Born on June 25,1956, in San Antonio, Texas, Melvin “Marvelous Mel” Waiters was affectionately hailed as singing “hole-in-the-wall blues.” A musician from his early beginnings, Mel, started his music career shortly after beginning to talk.
His grandmother enlisted him in the children’s choir at Jacobs Chapel United Methodist Church. His first solo was “Jesus Loves Me.” He began singing in R&B clubs while in his teens. He spent some time as a disc jockey on local radio, meanwhile continuing to perform whenever opportunities arose. He eventually was offered a regular gig singing at military bases. Waiters began attracting wider audiences on the R&B circuit, and in 1996, and again two years later, he won the Jackson Music Award. He enjoyed chart success with “Hit It and Quit It” from his 1995 debut album I’m Serious. Another important single success was “Got My Whiskey” from his third album, Woman In Need.
Influenced primarily by Teddy Pendergrass, Waiters’ smooth vocal style and his slow, soulful ballads continued to bring him steadily more attention and his fourth album, Material Things, made the Billboard Top 100 R&B charts with its hit single “Hole in the Wall.” Among other hit singles have been “Man Shoes,” “Show You How to Love Again,” “How Can I Get Next to You,” and “The Smaller the Club.” Even today, “Got My Whiskey” and “She Ain't Drunk” are siren songs for many in the deep South. His songs, in fact, set the tone for dancing and socializing in juke joints, dives, and small clubs throughout the South. Known for turning a living room into a backyard barbeque or a southern soul blues party, his hits like “Hole in the Wall” became an anthem of sorts for small bars and dives, often called a “hole in the wall,” or a place frequented by local folks who know how to have a good time.
[pullquote align="left" class="" cite="" link="" color=""] "I sing about real life from the experiences I've gone through and people respond because they've been through it, too.".[/pullquote]
Famous for his song’s catchy hooks, he once explained, “My mark is finding a great hook. The record is only going to be as good as the hook is.” In most every song, he candidly expressed his feelings to show his audience, which was predominantly female, that he was not afraid to share what it is like to be in love with a good woman, a bad woman or both. "Running Stop Lights," a cut with a haunting vibe of yearning for a forbidden lover, expresses how hard it is to love someone who belongs to another. Making a woman happy in the bedroom was a theme he seemed to enjoy singing about as much as he enjoyed the audience’s reaction to it. Unpretentious, Waiters said, "I sing about real life from the experiences I've gone through and people respond because they've been through it, too.
"He called his music genre “southern soul” because the lyrics were “blues related” but the music production style was R&B. Throughout his career, Waiters was a welcome staple on blues concert circuits throughout the country. He has appeared with such R&B and blues greats as Bobby Blue Bland; Bobby Womack; Gladys Knight; Betty Wright; The Manhattans; Clarence Carter; Shirley Murdock; Zapp Band; Evelyn Champaign King; Charlie Wilson; and Babyface.Waiters died after a short battle with cancer on May 28, 2015. He leaves his wife of 34 years, Porchia, their daughter, Brittney, for whom he named his record label (Brittney Records) and his son, Khiry.