigns including the Schwartz "The Sound of Taste" campaign and wrote a piece called "Lava" for O2. Cole was also responsible for the construction and design of a new recording studio complex in Clerkenwell called The Gin Factory.
Alongside his producing, writing and remixing work, M.J. Cole continues to tour as a DJ at the world's biggest festivals and clubs.
In 2016, Cole has been writing and producing with several new artists from across the musical spectrum.
He released "Alcatraz" on Redlight's Lobster Boy Records in early 2016. This was followed by "The Rumble" in August 2016. A hard hitting, genre crossing record featuring hotly tipped UK MC AJ Tracey. Cole said of the record that it was "...a slice of London, the energy of now, a fusion of all that is exciting in the U.K. for us."Sincere (2000) – UK No. 14
Cut to the Chase (2003)
"Sincere" (1998) – featuring Nova Caspar and Jay Dee – UK No. 38
"Crazy Love" (2000) – featuring Elisabeth Troy – UK No. 10
"Sincere" (remix) (2000) – UK No. 13
"Hold On to Me" (2000) – featuring Elisabeth Troy – UK No. 35
"Wondering Why" (2003) – featuring Vula – UK No. 30
"Never Say Never" (2004) – featuring Shea
"When You Said You Loved Me" (2004) – featuring Tubby T
"Badboy" (2006) – featuring Laura Vane
"Watertight" (2006) – featuring Laura Vane
"Gotta Have It" (2009) – featuring Digga
"From the Drop" (2010) – MJ Cole and Wiley
"Red and Black" (2012)
"The Rumble" (2016) - MJ Cole & AJ Tracey