Beth Waters
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Beth Waters

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


"Review of the self-titled CD "Beth Waters""

Beth Waters new self-titled CD on Mermaid Mafia Records is a collection of twelve intelligently written, piano driven tunes featuring Beth's extraordinary talent, not only as a songwriter, but as a vocalist and composer as well. She aptly starts the CD with "Sweaters" a song where she promises, "I believe I can change the world, just give me time." This song was featured on KFOG 104.5 out of California.

Beth has drawn comparisons to both Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos and, while I think this is fair, I feel she is more grounded than Amos, and less interested in following the mainstream than McLachlan has become in her later releases. This is not to say that Water's songs can not be played on mainstream radio, they certainly possess the qualities necessary for AA radio play.

Beth shows an incredible range on this CD without ever giving way to her piano driven, singer/songwriter style. From the hard hitting "Philosophy" to the mellow love song "Blue and White." - Best Female

"Performing Songwriter review"

"These songs glimmer like a glass of red wine in candlelight. They're dark, rich and whisperingly intimate. A virtuosic blend of moody Tori Amos piano work and Sarah McLachlan harmony bending, Waters' self-titled release is startling in its depth of texture and lyric. Whether she's skittering through a trip-hop groove on "Sweaters" or laying it down sweet and broken on "Blue and White," Waters has a firm grasp on the power in the dynamics of her playing and the close secretive delivery of her vocals.

This colletion sits somewhere between Triple A radio and college rock and should appeal to fans of both-particularly to those of Amos, McLachlan and Fiona Apple.

Sexy, thoughtful, fierce and detached, she runs the gamut of emotion and experience with easy style and class." --CS - Performing Songwriter

"Rising Waters"

"it's a gorgeous, bittersweet piece of music that, if given the right care, could someday devour VH1."

May 16th, 2004 in The Datebook Section

Full Review Below:

It can't be this easy. Nobody sits down at a piano and comes up with a song that makes the world stop just by randomly poking around the keys. Certainly not while carrying on a meaningless conversation with two other people in the room. It's not normal.

"What's that?" asks percussionist Ricky Carter, mid-sentence and turning to singer-songwriter Beth Waters, who is distractedly picking out chords at the keyboard.

"This happens every time," says the bass player, Kevin White, shaking his head. "She plays something, he asks what it is, and we spend the next few hours trying to turn it into a song."

"It's pretty. I like it," says Waters, 28, plunking away.

Soon she is repeating the refrain and Carter is humming an improvised melody over it. This isn't just some lousy ragtime Billy Joel tune either, it's a gorgeous, bittersweet piece of music that, if given the right care, could someday devour VH1.

"The best stuff always comes when you start playing," Waters says. "Before you start thinking."

They keep at the melody for a few more minutes, drawing in more notes each time they pass through its core, but decide to hold off on turning it into an actual song for now.

"We would be here all night," Carter says.

"Yeah. It used to be really fun working on a new song, but now if we indulge our writing side then we will never rehearse," Waters says.

Letting the song go is a tragedy on the scale of the Titanic -- or at least its ensuing film soundtrack. It's a warm Tuesday evening. The first purple rays of sunset are peering over the top of the blinds in a small white bedroom in a Victorian on Irving Street, where Waters -- a local songwriter who is quietly becoming a really big deal -- and her two band mates are meant to be rehearsing songs for a forthcoming in-store appearance at Tower Records.

By day, Waters, who plays Cafe Du Nord with her band next week, works as a nanny for a pair of Bay Area families.

All the rest of her time, however, goes to nurturing a music career through her own independent label, called Mermaid Mafia Records, which released two full-length albums, 2000's "Over the Tide" and last year's "Beth Waters." A strong instinct for self-promotion has helped her sell hundreds of thousands of singles online, get local radio play and land her songs in tear- jerking television shows like "One Tree Hill" and "1-800-Missing." It's not exactly "CSI: Miami," but it's a start.

Waters' latest marketing tactic is wooing the staff at local Tower Records stores into putting her CDs on the listening posts by offering a series of free in-store performances. "Now the store managers are my biggest fans," she says, laughing. "Every time I play they all get their video cameras out."

She met up with Carter and White in October 2003, shortly after her second album came out. As veteran session players for various big names and unknowns alike, they bring invaluable guidance and career advice to the table.

In return,Waters offers the musicians a chance to work with an artist who is not only primed for a ridiculously long career but shares their enthusiasm for even the most boring details of the profession. She arrives today with a bulging folder of handwritten sheet music they spend a good 15 minutes cooing over.

