From the very beginning, HELEN CORNELIUS has had a vision of her destiny. As she told
Bill Littleton of
, "Belief in oneself is probably the most important
ingredient to success that there is, because if you believe in yourself, then nothing is
gonna knock you down. I'm ready to fly."
If he had known her, Mark Twain would have liked a lot of the traits deeply ingrained In
HELEN'S character. The kind of spirit of adventure he so often wrote about; the
determination to meet life's challenges head-on; the character and positive belief In
herself that Joseph and Lu Elsie Johnson imparted to Helen Lorene and her seven
brothers and sisters.
Helen grew up on a farm in Missouri, where she listened to radio's Grand Ole Opry and
sang with her sisters, accompanied by her brothers who played in country bands. Since
her musical debut at the age of five, HELEN has won numerous talent contests, including
three winning appearances on
The Ted Mack Amateur Hour
It was her songwriting that initially swung open the doors along the corridors of Nashville's Music Row. By the mid-'70's,
HELEN had songs recorded by a number of major artists, Including The Oak Ridge Boys, Reba McEntire, Jeannie C,
Riley, Connie Smith, Charlie Louvin and Melba Montgomery, LaCosta, and Dottsy... just to mention a few. While it was
her writing that first won her major credibility, It was the voice that RCA Record executives heard that won HELEN
CORNELIUS her first major recording contract in 1975. With it, history was about to be made.
HELEN'S teaming on record with Jim Ed Brown was further crowned with success by her individual nomination as "Most
Promising Female vocalist" by Music City News in 1977. Following this win, the West Coast based Academy of Country
Music gave her their prestigious nod in the "Best New Female Vocalist" category. Also in 1977, Jim Ed Brown and
HELEN CORNELIUS won the coveted CMA Award for "Vocal Duo Of The Year", Single Of The Year", and "Album Of The
For four and a half years HELEN was an integral part of the Jim Ed Brown Show, and was seen weekly by seven million
viewers as a regular on the
Nashville On The Road
syndicated television shows. The results of this association,
including HELEN'S first number one record "
I Don't Want to Have To Marry You
" were astounding and Helen would be
the very last to underestimate the impact of those years.
But there was always the desire to do more than just stand in front of a microphone and sing her half of a duet. She was
capable of much more, and anyone who has seen her perform lately knows just how much!
October 1980 HELEN assembled a five piece band, worked up an energetic, entertaining show, taking full advantage of
the freedom to display all sides of her talent. She immediately began touring with Conway Twitty for the next year and a
half. Her experience has grown to match her tremendous self-confidence. She says, "With me, it's never a question of if
I do a certain thing, it's always a matter of when I do it." HELEN and her band, Southern Spirit, toured year round and
developed a reputation as one of the most dependable acts in the business.
January 1984 HELEN prepared to add a new and very exciting chapter not only to her own career, but to the course of
country music as well. Bill Fegan Attractions chose HELEN to play the lead in a road show revival of Irving Berlin's "
Get Your Gun
On the heels of closing in "
Annie Get Your Gun
", HELEN shifted gears to tour with The Statler Brothers on their sellout
concert series for the next two years along with the demands of her own individual concert dates. Notes from major
reviewers caught the impact of what was happening. As one reviewer deftly pinpointed... "HELEN CORNELIUS has
grown into a performer who can walk on-stage, grab a crowd, and hold it right where she wants it... in the palm of her
March 19,1998 at The Little Nashville Opry in Nashville, Indiana... two sold-out performances for the much heralded re-
teaming in concert of Jim Ed Brown and HELEN CORNELIUS in a flurry of media attention, country music's award
winning duo launched a reunion tour that emblazoned a clear message... Brown and CORNELIUS still possessed that
certain magic to ignite a song and an audience when they walked on-stage together.
In 1991, ready for a new challenge HELEN opened a dinner theater in Gatlinburg, TN. She performed nightly at
"Nashville South" through December 1996. As she stated, "I loved getting to sing different songs each night, take
requests, and do such a variety of music. I also loved hiking the mountains and becoming a part of the beautiful Smoky
In 1997, HELEN joined with Jim Ed Brown to perform in the Eagle Mountain Theater In Pigeon Forge, TN., along with Con
Hunley. "I loved that show, and having great voices surrounding the blend of Jim Ed and myself was such a pleasure".
HELEN performed in Branson, MO at the 76 Music Hall with the Grand Ladies of Country Music show (featuring Jan
Howard, Margo Smith, Leona Williams, Jean Shepard, and others) until May of 2003. At that time, HELEN began
accepting road dates and started touring the country again.
HELEN continues to perform with Jim Ed Brown periodically on the Grand Ole Opry, as well as county and state fairs, in
addition to her own solo appearances.
"I feel so blessed to be able to make a living doing something I love so much".
In May of 2005, HELEN was honored by the State of Missouri when she was inducted into the Missouri Country Music
Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Springfield, MO.
With her present day country music honors and accomplishments, many feel HELEN has done as much as Mark Twain
to put their mutual hometown of Hannibal, MO in the mental map of America!
getting to know Helen Cornelius...