There is something mesmerizing and indisputable about things in life that come together by the mystery of fate – be it a personal relationship, an artistic endeavor, or a simple matter of being in the right place at the right time. When all three converge, the result is something that goes beyond any realm of possibility …
Such is the story of Los Angeles music duo BITTER:SWEET (Shana Halligan and Kiran Shahani) whose lives seemed to have over-lapped but never crossed until the perfect moment in time. How else can you explain two people who lived one block away from each other, and who recorded just one wall away, who never connected until an anonymous online posting? That is exactly how BITTER:SWEET came to make their intoxicating and playful debut artist album, THE MATING GAME, set for release April 4, 2006 on Quango Music. The beautiful, 11-track work features the extensive musicality of two respected musicians who now exist in perfect harmony.
On the album, Shana and Kiran stay true to their own unique musical souls by embracing everything from the previously untapped jazz qualities of Shana’s voice to Kiran’s love of any type of music and production that “makes your body move.” Songs unfold like little vignettes of romantic interludes and scenes from enchanting films of days gone by on The Mating Game. Fans of Portishead, Zero 7, Serge Gainsbourg, Everything But the Girl and Bjork will fall in love with the album’s sound.
When Kiran (producer, composer) and Shana (vocals, melodies, lyrics, co-producer) met, they were both “not that into” the L.A. music scene. “There was a time when I had even stopped listening to music,” explains Shana. “But sometimes you’re just meant to do things in life...”
As a Southern California native, Shana had just returned home from “having a beautiful experience” in Europe when she decided to answer her first-ever ad for a singer. Not only was it an ad, it was on Craig’s List! “I can’t believe I answered an ad,” Shana says now, “but I just did it!” As fate would have it, her call was the first to be answered by music producer and dance music enthusiast Kiran, who, as a founding member of the Supreme Beings of Leisure, was largely responsible for their self-titled debut album (the one that broke the electronic/trip-hop group by selling more than 250,000 copies worldwide).
“When we met, we agreed to just play some cool music together, while sticking completely to who we were as individuals,” the two later reveal. “The energy around what we did was so natural and fluid, we just kept doing it.” Now each one can’t imagine working without the other. Kiran now admits, “I’d been dreaming about her for a very long time.”
After collaborating, Shana and Kiran discovered that they had the same exact taste in music (even in “guilty pleasure” bands from the ‘70s and ‘80s – you know, the ones you won’t admit unless you really trust someone!). They also discovered that six months prior to meeting, they had recorded just one wall away from each other in the same studio. They also shared numerous friends in common, and even stranger still, had lived one street away from each other, and still had never met … until now.
On The Mating Game, echoes of each musician’s past (present and future) is revealed in infectious songs like the sultry, exotic opening track “Don’t Forget to Breathe,” which sets the tone for the entire album. “Moving Forward” is one of Kiran’s favorites “for its amazing vocal performance,” and is a track that Shana has a deep emotional attachment to. Solid production and a Vegas cool is the calling card of “The Mating Game” with its big band sass and zany James Bond feel. Shana’s father (Dick Halligan) helped to write, arrange and conduct the strings heard on all of the aforementioned songs, as well as the angelic “Bittersweet Faith.”
The lovely yet quieted “Heaven” stands as a bewitching late-night ballad that bids a lover to “stay just a little bit longer.” Whereas, “Our Remains” is a super sexy tune accented by lush lyrics, drum ‘n’ bass beats and stellar downtempo production. Down ‘n’ dirty funk helps define “Overdue,” while a swaggering, dreamy confidence is heard on “Moody.” Overall, Shana’s melodically sweet-and-sexy vocals paired with Kiran’s experimental pop beats and masterful programming make for an album that will stand the test of time.