"I feel like a serious musician now," she says.

Waters is one of nine children in a family that, as she was growing up, ricocheted among various posts in California, Utah and Oregon. The Bay Area was always a key stop: Waters was born in San Jose, attended high school in Woodside and now lives in the East Bay.

"Piano and music were the only real stable things in my life," she says.

She started writing songs at the piano when she was 8, mainly because that's what her older brother did and that was the year her parents got divorced. "I used to go outside and sing my own songs to the trees and airplanes," Waters says.

She soon graduated to fully fleshed cover songs by FM rock bands like Journey and Styx until, at 12, she discovered the black keys on the piano and set off on the path of dramatic, slow-burning songs that still define her work.

"I was so pissed when Tori Amos came out," she recalls.

Waters says she couldn't stomach that another female singer-songwriter playing angst-filled rock songs on the piano had beat her out of the gate even though she was only 15 at the time. Each time someone like Fiona Apple or Sarah McLachlan came along it had the same effect. To Waters, their success didn't equal encouragement -- it just inspired intense jealousy.

"I had serious stage envy," Waters says. "I felt very competitive about it. I really thought I was just as good as they were."

Her attitude changed after she saw Alanis Morissette play live while Waters was attending college in Santa B - San Francisco Chronicle


I could quote her all night long and while, given her talent, that alone would be enough to attract any listener's interest, the only way to fully appreciate this gem is to pick up a copy of her CD. But do it quickly: with songs like these, her CDs will sell out faster than you can say "Beth Waters."

Full Review Below:

Beth Waters: Beth Waters
May 2004
By: Ami Lieberman

There’s always a bit of hesitation writing CD reviews. What if I get a CD that I dislike, and can’t find anything positive to say? So when I tore open my package to find Beth Waters’s self titled album, I approached my listening with trepidation. However, with a sweet, soothing voice reminiscent of Tara MacLean and piano talent comparable to Sarah McLachlan, I was immediately taken. Not often does an unknown new artist creep into one’s CD player and stay there for weeks. But Beth Waters’s CD, with her obvious skill and hypnotically infectious melodies, has landed that locale.

In Philosophy, Waters demonstrates an understanding of the interconnectedness of life. There is no original thought / It's all been done / So when you think that you’re alone / You’re not the only one / We are all connected / And nothing stands between us / Except for ourselves. One of the reasons I find myself so drawn to this CD is its lyrical charm. While Beth Waters displays a magical understanding of life around her, she also opens up her own personal experiences with her words. The songs are an enchanting blend of private narratives and worldly awareness.

In Sweaters, Waters poeticizes that It called to mind how I’d always felt like I’m / The last one to hear of things / I’m in the back of the room watching all of you / I go unnoticed, but I notice everything. With songs that purvey a great aptitude for perception, I don’t think Waters will go unnoticed for much longer in the music world.

In my favorite track on the album, Spun Sugar, Waters sings about the ever relatable experience of telling someone you love them, and fearing the consequences of that attachment. She uses heavy metaphors throughout the song, but the most gripping comes from the first verse. I don’t wanna tell you I love you / And watch you wither away, wither away / Like a wildflower I picked and it died in an hour / Like it knew I stole its freedom / And it’d rather die than live that way. The whole CD is full of word play, making it impossible to stop listening.

I could quote her all night long and while, given her talent, that alone would be enough to attract any listener's interest, the only way to fully appreciate this gem is to pick up a copy of her CD. But do it quickly: with songs like these, her CDs will sell out faster than you can say "Beth Waters."

©2002-2006 - Amy Lieberman

"Collected Sounds Review"

"This is another one of those CDs that you pop into the stereo and know within moments that it's one you will be listening to over and over again for a long time." - Amy Lotsberg, Producer,

Full Review Below:

This is another one of those CDs that you pop into the stereo and know within moments that it's one you will be listening to over and over again for a long time. It feels like a staple in my music collection by the second song.

The production is high quality. The songs are thoughtful, emotional and well written. The voice matches the songs beautifully with power and feeling.

OK here's where we talk about comparisons. Her Press Kit has her likened to Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos and Norah Jones. I read that and thought, OK, she is a female who plays piano…that's about all I can see that link those women together. They are all quite different from each other in my eyes.

