S1-E1: Crystal Waters with Sted-E and Hybrid Heights

On this episode we talk to Crystal Waters an American house and dance music singer and songwriter, known for her 1990s hits “Gypsy Woman”, “100% Pure Love”, and the 2007 hit track “Destination Calabria” with Alex Gaudino. Also on this episode is Sted-E & Hybrid Heights, the two have released several chart topping singles and EP’s. Their latest single entitled “Believe” with house legend, Crystal Waters reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Club Chart making it the duo’s second #1 original production record.

Dylan:
Can you feel the synergy?

Luis 2 Live:
I can feel it. I can feel it. We got the DJs, producers, Sted E and Hybrid Heights on the phone today. And the queen of house, the diva herself, Crystal Waters! What’s up, guys?

Dylan:
Oh my… The queen of house. Can we say that one more time? Hello Crystal.

Crystal Waters:
Hi. Thank you for that title. I take it.

Luis 2 Live:
You take it? Right.

Luis 2 Live:
Sted E and Hybrid Heights, I met these guys about 5, 6 years ago in Atlantic City. You guys, I don’t know if you remember when we first met, they were smoking cigars and I was like, “who are these guys?”

Dylan:
I didn’t know he was going to say cigars, I’m glad you stopped at cigars!

Luis 2 Live:
I’ll stop there. I’ll stop there. But you know, they definitely were all about the music. They were talking about the studio, how he has it in the back of his house, they definitely were studio rats. So that’s the first thing that intrigued me about these guys. And they were doing a lot of remixes, you were doing a lot of remixes at the time. Can you tell me a little bit how the transition went from remixing to now producing your own tracks, featuring Crystal Waters?

Hybrid Heights:
Well, we were always making our own tracks. We just never had a source to get them out there. And we finally started hooking up with some people like Robbie Rivera, Todd Terry and that was a good outlet to let some of that music be heard and let it shine. And then finally last year we were at an event for KTU actually, and they invited us there and we met Crystal that we had known Crystal from the past and we just kind of just hooked up, started talking. And we told her about this track that we had and we thought it would be great for her. We sent it to her and a couple of weeks later, she sends it back with this amazing vocal. And we were like, “Whoa”, when we just were like, “Could we put this out?” She was like, “Yeah.” [laugh] “Let’s get it signed and let’s do it.” (music)

Sted-E:
The first time we played it was in Miami, it was a music conference. So that was our time to test it out. And, you know, they started people here and they got great reaction. It was like, all right, we’ve got something really cool here. Yeah.

Luis 2 Live:
Well, I would say it definitely got a fantastic reaction. Cause you guys hit a milestone on the Billboard Club Dance charts. Number one. Is that, is that right?

Hybrid Heights:
That is correct.

Luis 2 Live:
Congratulations on that. So that’s definitely, that’s definitely huge. And you know, just got to say congratulations for that.

Dylan:
Crystal, you just, I mean, you were very selective about who you’re working with. How did how the whole thing happen for you going, “this is… I got, this is a track I got to do.”

Crystal Waters:
You know, I get a lot of tracks and I say at the time when I got the Synergy track, I was getting a lot of that EDM rise and fall stuff.

Luis 2 Live:
Yeah. Right. With the drop, with the big drops.

Crystal Waters:
I was really over it. This one has kind of stood out and I just kind of, when I heard it, I was like, I had to check with him. I said, “You didn’t give that check away yet. Cause I know there was someone else who wanted it.” I won’t say any names.

Luis 2 Live:
Mm okay.

Crystal Waters:
So they said it. So I sat down like right away, as soon as I got, I remember getting the first verse and I just loved it. As soon as I got the words, can’t remember it wasn’t Synergy at first, as soon as I got the word Synergy, I was like, “okay.”

Dylan:
Yeah, that word, what does it mean to you, Crystal? That the song and I guess the, the… the synergy of the message.

Crystal Waters:
Yeah. Synergy it’s, you know, mental, you know, cosmos and all that stuff. I love those scientific terms and how that all works out, but it is where I’m at in my life right now, really how everything all came together in the end, just like bumping into steady, you know, you never… I wasn’t even going to this, it was a Christmas party. I wasn’t even going, I fell, let me go. And, you know, kind of struggled at, and it all, it just all works out and you just be patient and all that kind of stuff. So I’m like, you know, I’m in a good spot in my life now, you know, I get… I remember the 90’s they called me a One-hit Wonder, so…

Dylan:
They don’t call you that no more. They’re using their words. Hey, did you catch when she said, “I got nine now,”

Luis 2 Live:
It’s kind of like The Ring… she got more rings than the Bulls, man. She like with her jewelry on, like, “I got, excuse me, I got…” Exactly.

Dylan:
What are you guys doing in the future? Is there, I mean, this is, we got Synergy now it’s number one. It’s there a future plans with you guys.

Crystal Waters:
We have a single coming up.

Luis 2 Live:
Oh, all right.

