You wouldn’t think a song about a homeless woman would end up at number one on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, but “Gypsy Woman” did just that in 1991, ending up as one of the most memorable house songs of the decade with its “la da dee, la dee da” refrain. Crystal Waters, the mastermind behind that song, has been [amazon template=right aligned image&asin=B00005N8ZC]keeping busy ever since — achieving top spots on the dance charts with astonishing regularity and more recently, releasing a line of skin care products for men. But more on Boyface in a moment. For now, let’s talk music.
Q: Since 1991, you’ve charted on Billboard‘s US Dance Charts more years than you haven’t, most recently with “Testify” (2017), “Believe” (2016), and “Synergy” (2015) — all of which hit number one. But is there a song of yours that you feel slipped through the cracks? What do you like about this particular song?
A: Hmmmm. Only one I can think of is “Love I Call My Own” with Nicola Fasano and Steve Forrest. I felt like I got some bad advice as to which label to release it on. It was just one of those ones that felt good, had everything going for it. Without the right backing, a great song can get lost in the hustle.
Q: Your impact on house, club, and disco music has been so seminal and enduring that you’re now known as the Queen of House. Who first referred to you as such? Do you remember?
A: LOL. Trust me: no one in my circle of musical friends refers to me as the ‘Queen of House.’ I’ve seen it here and there… Don’t recall the first time though. It bothers me a little because it makes it sound as if there is one Queen. There are many House divas out there doing their thing as long as I have, and their careers are strong: Barbara Tucker, Ultra Naté, Inaya Day, to name a few… I feel we are all Queens
Q: “100% Pure Love,” one of your earlier hits, resurfaced on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance Canada with some delightful choreography by Brian Friedman. What did you think when you first saw this routine?
A: Brian and I actually have become friends. He did it here on the American version of SYTYCD. He sent me the routine so I could approve the use of the music… I loved it! I believe he also did it on the UK version. I love his work.
Q: Your father was jazzman Junior Waters. Have you ever considered cutting a jazz album of standards yourself? You’ve already got one rendition lined up and ready to go: “The Boy from Ipanema” from Red, Hot + Rio.
A: Why yes, I have. I started it about 10 years ago and just never found a way to finish. Jazz musicians gig a lot… I had a hard time getting everyone in the studio at the same time. I do have three songs finished. Maybe one day![ulp id=’HUVu8mYF3D1w1TlO’]
Q: Your dad isn’t the only other Waters with serious musical chops. Your great-aunt is the legendary singer-actress Ethel Waters. Have you ever covered any of her songs?
A: No, I haven’t covered any. I’ve thought about it. I’ve made a playlist of some of my favorites. Haven’t decided what to do with it yet. My favorite would be “Cabin in the Sky.” I think it’s because of the movie. It brings back fond memories.
Q: Outside of music, you’ve recently launched a new skincare line for men. How did that come about?
A: Yes it’s called ‘Boyface’ and you can find it at Boyfaceme.com! Wel, I have always been into skincare and as I got older, I was always looking for the latest and greatest. I mean, I really got into it: the composition, the combinations of ingredients, talking to a chemist and a dermatologist. I came up with a really good routine that worked wonders for my skin. I always said one day that I wanted to have my own line. I started looking into it and, with the help of a consultant, we put together the line. I thought since I have such a large male following that I would start with the guys. I have plans for a ladies’ line as well.
Q: Last year, you performed in over 25 cities, including Pride festivals in Iowa, Ohio, and New York. Do you have a favorite city to perform in?
A: Hmmm, I wouldn’t say “favorite” city. It’s more about the people you meet and every time I go there’s someone new. I just like the joy of exploring each city, especially the food! I’ve been blessed to always have wonderful crowds. I always say, “They pay me to travel, because once I get on the stage it’s nothing but fun.”
Q: Anything else?
A: I just want to mention I have a new release on Dopwax Records called “I AM HOUSE.” It’s getting great buzz and this week it’s the number one Breakout on the Billboard Dance Chart.
Photo Credit: Crystal Waters image courtesy of the artist
PS. Paul Young had serious chops in the 80s: whatever happened to him? And we catch up with Thomas Dolby, who’s reinvented himself in interesting ways.
I have been following you since I saw you at the paradise garage and fell in love with your music
I love your music so much i actually grew up with it back in the 90s in new york. Epic era of house dance club tunes! Will never be the same