The innovative Instant Love project from Instant Records is a collection of classic love songs traditionally sung by men about women, reimagined with female vocalists to make a statement about love between women as mothers, sisters, friends, lovers and everything in between. Created by Richard Gottehrer (founder of The Orchard and Instant Records) and Instant Records’ Allison Zatarain, the project launched on International Women’s Day.
Yahoo Music is pleased to premiere a song from the collection by Argentinian jazz singer Karen Souza, a bossa nova rendition of Bill Withers’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
“Instant Love is a brilliant idea, and I love brilliant ideas! I’m very happy and excited to collaborate on this project,” says Souza of the tune. “I have reinterpreted a lot of songs in my career, and strongly believe that some songs are too meaningful and deserve a tribute. Instant Love gives me the chance to rediscover a colossal song like ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ but it also allows me to do a rendition for women, which I think is chic and unique. It gives me the chance to explore and reconsider the song from another point of view. I believe this to be one of the most important things about art.
“When I was invited to participate in the project, the first song that came to mind was, ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,'” she adds. “Suddenly, I realized that the lyrics could be reinterpreted. I thought, ‘What if this person, who is waiting for this woman is her child?’ You know, like a baby waiting for her mum to return home, like the only thing a baby wants, to be close to her mum and get lost in her eyes. I had all of these beautiful images in my head… this song is the perfect choice for me.”
Instant Records’ Zatarain had this to say of the project, and the song’s inclusion: “Instant Love is a perfect storm of inspiration. Our current culture is redefining the rules of gender and love every day, and music felt a bit behind. On the whole, women still sing to men and men still sing to women. For the past century, women have heard about ourselves through a male gaze, which although is at times romantic, it can also feel objectifying.
“One night I was singing ‘Oh Pretty Woman’ in the shower and imagined a confident woman singing it, and thought: A. That’s a cool idea, and B. Why does this feel so exotic? I imagined it would feel empowering to hear a woman sing those words, unafraid of what people would think while expressing interest in a beautiful lady on the street. (Still waiting to record that song!)
“And as the Instant Love series progresses, we are uncovering so many modern nuances in love and music, simply by changing the meaning of a popular love song with a new narrator. In addition to gender and love, these recordings apply to feminism and feeling stronger as a group from within. They also apply to nurturing self-love in women, which arises when we sing about ourselves.
“I approached industry legend/The Orchard founder /Instant Records founder Richard Gottehrer with this idea over a year ago. I knew he’d be receptive due to his long history of working with women, such as Blondie, the Go Go’s, Joan Armatrading, and the Dum Dum Girls. 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 and grows in real time in this modern digital era. Playlists exist now on Spotify, Apple Music, Napster, and YouTube with no end in sight, expanding every two weeks.
Recent developments include a new community website where we invite fans to participate in creating these songs with us and an interview series called Instant Love Nest that involves a cozy apartment, drinks, and kaftans. And we’re starting to map out Instant Love Volume 1 as a digital and physical album to come this fall with all kinds of extras like artwork and unreleased songs.
“Like many songs in the Instant Love collection, ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ has lyrics up for interpretation by the listener. Karen Souza channeled the love between a mother and child when she recorded the tune, and that is reflected in the cover art by Rebecca Morehiser. The notion of missing someone is aligned with the same energy as loving someone, they coexist together. And love is at the center of this project. We hope with each song to capture another level of love between women that has been underrepresented in mainstream music’s past.
“As the creator of this project alongside Gottehrer, I draw from so many inter-female relationships in my life. Tracks like ‘You Really Got Me’ sung by Cavale and ‘Kind Woman’ sung by Erin Durant stir up all those girl crushes we’re finally allowed to openly feel, regardless of what side of the sexual spectrum a girl might fall. Tracks like ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ sung by Tristen and ‘Trouble” sung by Adriana Louise open up feelings about the power of female friendships. And most special of all are tracks like ‘Crazy Love’ sung by Irma Thomas and ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ which to me reflect that mother/daughter bond. My sister Ashley has a 16-month-old baby girl named Highland, and if I can get her to cry when she hears a new track, I know I’ve struck gold.”