Have you ever heard a love song traditionally sung by a dude then sung by a woman, but all the pronouns are switched around? It’s weird and annoying and at this point unnecessary. The folks over at Instant Records had the same thought, and decided to release a series of traditional love songs reimagined with female vocalists. The project is called Instant Love and premiered on International Women's Day, starting with Erin Durant's take on "Kind Woman" by Buffalo Springfield. On the project's origins, co-founder Allison Zatarain says, “I noticed that many of my favorite songs, such as ‘Oh Pretty Woman,’ sung in a female voice seem weirdly exotic. And yet I share my womanhood with half of the world. So why are there so little stories of love, longing, and admiration between women? Music for the masses, up until now, has stayed in the past. But times are changing. Today our culture is engaged in an in-depth conversation about sexuality and gender, rethinking binary words like ‘gay,’ ‘straight,’ ‘masculine,’ and ‘feminine.’” To stick to its unconventional form, the music is released single by single on a bi-weekly basis, with original artwork for each track. Explaining this type of release Zatarain says, “I approached The Orchard and Instant Records founder Richard Gottehrer with this idea over a year ago. He was excited by both the message of the music and on finding an innovative way to release it. He dreamt of a ‘living album’ that stands for something special, where one song points to the next, and you see a consistent growth of great songs in real time. Playlists exist now on Spotify, Apple Music, Napster, and YouTube with no end in sight. And we're now developing a shared community space online that will be interactive, grow with the music, and be a space for people to share their own recordings and respond to ours.”
This week we present an exclusive stream of “Light My Fire,” covered by Danish singer-songwriter Fallulah. Listen to the track below and read on to discover Fallulah’s thoughts on the project.
Can you give a little background on your involvement with the Instant Love project?
I was asked to participate in the project very early on, back when it was just a brand new idea by Allison Zatarain from Instant Records. I immediately backed it up and supported the idea of making an album that brought together female artists from very diverse backgrounds, to sing covers originally performed by male artists about woman. The reason I was so into it was that it ties in well with my own wishes and goals for womanhood, which is to stand strong together and celebrate our differences, instead of us being given the idea that only a certain number of us can take up space and possess important skills. We are all amazing and unique in our own way and we should build each other up.
How did you go about selecting “Light My Fire?”
It didnʼt take me long to choose the song I wanted to cover. "Light my Fire" is a timeless classic sung by one of the biggest male icons in music history. So I thought it was fun to turn the song on itʼs head and instead of singing it with a sort of sexual aggressiveness I wanted to soften it and slow it way down, to add a complete contrast to it. Not that women canʼt be sexual and in your face, we certainly can, but for this song I wanted to get in touch with my inner tenderness, and sing it as though I was reaching out to a good friend. The line “Girl, we couldnʼt get much higher” became, in my world, a symbol that stands for the fact that we can achieve anything we want.
How do you feel your relationship to politics or feminism has changed in recent years? Is the current moment affecting your music and how you create?
I am owning my privilege as a Danish woman and artist by speaking out about gender issues and inequality. I have a direct output because I have an audience and can reach a lot of people that way. Being from Denmark, people will often try and shut you down if you bring up feminist issues, because of the fact that we have it “quite good” compared to other places in the world. But to me, that is exactly why we need to speak up. We have a safe base to be activists from and we have to strive to be the ultimate goal of equality and justice so that others can look to us and see what is possible. All feminist issues are tied together, big and small, itʼs like an eco- system. I started talking about these things quite early on in my career, way before Beyoncé made feminism a cool word (thanks Bey) and I literally would see other women cringe when I brought it up, which made me feel very alone. So I definitely feel thereʼs a strong movement now where women are embracing their responsibilities and stepping up to the plate. Itʼs awesome.
Who do you listen to during hard times?
I have my go-toʼs. Fiona Apple is the one I always return to when Iʼm feeling bad. She soothes my soul and her lyrics are just genius because they are so very raw and real.
Why is it important for women to sing songs generally reserved for male vocalists?
With this project I think itʼs cool to celebrate the women we are, the women we know and both the men and the women in our lives who empower us.
Find out more about Instant Love here.