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Singer Mel Waiters dead at 58

Mel-Waiters2Singer Mel Waiters dead at 58

SAN ANTONIO — Mel Waiters, a flashy rhythm and blues singer known for soulful party songs like Hole In The Wall and  The Smaller The Club, died Thursday, May 28, 2015 after a short battle with cancer. He was 58.

Waiters was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, where he honed his powerful voice in both the church choir and in nightclubs beginning in the early 1970s. He worked as a radio DJ and as an entertainer on military bases, drumming in cover bands at teen clubs under government contract.

His debut album I’m Serious, which included the regional hit Hit It and Quit It, was released in 1995 on the Baton Rouge-based Serious Sound label. It established his modern soul blues sound, singing about romance and revelry – often with a saucy sense of humor – over synthesizers, bass and sultry horns. In a 2013 interview, he credited the New Orleans music impresario and former Huey “Piano” Smith and the Clowns vocalist Bobby Marchan with bringing the single to radio and helping to launch his solo career.

Soon after, he signed to the Waldoxy imprint of the Jackson, Miss.-based Malaco Records, joining Southern soul blues artists such as Marvin Sease, Denise LaSalle and Willie Clayton. He performed often on blues cruises, on package tours and at festivals, including New Orleans’ Big Easy Blues Fest and the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival. His most recent album was February’s True Love, on his own Brittney Records label.

He was survived by his wife, Portia, and a daughter, Brittney.

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