For my money the comparison would be to Jonatha Brooke if any. I can certainly hear the Sarah M lilt that occasionally comes out in her voice, but she has that great pop sensibility that Ms. Brooke has (and that I so admire). Plain and simple, she knows how to write a pop song. I don't mean cheesy-teen pop either, I mean good, solid, intelligent pop...Matthew Sweet/Ben Folds that…the good stuff.

The CD has some very touching songs. Namely "Mom" and "Dad" The former being a love letter to her mother saying she likes the way her mother raised her even though she had to do it alone. The latter being about her father who left the family. One of the nice touches here is that "Mom" is sung TO her mother, while "Dad" is sung mostly about him except for a few verses (as opposed to "to" him, as if she doesn't speak to him but about him).

Other strong songs are the opening "Sweater" where she repeats the line, "But I believe I can change the world/Just give me time."

Then in Spun Sugar there's this great verse:

"I don't want to tell you I love you
And watch you wither away, wither away
Like a wildflower I picked and it died in an hour,
Like it knew I stole its freedom,
And it'd rather die than live that way."
Wow, pretty perceptive, and powerful.

Probably my favorite track is "Edge Of The Earth". Everything comes together here. Her knack for melody and creating a feeling really shows here.

This CD has it all: outstanding vocals, exceptional musicianship, intelligent lyrics and gives the listener an all around wonderful feeling.

Posted on December 23, 2003 - Collected

"Complilation Winners"

Jane Magazine
"What can't Beth do? Singer, songwriter, pianist and now this. Damn, girl. Her striking track sounds like something we'll be hearing on the radio any second now. Hopefully on an nice long drive." - Jane Magazine, November 2003 issue - Jane Magazine


EP Don’t Look Back 1997
LP Over The Tide 2000
LP Beth Waters Live 2001
LP “Beth Waters” 2003
Single -“Forms Of The Truth” 2005
LP “Forms Of The Truth” to be released this spring.


Feeling a bit camera shy


In the summer of 2003, singer/songwriter Beth Waters released her self-titled debut; a collection of songs that were largely autobiographical which Performing Songwriter called, “whisperingly intimate.” San Francisco’s top radio station, KFOG 104.5 FM got behind the virtually unknown Waters and played the album’s lead track “Sweaters” in regular rotation. Before long, the album had gained momentum and won the affections of The San Francisco Chronicle as well as being featured on Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Performing Songwriter, Jane Magazine, Women Who Rock and Independent Musician all wrote about the album and Waters began winning awards for her work. “Beth Waters” was named “Best Female Singer/Songwriter CD of 2001-2003” by the Indie Acoustic Project and the hit single “Sweaters” was named song of the year by the DIY Convention in Los Angeles. Another track from the album, the soft, mournful ballad “Blue and White,” was featured in the hit television drama “One Tree Hill” on The W.B. Television Network and also in the movie “Recipe for a Perfect Christmas” on the Lifetime Television Network. Waters enjoyed impressive sales for an independent musician on Apple’s iTunes Music Store, charting in the top 100 selling records for 2 weeks in row after “Beth Waters” digital release.

“I was thrilled”, exclaimed Waters, “and also finally certain of my musical direction.” The success of that first record was far from guaranteed. “I felt I had taken a risk by making an intimate, piano-based album. Almost everything that was on the radio at that time was formulaic pop. But I just wanted to make a record I was proud of and I stopped worrying about conforming to any industry standards. It was a defining moment for me and it changed the way I make music.”

Building on the success of “Beth Waters” and with the freedom to create songs on her own terms, Waters began writing material for her next album, “Forms of the Truth”, collaborating again with producer Michael Winger. In the creation of her sophomore effort, Waters grew as a musician, learning to play guitar while writing songs of alienation, longing and redemption. The album is a diverse collection of music ranging from brash, intelligent rock to playful and intimate pop; it blends piano, guitar and elaborate textures into a rich sonic tapestry. Waters’ angelic voice and signature melodic songwriting are complimented by the performances of a stellar cast of musicians including upright bass by Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco), piano by Stephen Prutsman (Kronos Quartet), Keyboards by Eamonn Flynn (Spearhead, Koko Taylor) electric bass by Kevin White (Chuck Prophet, Shelby Lynne) and Ricky Carter on drums and percussion.

Waters’ songwriting caught the attention of Grammy award-winning mix engineer and producer Joe Chiccarelli (Frank Zappa, U2 and Tori Amos) who was eager to be involved and mixed five of the songs including the album’s single “White Dogs in the Moonlight.” Waters is planning to spend the next year on tour to promote “Forms of the Truth.”