Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Caitlin Crosby is summed up best in the line of one of her own songs: “I’m too colorful to conceal.” Not only is the husky-voiced 26-year-old beautiful to look at, she’s grabbing the attention of listeners the world over with her lyrics. Her newest video, “Flawz,” is a labor of love for her, and it reached No. 1 on YouTube when it debuted a few short weeks ago. People in twenty-one countries — from Australia and Isreal to South Korea and Ireland — took notice. Under the “Nonprofits & Activism” category on YouTube, it might seem an unlikely place for a music video. The message she emits with her music and persona, however, proves the video is right where it belongs. It’s a song about embracing your flaws. Why? Because your flaws make you uniquely you.
In a society where image has become an obsession, songs that don’t focus on being center of attention, living the party life or keeping the status quo are rare and often shoved into the indie/folk category musically. But Caitlin’s music isn’t that obsure. The rock-pop ballads contain catchy beats and lyrics that stick. Actually, they more than stick; they’re positive food for thought to much on over and over.
The one — and only – time I witnessed a music video on the big screen before previews at a movie theater was the first time I heard Caitlin Crosby. The song, “Still Have My Heart,” caught my attention because, even then, I perceived a theme of not living life based off others’ opinions of what’s acceptable. That was just last year, and it also was the beginning of a my love for her music and an admiration for another passion of hers outside of music.
She and singer-actress friend Brie Larson set up a Web site called LoveYourFlawz.com that encourages people of all ages, shapes and sizes to love the pieces of themselves they loathe. Anyone can submit pictures and share stories that will inspire others, whether in the form of a blog, poem, video, quote or journal entry.
Caitlin may be new to the music scene with the release of Flawz just last year, but she’s not new to the image-based scene of Hollywood. Her dad manages actors, and her mom used to be a model-actress, so she grew up in the world where it was common for celebrities to partake in crazy diets, submit to plastic surgery and wear the “in” clothes to fit a mold of the perfect image.
Instead of falling prey to this, Caitlin decided to shine as herself; all of these experiences and emotions are captured in her debut album, which is more of an anthem if you will. Her passion for helping others learn to love themselves is so contagious that her Web site has even grabbed the attention of recognizable musicians and actors — Alyssa Milano, Jenniver Love-Hewitt, Zachary Levi, Jordin Sparks — who all are featured in the “Flawz” music video holding their own signs about accepting flaws.
Intrigued by her uniqueness and caught up by her passion, I talked with the singer-songwriter recently after she trudged her way through the snow of Boston to and from an errand while on tour with fellow singer-songwriter (and former “American Idol” contestant) Jason Castro. Read below for a short Q&A of the conversation that ensued.
What was your inspiration for LoveYourFlawz.com?
A lot of different things. I used to teach acting to kids and teens, and we had an exercise with “love your flaws” signs. I had so many that I started taking pictures of them, and then I started taking pictures of my friends, random people. (laughs) I did a Danny DeVito movie with Brie Larson, and we had the same issues with the vanity we saw.
Did you ever expect the Web site would be as expansive and popular as it is now?
Not when we started it. It’s bigger than we ever expected it to be. I’d been gathering footage for so long. I’m so passionate about helping people. It’s such a huge encouragement and blessing to myself. I want to keep rolling with it.
What is your goal with the Web site?
The whole goal is to help re-brainwash minds because I feel magazines and the media make people feel they need to fit in a mold of beauty and perfection. People need to refocus their perspective and be constantly positively reinforcing.
Since you encourage people to embrace their flaws, what are your own flaws you’ve learned to love?
I had really bad skin. Even now it’s not the best. I just put aloe vera on pimples I’d been picking at. My skin was really bad in high school; I was on Accutane a few times. I have footage of my skin without makeup in the “Flawz” video. And I have lots of cellulite.
What woman doesn’t?
(laughs) I’m not the biggest fan of being in a bikini without my shorts or sarong. Then there are other more personal things that made me insecure. It’s a challenge to be comfortable in your own skin. I’m dealing with my scars, and I’m grateful for it because it gives me the passion to help people.
I notice your Twitter and Myspace pages are littered with comments by people. Do you have time to read through all the stories about how people are inspired by the LoveYourFlawz site?
It’s so crazy on tour. I look on my phone and see comments, and I wish I had more time to bask in the words. Helping one person is incredible. It’s why I was created. I think everyone wonders that — why they’re here — so it literally means the world to me. I’m so excited, happy and humbled to be used to help people and help them for the good. It’s good I went through my own struggles so I could translate them into an art form. I wrote all the songs myself (for Flawz). It’s all my emotions coming to the surface.