Singing with Helen Darling Since 1985

by Gary Powell

(Click here to visit Helen Darling’s website.)
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It was January, 1985. Helen walked into the classroom at the University of Texas to audition for the performing vocal group, Ensemble 109, I was directing. I’m pretty sure she had a bow in her hair. She could barely speak, much less sing, due to laryngitis. Nonetheless, she was game for giving it a try. She sat at the piano and struggled to get any tone out at all performing one of her original songs. Obviously when someone sings for you with nothing but air and you can still hear the soul, then you have met a singer. Helen has been in my life both professionally and personally ever since.

Immediately after graduating U.T., she moved to Chicago and sang several jingles which made it into the popular lexicon. Helen moved from Chicago to Nashville where Decca Records grabbed her up for a two-album deal. Continuing to develop as a songwriter, Helen penned the hit song released in 2001, “Bring on the Rain”, which you can now find on Jo Dee Messina’s Greatest Hits Album.

When my very first multi-track recorder showed up in the mid-80’s, it was Helen who that day quickly stacked a bunch of vocals just to try it out. We’ve enjoyed that kind of ease of music-making ever since. However, it’s not history that makes Helen valuable in recording sessions. It’s her ability to musically coexist with other singers with the studied ability to vocally sculpt tone and phrasing as needed. I talk a lot about the relationship between the voice and the ear for studio session singers. Helen is the flagship within that paradigm. Another twenty years or so? I hope so.

Helen and professional photographer husband, Dennis Darling, live in Austin and summer in Montana and the Czech Republic.

These Helen Darling solo performances can be found on various Disney recordings and the other recordings listed below. Please note that I do not sell these recordings.

Disney’s Karaoke Series: Hannah Montana

“The Best of Both Worlds”, “I Got Nerve”, “If We Were a Movie”, “Just Like You”,
“The Other Side of Me”, “Pumpin’ Up the Party”, “This is the Life”, “Who Said?”, “Crazy”, Don’t Want to Be Torn”, “Every Part of Me”, “He Could Be the One”,
“I Wanna Know You”, “Just a Girl”, “Let’s Chill”, “Super Girl”

Disney’s Karaoke Series: Disney Girlz Rock

“Let’s Bounce”

A Bug’s Life Sing Along

“Lucky, Lucky Snake”, “Black Widow Spider”

Jungle Book 2 Soundtrack

“Queen of the Jungle”, “He’s a Lucky, Lucky Snake”

Disney’s Party Beats

“Jenny from the Block”, “Missundaztood”

A Toy Story Sing Along

“Woody’s Waltz”

Lady and the Tramp and Friends

“Dear Heart”


“The Perfect Size”

Chorus Performances for Walt Disney Records

“Black Widow Spider”, “Santa Wrap,” “Santa’s Rap,” “The Herd,” “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” “Anytime You Need a Friend”


Joe Scruggs & Ballet Austin’s “Not Afraid of the Dark”

“Rainbow Colored Jump Rope”, “I Can Dance”

Joe Scruggs – “Traffic Jams”

“Goo Goo Ga Ga”

University of Texas Ensemble 109 – “The Feelin’ is Mine”

“It’s So Easy”

One thought on “Singing with Helen Darling Since 1985”

  1. Gary,
    Your amazing report on Helen Darling sheds light on Helen’s diversity as a singer. The professional qualities of your web log entries highlight the many projects you have done over the life of your career. After being a subscriber to the BLOG since your started it, it appears to me that all of the professionals that work in Powell Studios with you are enriched with your wisdom, generosity, and finesse. Each BLOG you write gives me a clearer picture of the depth of your work! Keep on writing -A Person

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