Meet Your Favorite Video Game Composer: Lena Chappelle
Lena Chappelle, also known as Lena Raine, is a growing powerhouse in the gaming industry. If you haven’t heard of her, you’ve almost certainly heard her excellent music. From sweeping, epic tunes in Minecraft, to the battle frenzy of Guild Wars 2, her sounds are everywhere. She’s an incredible composer and her career is just heating up. Her story is also pretty inspiring both for folks in the gaming industry and anyone else on this old blue marble we call home.
She grew up in a house where making music wasn’t a big deal. Her father is a fiddle player and composer and passed some of his passion onto the next generation. Chappelle talks about making her first song as soon as she could walk. She fell in love with making MIDI music and soundtracks as a young person and then followed her passion as she pursued a degree in music. Applying to jobs right out of college, she hit some dead ends, but eventually found her way into QA, eventually landing a position in design and composition. And we’re glad she did because she’s given us absolute bangers from Minecraft and Guild Wars 2. And also a game whose music is its DNA, Celeste.
Her experience coming out as a transgender woman after she’d already started her career is a heartening tale. She talks about the feelings of acceptance and support she felt from her colleagues and community when they took steps to help her put her new, real name on her already published work. And in an astounding and heartwarming case of the internet actually doing something good for once, she talks about how community members updated her wiki to reflect her transition before she had even thought to do so. She’s well aware that the support she received at the workplace isn’t the norm for many folks who transition, and her visibility is part of making sure that it becomes the norm.
She also has great taste in video game soundtracks. Her number one recommendation is NieR, and we strongly agree.
Check out other video game composers like Bear McCreary, Percival, and Ramin Djawadi.