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“Lipstick Jungle” fans may have to wait until next fall to see what transpires between the show’s leading ladies. But they can spend the summer getting to know Bitter:Sweet, the music duo behind the series’ theme song whose second album “Drama” drops Tuesday.
This story first appeared in the June 2, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Although Bitter:Sweet isn’t a television newbie — their music has been featured on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Sex and the City” and “Desperate Housewives” — “Lipstick Jungle” is the first to play one of their tunes, “The Bomb,” in its opening credits.
“They loved the song, but there were a couple of lyrics that weren’t going to work with the characters so we altered it a bit,” says the band’s singer Shana Halligan. “That was actually a hard thing to do, but I liked that the characters were portraying strong, independent women.”
Halligan and Kiran Shahani met three years ago when she replied to an ad Shahani had placed on Craigslist.com for an “electronic project looking for female vocalist.” Much to Halligan’s surprise, Shahani turned out to be a member of Supreme Beings of Leisure, a band she’d just seen perform. “We were both looking for something new and fresh and not part of the same circles that we’d been working in,” says Halligan. Their first album was 2006’s “The Mating Game.”
The pair grew up in Los Angeles surrounded by music, though of rather divergent ilks. Halligan, whose father is Dick Halligan of Seventies jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears, was kept up many nights with musicians jamming in her house until 3 a.m. Shahani remembers coming home from school to his parents watching Indian movies with soundtracks rife with the South Asian music of his family’s background. “It all just got mishmashed into this somehow,” explains Shahani of the sound the twosome has developed. “It’s kind of [James] Bond-y lounge-y,” adds Halligan. Shahani puts it another way: “It makes you want to shag.”
When performing, Halligan takes an old Hollywood approach, wearing sexy, floor-skimming vintage gowns with a big flower in her hair, a nod to one of her favorite singers, Billie Holiday. “I also wear a lot of Ingwa Melero and Leona Edmiston, but I love Roberto Cavalli, Oscar de la Renta and Dolce & Gabbana,” she says, noting she can’t afford most of the latter just yet. Shahani completes their look, donning vintage suits, but also confesses to loving Paul Frank duds.
So far Bitter:Sweet has proved an ideal match. “It’s nice having a partner you can count on,” says Shahani.
Halligan agrees: “It’s rare to have the same vision and same ear as someone when you’re making music.” Certainly working as a duo tops butting heads with a group of bandmates. “We’re both trying to get to the same place so it cuts out a lot of riffraff, and then we can boss everyone else around,” says Halligan.