Hybrid Heights:
Yeah we got a new track finished. It’s called, “I am House” (music)

Sted-E:
I think with “I am House” what Crystal was trying to get across with that is that she is house and it just, once again, it was like another Synergy and just worked its way to be what it is. And we’re very excited about it.

Luis 2 Live:
So just kind of taken it back a little bit Sted E and Hybrid, your influence as far as music growing up for you to make a track that Crystal Waters wanted to be a part of, I mean, what kind of influences that were shaped your musical career?

Sted-E:
Well, I thank God has a dream come true, really. Because to work with a person like Crystal Waters, I mean, not everybody has that opportunity first of all. You know, I grew up with that, the same with a gypsy woman and 100% pure love, I have all that stuff on vinyl. I mean, you know, so it’s an honor to work with Crystal for that fact, but I definitely grew up with the house culture. I mean, I come from the vinyl days. I come from buying all the Todd Terry, all the David Morales, all those guys that are a role model to me.

Dylan:
Quick question and I’m going to ask this to Luis too. Can you guys see Crystal in your head right now on that album cover?

Luis 2 Live:
Yes.

Dylan:
What’s on it?

Luis 2 Live:
I recall a, well, it probably was a few different covers who knows? I know it was a light blue and you were wearing a white wig.

Crystal Waters:
Yeah. I wore those platinum wigs way back in the day before anybody

Luis 2 Live:
Original Gaga right here

Crystal Waters:
I was the original.

Dylan:
That’s the original! I love it! (Crystal Water Song Plays)

Dylan:
Those lips, most of them sunglasses that you’re famous for and that voice and all your videos. You wrote Gypsy Woman, can you explain the lyrics a little bit? Can you explain what was going on? Was there a lot of homeless women at the time that you were seeing putting on makeup? What was..

Crystal Waters:
Okay, I’m going to tell this story one more time.

Dylan:
Sorry. Sorry to ask again.

Crystal Waters:
No, it’s okay. A lot of people never even listen to the lyrics. All they hear is La da dee la dee da. So this story is I wrote this phone that basically to given me this track and all I had was, “La da dee la dee da.” and I couldn’t… I sounded really good, but I couldn’t find any words that really, that short enough to fit, you know, the rhythm.

Crystal Waters:
So I thought about this woman, I knew that stood in front of the Mayflower Hotel in D.C. Was a black lady, she was singing gospel songs and put a hat out, but she always had this full face, she was always done, a full face of makeup, all black. She looked like she was, you know, she didn’t need any help. And I had this really nasty attitude towards her cause she looked like she had money. And then the local city paper did an article on her and explained that she had just lost her job in retail. She figured that if she was going to ask you for money, that she would look nice and presentable. And in this kind of…The whole article just changed my whole idea about homeless, how it can happen to anybody like just that quick, overnight, and the things you have to do. So it’s really about a real lady that was here in Washington, DC. (crystal waters gypsy woman hook)

Dylan:
Looking back in the, you know, nineties, early nineties, when that… What was one of the greatest moments would you say from, you know, those songs from Gypsy Woman, 100% Pure Luck?

Crystal Waters:
Well, I always remember with Gypsy Woman; when I was walking to work, you know, I had to park 3 miles away cause I couldn’t afford to park downtown. And I was crossing the street and I heard somebody call my name, I took my, I had my Walkman, all that stuff. Don’t forget that part and I took my headphones off, it was nobody called. So I put my Walkman back on. It was the radio announcer saying, “This is the new Crystal Waters, Gypsy Woman…” Is just, Oh my God. I think I was in the middle of the street. That whole moment was like, Oh my God, it changed my whole life. Everything that you worked for now, I’m on the radio. So that was kind of one of the best, best moments I was awesome.

Luis:
That’s awesome.

Dylan:
Now, you know, Chicago House music did, was Chicago, was there any Chicago connection or influence in your career at all?

Crystal Waters:
Yeah. My father was a Jazz musician and he spent a lot of time in the Chicago area and every summer I would spend with him in Chicago. So I know a lot about Chicago. I’ve written my name on the [inaudible 00:11:07] East Wall several times.

Luis 2 Live:
And you actually were here not too long ago. You performed at the Pride Fest, right?

Crystal Waters:
Yeah. I do Chicago a lot. I love Chicago, that would be the other city I will live in if I could.

Dylan:
One last question for you, Crystal Waters. Your mama owns the masters these days. You’re on… Hey, you’re making it with licensing and stuff. I know this is a bad question, but has that Lada D made you a lot of dough?

Crystal Waters:
I’m so happy that I wrote that song. I tell people it has a life of its own because I just check in on it because it gets sample. And…

Dylan:
Do you have any advice for somebody that’s listening? That is a future hit maker as you’ve went through this, how many times? Is there anything you would tell them?

Crystal Waters:
Get a great attorney, listen to what they say. Cause it is a business. You know, people want to do it to be famous and all that stuff, but it is a business. And another thing is be nice to everyone and don’t burn any bridges and you never know who you’re talking to.

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