Close up: Crystal Waters -- We find out more about the latest pop star

La da dee, la da da,” echoes the insistent chorus of ”Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless),” written and sung by Crystal Waters, the 27-year-old great-niece of the late jazz chanteuse Ethel Waters. As the first single from Surprise, Waters’ aptly titled debut recording, it zipped up the charts while she was still punching a computer keyboard for Washington, D.C.’s, Board of Parole. Now this dance-club hit with a social conscience has become the summer’s mantra, and Waters is so deluged with dates for live appearances she doesn’t even have time for nightclubbing.

”The song is about a homeless woman — it’s not a normal thing to talk about,” says Waters, who joins Ziggy Marley in August for a three-month national tour. The source of her inspiration? A meticulously groomed bag lady who sings in front of D.C.’s posh Mayflower Hotel. ”In all my songs I like to write some type of story,” says Waters, whose second single, ”Makin’ Happy,” is set for release this week. ”I always try to write with a little twist or from an odd direction, like poetry.”