Back when they were playing for Prince, Wendy & Lisa had their pictures on the cover of Rolling Stone. They even went onstage to help him accept his Oscar for “Purple Rain.” But that was 25 years ago.
Today, on the heels of their first-ever Emmy win for their dreamy-meets-funk title theme for Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie,” Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman are arguably the hottest female composers in television.
For over a decade, they have been toiling in the trenches of weekly series, scoring popular shows like “Crossing Jordan” and “Heroes” with a blend of the dramatic and hip that is rare for primetime. Despite effective and sometimes stellar work, they were ignored at the Emmys until this year (nobody ever advised them to submit their work).
As for the fabled Purple One, “I like to think of those years as my college and grad-school period,” says Melvoin with a laugh. “We always knew that we would, at some point, be composing, mostly for the bigscreen.” And they have, notably on films like “Dangerous Minds” and “Soul Food,” but TV has been their bread and butter since 1999.
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Their room in the fabled A&M building (now Henson Studios) is jammed with keyboards (mostly Coleman’s), guitars and drum kits (mostly Melvoin’s).
“It took both of us to bring our best games to the job,” says Coleman, who looks back at the past year — creating music for “Heroes,” “Mercy” and “Jackie,” as well as their Girl Bros. internet radio station — as exhausting. But as “Nurse Jackie” resumes this fall, one movie out this year (“Just Wright”) and another due next year (“Jumping the Broom”), it seems Melvoin and Coleman will be busier than ever.