Daniel Licht grew up in suburban Detroit and attended the Roeper School, as well as summer school at Berklee School of Music in Boston. He began his musical career while still in high school playing guitar with a small jazz ensemble at clubs in the area. Following high school graduation, he attended Hampshire College in Massachusetts and graduated in composition, jazz and world music. Licht moved to New York City and established himself as a musical artist in the Lower East Side creative music scene. He would travel to Germany, the Netherlands and Northern Europe to perform and compose music for theatre and dance companies. He created scores for such companies as Mercedes Benz, Sony and AT&T
He then moved to Los Angeles and pursued a career in film scoring, at the suggestion of his former classmate, Christopher Young. His first major project was the 1991 feature film Children of the Night. His composition earned him his first soundtrack CD release. He soon became spotted by macabre director, Clive Barker and would compose for several of his films.
Licht scored all seasons of Dexter, which he considers to be one of his "more visible projects" but is reluctant to refer to it as his big break.