Brenda Faye Waters, a Stellar Award winning gospel artist, died on Tuesday, March 17, 2005 at 3:15 p.m. ten days after her birthday. She had a coronary during her therapy session. She suffered a stroke in January and had been hospitalized and undergoing physical therapy since that time. "On her birthday my son sang her `Itsy Bitsy Spider over the telephone and she got a kick out of that," says Waters daughter, Hedreich Nichols zon Reichert, who was at her home in Switzerland when she heard the news of her mothers passing.
Condolences have poured in from Waters friends. "As a child I listened to Brenda's unique ability to arrange vocals as well as her creative approach to songwriting," Grammy-nominated producer Donald Lawrence reflects. "I never imagined we would meet and become the close friends we were...she definitely inspired my creative approach to songwriting and I will always love her!"
Legendary soprano Sara Jordan Powell says, "Brenda Waters, what a great spirit! Her laughter was always sunny and her presence in my life was positively impacting. Her musical gifts and talents were unique and extraordinarily awe-inspiring. I will always have many wonderful and pleasant memories of times shared with Brenda Faye Waters."
Waters former label mate at Crystal Rose Records, Ricky Dillard, says, "Brenda Waters - in my book - was the Chenaniah of the 21st century. A minstrel who was skillful and knowledgeable of her craft. Anointed to manage and build music ministry. The kingdom of our Lord will miss this servant holding up the musical wall."
An only child, Waters was born March 7th circa 1950 in Alexandra, LA. Her parents moved the family to Chicago when Waters was a child and finally relocated to Houston when she was eight years old. She first sang in the Progressive Baptist Church Youth Choir when she was twelve and was active in various local theater productions. Her big break came in 1967 when she earned the role of Miss Money in the hit Black musical version of "Hello Dolly" that starred Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway.
Circa 1972, Waters formed the B, C and S Singers (Brenda, Carl and Shirley, with Carl Preacher and Shirley Joiner. They recorded a number of albums for Savoy Records. They later formed the Southeastern Inspirational Youth Choir along with Carl Preacher and Shirley Joiner. Among their hit Lps were "Ill Go" (1980), "10th Annual Praise and Re-Dedication Concert" (1981), "Be Thou Faithful" (1984), "15th Annual Praise and Re-Dedication Concert" (1985).
Their Lp "Inspire Me" on Sweet Rain Records reached the Billboard Gospel Top 40 in 1988 and spent 29 weeks on the chart. The choir was also the career launch for gospel superstar Yolanda Adams who made her recording debut on the choirs 1982 hit "My Liberty."
During those years, Waters recorded a handful of solo singles such as "Gods Not Through with Me Yet" for Jewel Records in 1980. She also recorded "Somewhere Listening" and "He Cares for Me" for the Sonshine Record Company in 1981.
She finally released her only complete solo CD "Believers and Friends" on Crystal Rose Records in 1999. It featured the massive radio hit "Victory " and won her a Stellar Award as Best Traditional Gospel Artist the following year.
"While Crystal Rose was going about the business of marketing and promoting her last CD `Believers and Friends - I discovered Brenda's unique sense of humor," Crystal Rose President Brian Spears recalls. "She called me one afternoon and said, `Brian, I want you to teach me everything you know about the music business; I want to know everything. So, after spending an hour on the phone sharing with her Music Business 101, Brenda interrupted and said, `Ok, I need to rest now, `cause you just gave me a headache. That was Brenda Waters when she was not singing and ministering."
However, the younger generation recalls Waters for her dramatic performances with Donald Lawrence & the Tri-City Singers over the years. Among her featured solos were "Personal Friend" on the Tri-City Singers first CD "A Songwriters Point of View" in 1993. She then led "Stranger" and "Dont Forget to Remember" on their sophomore CD "Bible Stories" in 1995. She also performed "Uzziah" on their "Tri-City4.com" project. Over the years, she has also participated in stage productions of "The Me Nobody Knows."
Last year, she wrote and starred in a Houston production of her play, "Wings." Before her stroke, she had been working with Rev. Calvin Emery on staging a play in Baton Rouge, LA. Waters is survived by her only child, Hedreich Nichols zon Reichert, her son-in-law Hellmuth zon Reichert and her eleven-month old grandson, Christopher zon Reichert. She also has several extended family members, including several cousins, a half brother and half sister.
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