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Mel Waiters

From Soul Express 2/1996


We started this column by introducing a fine new talent and we close it by presenting another great new voice, belonging to Mr. Mel Waiters. His CD, I'm Serious (Seriosounds), was released in January this year. The label is owned by David C. Perkins out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but the material was recorded in San Antonio, in Mel's house studio. Mel produced and wrote the whole set, and there's one Bobby Marchan - yes, THAT Bobby Marchan! - working as a promoter for the album. Mel also plays all the instruments, with the exception of Conrad Hilton on sax.

The set opens with a mellow, catchy dancer, Whatever It Took, on which Mel doubles and echoes his voice, something he likes to do on numerous tracks. The cut was released as a single, coupled with the second track, a beat ballad, Something In Common. "That is a selection that I learned over the years. The two of you may have something in common and not even know it. I'm often targeting basically single people that have been through life experiences of hardships and let-downs."

Hit It & Quit It could fill the dance-floors. "`Hit It & Quit It' is a hot single right now that's been in the charts since January. It is a blues track that was written for a personal friend of mine that passed away, for Buddy Ace, a great blues singer. He didn't get a chance to record it, so I released it on my album, and right now it seems to be one of the hottest tracks on my album in the States."

Mel, by the way, names Willie Clayton as his favourite artist right now. I'm Serious is a soulful, heavily swaying ballad, which - like Hit It & Quit It - is repeated `live' at the end of the CD. "It's a `studio production live'."

After one mechanical dancer (Caught My Eye) we are treated to a fine soul ballad, Make'm Like You, which reminds me of the stuff they used to do in Philadelphia in the 70's. "That was written for all the great women in society, the very hard to find. When you find one, you need to hold on to her."

Pressure is a busy beat ballad. "`Pressure' is a medium-tempo ballad that I'm in love with. That's written for women that've experienced quite a few changes in life and have a hard time getting things together with their love affairs. It expresses a hardship of a woman that's been torn."

Spend More Time is a deepish ballad with rough and gravelly soul wailing. "It is a selection that I wrote from a personal experience. Spend more time with your woman. Material things really don't matter. All it requires is quality time. At the moment I'm married and I'm trying to save it. I have a daughter (10 years old) and a son (3 years old)."

"`Are You Into Me' is a real serious r&b ballad. Every time I sing it in public live, the crowd in the audience actually feel the energy that's behind that particular song. It tells a story of a man with an expression of asking a woman 'are you into this relationship as seriously as I am'. I've been through that experience in life myself being in an affair where I was really into it and she wasn't."

Are You Into Me is also Mel's own favourite alongside with Hit It & Quit It, I'm Serious and Pressure.

Let's Do Each Other is a sharp dancer. "I had in mind a Cameo flavour." What The Rain Does is an atmospheric, quality soul ballad, which once more - like Make'm Like You - reminds me of Eddie Levert and The O'Jays. "It is a song about whenever it rains in the States or wherever, the rain just happens at times to set the mood for relationships and love affairs. People tend to wanna be intimate.

I grew up listening to The O'Jays, they're one of my favourite groups. I admired them quite a bit. I was a DJ for nine years in Texas, and I've heard a lot of Philly music. I guess, subconsciously when I'm creating and writing my music, a lot of their tunes and stuff go over and over in my head."

For the present Mel is the only recording artist at Seriousounds. "David Perkins is working on another artist at this time. I'm also working on another artist myself. His name is Jody Sticker, and the selection is out in a couple of months. I also recorded a ballad with him entitled `I'm Moving In'."

Melvin Waiters was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 25.6. 1956, so he's just turned into forty. "At the age of seven, after I received my first drum set on a Christmas morning, I went into the living-room, where my grand-parents were at and I started `I'm a drummer by trade'. By twelve noon they took it away from me.

I started playing at the age of twelve, and in my senior high school years I started playing with quite a few bands around town. We played around suburbs and went to other cities. I also did a lot of opening dates for bands like Frankie Beverly & Maze. This was through 1984.

I also became a jock, an announcer by 1976 at the radio station in San Antonio ('76 -'82) and in Beaumont, Texas ('82 -'84).

After that I sort of got out of the music for a minute, concentrated on marriage life and worked as a club manager, and got back into music in 1989. Then I started putting together my own band and my own studio. It was called The Concept Band. At that time I was recording in other recording studios, but I couldn't get the sound I really wanted. Then after working at military basis for the Government for about seven years ('89 -'95) I was able to purchase my own recording equipment and get it installed in my home. At that time I began working on my personal album, which is `I'm Serious'."

Mel spent about five years in the working process for the album. "I was introduced to Dave Perkins through my saxophone player who knew a guy by the name of Scott Lewis III. He had a rap artist on Dave's label. He introduced me to Dave, I signed with him two years ago, and I became one of Dave's more recent projects. Dave went with my album and postponed some other things, and it's been uphill since then.

Right now I'm in my studio finishing up my new album (for Seriousounds), which will be released, I guess, in about three or four months."

-Heikki Suosalo
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