Los Angeles singer/songwriter Caitlin Crosby gets by with a little help from her friends. Luckily, they're famous friends, including music producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, actress Brie Larson and TV star Zachary Levi (of NBC's "Chuck").
The raspy-voiced songstress owes her songwriting courage to Babyface, whom she's worked with since her teenage days spent in girl bands. "He was always a cheerleader for me," says Crosby. "Other people at the label would keep wanting us to knock out the club songs, but he was always really wanting to help me hone my writing skills."
"Club songs" are far from the outspoken brand of pop rock found on Crosby's new album, "Flawz," released June 23 on Blackledge. A former actress who grew up in L.A. with parents in the entertainment business, Crosby uses her lyrics to encourage young women to embrace their imperfections.
"It's so hard to meet any girls that feel like, 'Oh yeah, I feel completely good about myself,'" says Crosby. "I think my message gives an alternative to help re-program [girls' mindsets] to, 'we're all human, we all have flaws, it's OK.'"
Crosby's inspirational message transcends her music. The former William Fitzsimmons tourmate recently launched a Web site with actress pal Larson (of TV's "United States of Tara") called LoveYourFlawz.com.
"The site started with the actress Brie Larson and I - we did a movie together [forthcoming Danny DeVito comedy 'House Broken']," says Crosby. "We saw the movie poster, and it's so airbrushed that our heads are literally cut out and pasted onto other people's bodies that we don't know who they are.
LoveYourFlawz.com features inspiring quotes, blog entries and hundreds of user-submitted photos of fans sharing their own flaws. Crosby began collecting the photos when she was teaching an acting class for teenagers, and she hopes she can convince her famous friends to share their own imperfections as well.
"I want to get more actors, models and musicians to do the flaws thing so they can say, 'yeah, I have cellulite, too, and I have razor burn' so girls that see the magazines and then look up to them can know, 'I don't have to strive to look like them because they don't even really look like that,'" says Crosby.
Even a worldwide LEVI's ad campaign whose focus was to cast "normal people," according to Crosby, altered her image.
"My thighs do not look like that!" says Crosby. "At the time [the ad was shot] I was on Accutane and had horrendous acne, and in the picture it looks like I have no pores, which is great but I don't really look like that."
Crosby, however, accepts that airbrushing is a part of the game and will continue print appearances to promote her guitar-and-piano-driven music - just so long as she lets her fans know what's real and what's fake. In addition to print ads, a national radio public service announcement featured Crosby and other emerging artists who are radio fans.
But perhaps what's garnering the most attention for Crosby is the video for her infectious first single, "Still Have My Heart." The quirky clip includes Crosby's real-life boyfriend Levi and other young actors (such as Jesse Spencer from TV's "House") who accompany her on a series of awkward dates.
"Still Have My Heart" is one of the few love songs on "Flawz," but the song musically stays on point with the album's pop rock sound a la Feist. With influences from musical heavy-hitters U2 to Sheryl Crow and Pink, Crosby is ready to follow in the footsteps of her famous idols with the recent release of "Flawz."