Crystal Starr was born to sing, something she prides herself in doing since she can remember. Growing up in San Gabriel Valley, the singer-songwriter used to roll on the floor pretending she was Tina Turner — showcasing her love for 90’s R&B and pop. With her smooth, sultry voice, she serenades relatable, real-life lyrics over slick beats equipped with undeniable catchy hooks.
In 2018, Starr released her full-length debut titled #She, which sparked an entire female empowerment movement that taught females all around the world the importance of unity among women. She even collaborated with Andra Day, Judith Hill, and Kyra Dacosta on an incredible live version of “#She.”
Most recently, Crystal unleashed her new single titled “Goodie Two Shoes,” inspired directly who she is as both a person an artist. The visual depicts her vision coming to life in real time, seeing Crystal working as a cashier at an old school record store before falling into a daydream that turns into a fantasy. Soon enough, she busts out the dance routines and 90’s inspired outfits, with endless energy and style.
Flaunt caught up with Crystal, who was quarantined with her adorable dog in her arms. Read below as we discuss her musical background, the importance in celebrating women, love for Janet Jackson, spreading love, and more!
Your dog is so adorable!
When I used to live in New York, I got her. She’s been with me, I call her a New Yorkie. Whenever I’m in rehearsals or anything, she lays around. She knows the deal.
She’s so calm! That’s exactly what I want.
I trained her. She used to go backstage in the green room with me when I was on Broadway in New York. I used to bring her with me, she’d chill in the room so she’s used to this.
How was doing Broadway in New York? That’s epic.
It was an awesome experience. Broadway is a whole nother level of performing. I was able to see different types of audiences, different types of people. Performing different types of music, I played as The Shirelles. They sing “mama said there’ll be days like this” [sings]. They sang the 60’s stuff, so it’s a jukebox musical I was in for a while.
Being from San Gabriel Valley, how does that affect your life and your music?
San Gabriel is a very suburban area. When I moved to LA, it was quite different because San Gabriel Valley, La Puente, West Covina are a lot slower. When I moved to LA, I thought “oh my gosh, I’m not used to this.” It’s a very normal lifestyle. I’m half-Puerto Rican so it’s a very Hispanic lifestyle as well. It’s calm, a regular place really.
At what point did music become real for you?
When I was 3, I used to always want to sing in church. At the age of 12, I really got the sense of it because my godfather was a famous jazz musician. He put me on with Jessica Simpson for this gospel choir thing with Disney, I never experienced that scale of music. Once I did that, I knew I wanted to do this forever. He taught me so many different things. I never knew who Etta James was, or Ella Fitzgerald. Being surrounded by so many musical greats at that young age, I got a chance to really learn music. Not just what I grew up with, I grew up with Madonna and Prince. My dad used to sing with Jackie Wilson a long time ago, he’s a singer. We had a mixture of music in my life. My mom and my Spanish family, we used to listen to salsa and Selena. With my dad, we used to listen to Temptations and Prince. It was all that combined, a mixture of things.
Talk about implementing those influences into your sound.
This is my third album, I really want to infuse who I am as a singer. Not really care what anybody thought about my music or what their opinion is. Growing up and being young, everybody always wants to say “you should do this, you should do this.” When I started working on my second album #She, I thought “I want to do the type of music that I know is inside of me.” I really started getting bold and doing the things I cared about inside of music. This next album I’m working on now, it’s like “let’s do the fun side of me.”
Why is female empowerment so important to you?
It’s really important. I don’t even call it empowerment, I call it celebration. I love to celebrate my mom, my grandma, my sisters, my friends who are amazing women doing amazing things. Even the littlest things like having a bad day, you know how it is as a woman. Who do you call when you’re like “I can’t do it, I can’t get it together!”? You call you mom, your grandma, or your best friend whether it be a girl or boy. Women have this amazing way of making you feel like everything’s going to be okay. I wanted to celebrate that, say it’s okay to have bad days. We’re women, it’s incredible. I don’t have any kids but my sister does and my friends do. I watch them, I don’t know how they’re able to do it. I have a dog, I don’t even know how to get my life together! The fact that you can have kids, have a job and a career is really incredible. And to carry a baby in your body at the same time.
Who or what inspired your new single “Goodie Two Shoes”?
I’ve been called “Goodie Two Shoes” pretty much a lot of my life, there’s things I didn’t want to talk about. I have nieces who watch me and look up to me. I’ve been in meetings where I’ve been asked to take off my jacket so they can look at my body. They’d say “turn around, let me look at your body.” “Well she can sing, but what does her body look like?” I’ve always been that type of girl to say “no, I’m not going to do that. It’s about my music.” I’ve always been called a goodie two shoes because things that other people were down to do, I wasn’t down to do. I really wanted to talk about it in a song. It’s okay to be good. It’s okay to not choose other things that other people are doing that’s called “the cool life.”
The song features L. Michelle, was that done in the studio?
