If you’re a fan of Lera Lynn, you already know just how special she is.
The American singer-songwriter from Houston, Texas, has just under 250,000 monthly Spotify listeners, and a back-catalogue of songs that range from haunting to life-changing.
She’s released eight albums since the sunrise of her career in 2011, but her new quartet of tracks are being dropped through a new type of media for her: a video game.
Lynn has teamed up with Sega and Amplitude Studios to digitise herself into a cyberpunk siren, performing music for players of the new roguelite game Endless Dungeon (you can check that out right here).
The 38-year-old’s fans no doubt raised an eyebrow when it was announced that she had joined forces with a video game company – but she was more shocked than anyone else. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Lynn laughed: “I was just as surprised as you are when they reached out and said: ‘We’re fans, and we’re wondering if you’d be interested in composing some songs for the soundtrack.'”
Lynn confirmed she “jumped at the opportunity” to work on the video game.
She is, of course, no stranger to working with companies who endeavour to surround their projects in her ethereal soundscapes, as she previously wrote and performed music for HBO‘s True Detective. Powerful, succinct, and unwavering, Lynn admitted: “I love a challenge. I love trying something new.” She was given a brief, with “general guidelines” on the songs’ tempo, major or minor scales, and whether she should aim for ballads or rock.
So, with the blueprints in mind, she got to work. “I wrote the songs and then would do a work tape – a guitar-vocal kind of thing. And they actually never asked me to change anything about the songs. Once they approved the songs, we produced them with a full band in Nashville.”
Two of the tracks have been released thus far (Free Again and The Garden) with another two on the way. And I guarantee you’ll listen to them and be instantly enchanted. They don’t feel like additional pieces tacked onto Endless Dungeon for the clout – they’re actually… real music.
“That was definitely the goal,” Lynn explained. “My number one goal – I wanted the music to be music. To be standalone music. To be relatable outside of the game context. I’m lucky in that they enlisted me for this because they were fans and they wanted me to do what I do, and that’s always a really important part of any project.”
While writing, recording and producing music is something she likely does every day, Lynn did not expect to eventually be asked an extremely odd question: “Do you want to be in the game?” She recalled: “As the music developed, they asked if I would be interested in having an avatar developed, and having the avatar sing the songs in the saloon on the space station.” Now, between runs (deaths) in Endless Dungeon, you’ll be serenaded by Lynn’s character as you gear up for your intergalactic adventures.
As exciting as it is for Lynn to write new music for an emerging brand under the umbrella of a powerful video game company, she will no doubt have her critics. The music industry often looks down on partnership deals – especially those that seem inauthentic. Naturally, Lynn has maintained her integrity through her collaboration with Endless Dungeon, but it is something she is aware of.
“I think when I was younger and I lacked the confidence to say: ‘Yes, I will do this project with you, but it has to be through my lens,’ I might have shied away from it,” she mused. “I might have thought that people working on projects like this were sellouts. But, now that I’m a professional, and I have to put food on the table, I just learned how to say what I want. And it has turned out that people have given me the license to do that.”
With that in mind, she confirmed: “If that weren’t the case, I might have backed out.”
Why does she think this concept is seen to “besmirch” artists’ careers, though? “There is some fear on the artist’s side, mostly, that they would – I don’t know – maybe be taken less seriously by their own fanbase. I’m not really sure what the stigma is – but it’s wrong.”
One listen to Lynn’s Endless Dungeons songs will alleviate any fears her fans (new or old) might have, though. And new, fantastic music is always welcome. Thankfully, there’s even more coming.
“I’m making another record right now,” Lynn announced. “Just started on it. Hopefully, in the next six months, we’ll have something coming out. But maybe sooner!”
Lynn recently played throughout the UK in the summer of 2023, but she has some “loose plans” to come back in “early 2024”.
Until then, you can buy Endless Dungeon here.