Waters was born in London, England. He first faced a live audience as a singer and bass guitar player with 1960s London-based blues band The Riots before travelling to Australia, initially for an extended working holiday and then eventually settling there permanently.
Waters is an accomplished musician, and since 1992 has toured many times with his one-man show Looking Through a Glass Onion. Co-written with friend and musician, Stewart D'Arrietta, the show is a tribute to John Lennon featuring numerous examples of Lennon's music, words and images. In addition to many Australian tours of this show it also played six months in the West End, London. In 2014, it played 120 performances at the Union Square Theatre in Manhattan.
Waters has released a number of CDs including The Story of Pilliga Pete and Clarrie the Cocky (2010), a family story and music CD written and narrated by Waters, Brel (2010) a live album sung in French and a tribute to the Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel, the double live album, John Waters Looking Through A Glass Onion (2011) and his debut originals album Cloudland (2011).
Waters first big break was in musicals, playing Claude in a Sydney production of Hair in 1969, then Judas in Godspell and Pontius Pilate in the Australian concert production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
He was in the original Australian production of They're Playing Our Song, which opened on 23 August 1980 at the Theatre Royal in Sydney. It starred Waters and Jacki Weaver, with Rhonda Burchmore as one of the Inner Voices. An Australian cast recording of the show was later released by Festival Records.