Crystal Waters

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Crystal Waters
Waters performing in 2012
Born (1961-11-19) 19 November 1961 (age 61)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active1989–present
Musical career

Crystal Waters (born November 19,[1] 1961)[2] is an American house and dance music singer and songwriter, best known for her 1990s dance hits "Gypsy Woman", "100% Pure Love", and 2007's "Destination Calabria" with Alex Gaudino. All three of her studio albums produced a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. In December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as one of the most successful dance artists of all time.[3] Her accolades include six ASCAP Songwriter awards, three American Music Award nominations, an MTV Video Music Award nod, four Billboard Music Awards and twelve No. 1 Billboard Dance Chart hits. Her hit song "Gypsy Woman” has been sampled hundreds of times. Though her music sales have yet to be re-certified, Waters has sold over 7 million records worldwide.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Born in Deptford Township, New Jersey, Waters is the daughter of Junior Waters, a famed jazz musician,[4] and his wife Betty. Her great-aunt, Ethel Waters,[4] was one of the first black American vocalists to appear in mainstream Hollywood musicals.[5] Her family moved to New Jersey for a while but they again moved to Washington, D.C. At age eleven she began writing poetry and took her writing seriously enough to be inducted into the Poetry Society of America when she was 14,[4] the youngest person ever to receive that honor.

She studied business and computer science at Howard University, but her creative work as a musician dropped off as she found less time for it. After earning her college degree in 1989, Waters secured a job as a probation officer with the Washington, D.C. parole board, making a living that would support her two daughters. One of her daughters, Ella Nicole, is a singer-songwriter who was discovered in 2014 and managed by Samonee K. founder of Argo Vibes.

Music career[edit]

Waters' first job in the music world was as a backup singer at a local recording studio. She realized she wanted the creative control of writing her own music. Meeting the Basement Boys at a D.C. conference, they agreed to collaborate. Waters' self-described style was jazz and the Basement Boys was house. The first two songs she wrote for the 'Boys were "Makin' Happy" and "Gypsy Woman".[5]

Waters signed a writing contract with Mercury Records in 1989.[citation needed]

Her single "Makin' Happy", with contributions by remixer Steve "Silk" Hurley, shot quickly to No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs.[6]

With her 1994 follow-up album, Storyteller,[4] Waters made a mainstream comeback with her hit single "100% Pure Love",[4] which hit number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100,[7] No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs,[6] and became one of the longest-charting singles on the Hot 100 at 45 weeks ("Gypsy Woman" had remained on the chart for 16 weeks). Along with the single, her second album Storyteller, sold over one million copies in the United States.[8] Feminist scholar and social activist bell hooks described Waters as "fierce and politically on the job" because of the singer's socially conscious lyrics.[9]

Waters performing in 2013.

In 1996, Waters participated in the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Rio, which was produced by the Red Hot Organization, performing the song "The Boy from Ipanema".

In 2007, the mega European hit "Destination Calabria" by Alex Gaudino, featuring vocals by Crystal Waters, went to No. 1 on the European Pop Chart in over 30 countries. The track is a mashup, taking the instrumental from Rune's "Calabria" and the vocals from Alex Gaudino's and Crystal Waters' "Destination Unknown", both originally released in 2003. It was produced with the help of Maurizio Nari and Ronnie Milani (Nari & Milani), matching the saxophone hook/riff from "Calabria" to Crystal Waters' voice. "Destination Calabria" was released as a 12-inch single by the Italian label Rise Records, and as a CD single on March 19, 2007 by British label Data Records. It originally charted in Australia in February 2004, peaking at No. 98 under the title "Destination Unknown" before being re-released as "Destination Calabria" and reaching No. 2 in 2007.

In 2012, "Le Bump" with Yolanda Be Cool gave Waters another No. 1 on the Beatport House Chart.

With DJ Chris Cox in 2013, the No. 1 Billboard Dance Club Songs hit "Mama Hey",[6] was listed as one of Billboard's "Top 50 Dance Songs of 2013".

In November 2015, Waters released "Synergy", and in October 2016 she released "Believe". Both songs quickly rose to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Dance Club Songs.[6]

Her 2017 single "Testify" with Hifi Sean was released on Defected Records and went straight to the A-List on BBC Radio and garnered another No. 1 spot on the Billboard Dance Club Songs.[6]

Her third collaboration with Sted-E & Hybrid Heights, titled "I Am House", reached No. 1 in the club charts in Spring 2018, giving Waters a total of twelve No. 1 singles in the US Billboard Dance Club Songs.[6]

In February 2020, she began a monthly radio/podcast show called "I Am House".


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1991 Surprise
  • Released: June 25, 1991
  • Label: Mercury
197 23 45 81 24
1994 Storyteller
  • Released: May 17, 1994
  • Label: Mercury
199 55
1997 Crystal Waters
  • Released: June 24, 1997
  • Label: Mercury/Polygram
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details
1998 The Best of Crystal Waters
  • Released: August 11, 1998
  • Label: Universal/Polygram
2001 Gypsy Woman – The Collection
  • Released: 2001
  • Label: Spectrum Music
2001 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Crystal Waters
  • Released: 2001
  • Label: Mercury Records


Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1991 "Gypsy Woman" 8 11 3 11 2 3 1 50 1 2 Surprise
"Makin' Happy" 17 22 27 22 18
"Megamix" 39 Megamix!
1992 "You Turn Me On" Encino Man soundtrack
1994 "100% Pure Love" 11 2 26 33 30 15 44 20 15 Storyteller
"What I Need" 82
"Ghetto Day" 94 40
1995 "Relax" 37
1996 "In de Ghetto"
(with David Morales & the Bad Yard Club)
35[25] Non-album single
"The Boy from Ipanema" Red Hot + Rio
1997 "Say... If You Feel Alright" 40 32 45 Crystal Waters
"Just a Freak"
(with Dennis Rodman)
2001 "Come On Down" DJ Escape: Party Time 2002
"Enough" Non-album single
"Nights in Egypt"
(with Sunseeker)
Various Artists: Club Base Vol. 9
2003 "My Time"
(with Dutch)
18 22 My Time: Remix EP
2004 "Destination Unknown"
(with Alex Gaudino)
98 Non-album single
"Lies" DJ Boom: Electro Compilation
2006 "Destination Calabria"
(with Alex Gaudino)
3 55 6 30 2 14 35 50 4 Non-album single
2008 "Dancefloor"
(with Speakerbox)
Dancefloor: Remix EP
2009 "Never Enough" Non-album single
"Gypsy Woman 2009"
(vs. Tristan Garner)
76 Gypsy Woman 2009: Remix EP
"Gypsy Woman 2010"
(vs. DJ Flava)
Non-album single
2010 "When People Come Together"
(with Bellani & Spada)
2011 "Say Yeah"
(vs. Fred Pellichero)
"Le Bump"
(with Yolanda Be Cool)
2012 "Long Day"
(with Inaya Day Allstars)
"Love I Call My Own"
(with Nicola Fasano & Steve Forest)
Love I Call My Own: Remix EP
2013 "Oh Mama Hey"
(with Chris Cox and DJ Frankie)
Non-album single
(with Armand Pena, Harry Romero, and Alex Alicea)
"Gypsy Woman 2013"
(with Musique Boutique)
Gypsy Woman 2013: Remix EP
2014 "Be Kind"
(with StoneBridge)
Be Kind: Remix EP
"Every Day"
(with Murk)
Non-album single
2015 "Let Me Be the One"
(with David Tort & Nick Marsh)
(with Sted-E & Hybrid Heights)
2016 "Believe"
(featuring Sted-E & Hybrid Heights)
2017 "Testify"
(Hifi Sean featuring Crystal Waters)
2018 "I Am House"
(with Sted-E and Hybrid Heights)
"Merry Christmas All"
(Hybrid Heights, Sted-E, John J-C Carr, Stacy Kidd)
2019 "United in Dance"
(with R-NALDO)
2020 "Party People"
(with DJ Spen and DJ Micfreak)
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Category Result
1991 "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" American Music Awards Favorite Single – Dance Nominated
Herself Favorite Artist – Dance Nominated
Favorite New Artist – Dance Nominated
1992 "Makin' Happy" Billboard Music Video Awards Best Dance Video – Female Nominated
1994 Herself Billboard Music Awards Top Hot Dance Music Club Play Artist Nominated
Top Hot Dance Music Maxi-Singles Sales Artist Nominated
"100% Pure Love" Top-Selling Hot Dance Music Club Play Single Won
Top Hot Dance Music Maxi-Single Sales Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Dance Video Nominated
Storyteller Vibe's Music Poll Best Album – Club/Dance Won [27]
1996 "100% Pure Love" ASCAP Pop Music Awards Most Performed Song Won [28]
2004 "My Time" (with Dutch) International Dance Music Awards Best House/Garage Dance Track Nominated
The listed years are of the annual ceremonies, usually held the following year.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Waters, Crystal [@crystalwaters1] (November 19, 2018). "Today's my Birthday! Happy Bday to me! Big Love & Thanks to everyone who has supported me, loved me unconditionally and just plain old been a good friend! May next year bring us much love joy and success !" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "Unsung on TV One: Crystal Waters". Unsung. March 31, 2019. TV One.
  3. ^ "Greatest of All Time Top Dance Club Artists". Billboard Music. August 27, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2018. 39 – Crystal Waters
  4. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1998). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Dance Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 362/3. ISBN 0-7535-0252-6.
  5. ^ a b "The Story of Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)"". Thump. April 8, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2018. My family were very musical. My great-aunt, Ethel Waters, was a very famous actor and singer in the 1940s, and my father was a jazz musician for his entire life. My uncle was the lead saxophonist with MSFB, if you remember them? I grew up with all of that, and there were rehearsals in our house, and I'd go on tour with my father in the summers, so the musician's lifestyle was just part of my life.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Crystal Waters Chart History – Dance Club Songs". Billboard. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Billboard > Artists / Crystal Waters > Chart History > The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  8. ^ Paoletta, Michael (May 1, 2004) "Where Have All the Divas Gone?" Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  9. ^ Iannacci, Elio (June 29, 2014). "Divine Diva Meter: Crystal Waters". Xtra. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  10. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Crystal Waters > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Australian (ARIA Chart) peaks:
  12. ^ a b " > Crystal Waters in der Österreichischen Hitparade" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  13. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Crystal Waters – Surprise (album)". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  14. ^ a b " > Crystal Waters in Dutch Charts" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  15. ^ a b " > Crystal Waters in der Schweizer Hitparade" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  16. ^ a b c "American certifications – Crystal Waters". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  17. ^ " > Crystal Waters dans les Charts Français" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  18. ^ German singles chart peaks:
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know > Search results for Crystal Waters (from". Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  20. ^ " > Crystal Waters in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  21. ^ "Official Charts > Crystal Waters". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  22. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 388. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  23. ^ a b "British certifications – Crystal Waters". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 3, 2022. Type Crystal Waters in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  24. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1994". Australian Record Industry Association Ltd. Archived from the original on October 25, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  25. ^ "Official Charts > David Morales & Bad Yard Club". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  26. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2008" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  27. ^ "Music 94 Poll Results", Vibe Vixen, 3 (2), March 1995, ISSN 1070-4701, Club/Dance: Best Album – "Storyteller" – Crystal Waters
  28. ^ "Billboard". June 1996.

External links[edit]