Born in Luton, England, Arnold grew up with an interest in music and participated in school music ensembles and later played in bands, both through college. He learned composing and scoring largely on his own by volunteering to score student films at the National Film and Television School. After earning credit for several film shorts and documentaries, college flatmate and frequent collaborator Danny Cannon asked his friend to score his 1993 feature The Young Americans. In the process, Arnold co-wrote "Play Dead" with Björk
, resulting in a British Top Ten hit for the film.
With a copy of his breakthrough soundtrack in hand, Arnold visited Los Angeles and secured an assignment to score Roland Emmerich's 1994 sci-fi adventure film Stargate. His dynamic score, which integrated Middle Eastern folk music and limited electronics into symphonic adventure fare, led to work on the subsequent Emmerich films Independence Day (1996) and Godzilla (1998).
In the meantime, Arnold was welcomed into the James Bond franchise for 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies, starring Pierce Brosnan. It included the song "Surrender," which was produced and co-written by Arnold and performed by k.d. lang
. He was invited back to score the Bond films The World Is Not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002), Daniel Craig
's debut Casino Royale (2006), and Quantum of Solace (2008). Among several other film and TV projects during the 2000s, Arnold also became a regular collaborator with director John Singleton, composing music for his Shaft (2000), Baby Boy (2001), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), and Four Brothers (2005).
Highlights of Arnold's screen work in the 2010s included The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, released in 2010, the Simon Pegg
-Nick Frost feature Paul from 2011, and the popular BBC series Sherlock, which he co-composed with Michael Price
. The show received individual season soundtracks by the Silva Screen
label. ~ Marcy Donelson, Rovi