Welsh singer/songwriter Helen Jayne was born into a musical family in rural South Wales where her natural musical talent was encouraged from an early age. Her family and music teachers noticed Helen had a good ear for both piano and violin. She learned to read music but soon discovered she could play instruments by ear and that singing was as natural to her as breathing.
Her fascination of playing piano by ear led her to start experimenting, and she penned her first ballad at the age of 14. Though her violin teacher's wishes were for her to pursue a career in that instrument, Helen's studies of other subjects took precedence. Gaining A levels in French, Art History and Religious Studies, she then went on to further academic education at the University of South Wales.
By the early 90's, Helen had relocated to Wokingham, Berkshire, where she teamed up with a local musician/songwriter and they co-wrote their first song 'My Love Is Strong', which Helen later performed on Welsh Television (always a favourite at gigs, this song was later re-recorded and featured on her “Give My Life” CD album). A new pop/folk duo was born 'The Promise', and together Helen and Doug performed around the UK in pubs, music clubs and at large youth events. Their mutual love of music and strong friendship sparked off an innovative songwriting relationship and their songs were performed by Helen on a number of exciting TV and radio shows.
During this time Helen's talent caught the attention of an A&R director at a London gig and in 1994 Helen signed to a major independent record label and was flown out to Music City, Nashville where she recorded her debut album 'Safe' at Omnisound Studios with the cream of gospel session players, Chris Eaton (production and keyboards), Chris Rodriguez (guitar), Jackie Streets (bass), Steve Brewster (drums) and Steve Bishir (engineer). By Spring 1995 the album 'Safe' had been released worldwide, and was a major success in its market. The US parent of Helen's record company duly took note and returned Helen to Nashville to record promotional video material at a Nashville club. Around the same time Helen received the award for 'Outstanding British CCM Artiste - Female' at a British gospel award ceremony.
Helen's career gained momentum; in 1996 she performed two tracks from 'Safe' with a live band on national BBC1's 'First Light' programme, namely, 'Dreaming in colour' and 'Reality' in addition to other appearances on her native Welsh television.
Just as it seemed she was destined for superstardom, tragedy struck when Helen started to become seriously ill to the point of collapse. A course of anti-malaria drugs caused serious adverse side effects in Helen and her immune system took a further knock which left her with a debilitating condition diagnosed by hospital specialists as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E. It was to be a long journey to recovery.
Despite a year and a half's suffering from a serious and debilitating illness, Helen was able to marry her former music partner Doug in October 1997 at a small church ceremony and thereby changed her professional name to Helen Jayne McKellar.
Although continuing to battle with ill health, Helen decided it was time to record another album, this time of mainly self-penned love songs, but also including two cover versions; Olivia Newton-John's 'A Little More Love' and Shania Twain's 'You've got a way'. The recording process was momentarily stalled on September 11th 2001, when within the space of 4 weeks, Helen wrote, recorded and released a charity single 'Prayer For America' in aid of the Red Cross, as a tribute to the victims of the appalling terrorist attacks.
The album 'Give My Life' was subsequently completed after a massive two year effort. Like ‘Safe’, the album received critical acclaim from both experts in the music business and the general public, who have been able to preview much of the material via internet music sites such as CD baby.
Today Helen continues to struggle with CFS/ME and therefore is currently unable to perform in concert. However, she is excited to have finally completed her new six track mini-CD 'It's Not Too Late' which is released on May 18th 2009.
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