She’s one of my really, really good friends. I always believed in her as an artist. She’s a singer as well, I perform with her all around the world. We travel a lot together. When I’m on tour, she’s there with me. I said “hey, this would be fun if we did this.” I asked if she’d do the song. She heard it and said “heck yeah, let’s do it!” She ended up writing her bars in 5 minutes. She came here to my studio and did it before we actually had to take off for a flight. We had a show somewhere, she did it really quickly.
I love the old school vibes in the visual, can you touch on that?
I grew up in the time of TLC, Salt-N-Pepa, Janet [Jackson]. I wanted to be them growing up, they were so cool. They were fun, they were free. I wanted to give tribute to them because they really gave a lot to me as an artist. Man, I looked up to Janet growing up. I looked up to Tina Turner growing up. I have to give credit where credit is due. They’re dope, I wanted to pay tribute to them in the video.
What do you like about Janet?
Everything! She’s an amazing artist. Her work ethic, everything about her. I can’t even pinpoint one thing. Some years ago, I actually sang with Kanye West and I got a chance to see her at rehearsal. It was the BET awards.
How was that?!
Awesome. It’s funny because John Legend was actually his musical director then, this was before John Legend was even out. I saw Janet in rehearsals like “oh my gosh!” I was so starstruck, I don’t really typically get starstruck. She’s somebody I really looked up to growing up.
Did you get a chance to talk to her?
No because she was on stage, but I got a chance to see her in soundcheck which was really cool. Not only her but people like Madonna too. I was 3 years old, my first concert was a Madonna concert. We’re all dressed up like Madonna. My mom had clothes on, I had the lace on. I was 3 years old like “this is the life!” It was a lot of fun.
I see you reppin’ the Lakers jersey, is that your team?
Absolutely! Everything Lakers. We actually filmed that 5 days after Kobe’s passing, which hit me hard. I actually met my husband at the Lakers parade. He was dressed really really funny. He’s a funny guy, we actually ended up being in a newspaper together the first day we met.
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#Repost @paulstanleylive These are challenging times. Long before I ever heard the great British bands, I grew up listening to Philly Soul, Motown and so much more. I was lucky to see Otis Redding and Solomon Burke among others. That music and its storytelling gave me strength and hope even in some tough days. The great classics of that era are magical medicine for most and I felt myself drawn back to that era for some sorcery I think we could all use. While it’s hard to connect physically, some of Soul Station decided to reach out to make a virtual and emotional connection on a great Motown and Smokey Robinson classic, Ooo Baby Baby. Hope you enjoy! Click on link in the bio to watch full video. Reposted from @paulstanleylive
How was performing with Paul Stanley from KISS?
Amazing. He’s such an amazing person, it makes it so much fun. It’s all about music, he really does love this music. When we’re on stage with him, it’s really a group effort. It’s not like “you stay there, you stay there.” He has so much history, I can sit down and talk to him for hours about stories. He’s a great guy. It’s fun doing the music we do together, really paying tribute to people like Smokey Robinson.
What’d it mean to perform this past Sunday for the Special Needs Network, Pink Pump Affair? It’s dope you’re doing things to give back.
That’s my whole reason for being an artist. A lot of artists can attest to that, one of the greatest feelings in the world is to give back. I have a nonprofit called Little Voices where I mentor children in foster care and I produce concerts for them. One is called “#She Sessions” which we produce for all girls in foster care. We have 1,300 girls in the audience. Doing things like that really makes me realize why I’m doing what I’m doing. I can go on stage, I can sing for hours, but it’s really awesome to use your platform for those who need it.
What’s your relationship with Andra Day?
Andra is a good friend of mine. We actually met years ago, we performed together for some show and hit it off right away. Right away! I’ve been able to see her flourish and grow. It’s really incredible to share the stage with her and see how she’s impacting and touching people everywhere as well.
How do you create a vibe in the studio?
Honestly, going to the studio is like shutting the whole world out. It was very hard in the very beginning. I perform all the time but going to the studio is shutting the world out, putting these cans on, and listening to yourself. Sometimes that can be a very hard thing to do. Now, I love it. It’s a private moment where you can have time with yourself and reflection, really get into a vibe. It’s crazy because now I’m starting to produce. The next song I’m coming out with I actually produced myself, that’s something that I never thought I could do.
How was that experience?
It was a whole lot of fun!
What goals do you have for yourself?
To keep going. I’m going to be focusing on doing a tour in Europe. To put this album out and touch and impact as many kids as I can.
What’s the new album called?
Right now, I’m thinking of calling it Starrship. Obviously, my middle name is Starr. Growing up as a kid, my whole family called me Starrship. Since this album really is shining light on who I am, why not call it what everybody else calls me?
Anything else you want to let us know?
Keep on playing and requesting “Goodie Two Shoes.” Keep doing what you can to make a difference, to make an impact in this world. We all need love right now. We all need to support each other, love each other even more and more. Let’s get to a place where we’re all being real with each other, rather than living a facade. We have to be real with each other. We have to infuse love no matter what!