Starting off as a solo artist on Lee Soo Man's SM Entertainment label, Dana was expected to rise as the "next BoA". Prior to debut, she received promotion as an actress in popular boyband H.O.T's Age of Peace movie and in Kangta's "Polaris" music video.
In 2001 she released her fairly successful debut single "Sesang kkeut kkaji" (Until The End of The World), an adapted song of "Tell Me No More Lies" composed by European songwriter Stefan Aberg. She followed up with "Diamond", a pop/dance track featuring Jung Yunho (U-Know, who eventually became a member of TVXQ in 2003). Her career blossomed and continued with promotion by appearing on variety shows such as X-Man, as well as playing a main role in the sitcomNonstop. Her second album release in 2003, however, was not very popular and sold poorly. From that point on, she disappeared from the music industry (aside from SMTOWN collaborations) until the debut of The Grace.
Since 2005, she has been a member of Korea girl group, The Grace. Due to her earlier debut in the Korean music industry, she is seen as the leader, although she has denied this in an interview, stating that each member has an equal status in the group. For the group's fourth Japanese single, she composed the music to her own solo song "Sayonara No Mukou Ni."
Starting in May 2010, Dana started her musical acting career, her first musical was Daejanggeum Season Three. Later the same year Dana along with group member Sunday and label mates Onew of SHINee and Jay of The TRAX, Dana starred in the Musical Rock of Ages as Sherrie. At the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 Dana starred as Constance, in the musical The Three Musketeers, along with Super Junior's Kyuhyun and TRAX's Jay "Typhoon" Kim. She commented in an interview about being nervous about having to kiss Kyuhyun.
In June 2011, after an image leaked of SM Entertainments itinerary for 2011 showing a release a new single by CSJH, SM confirmed later CSJH would be making a comeback with a new image. On July 8, 2011 CSJH's Dana & Sunday made a comeback as a sub-unit with a digital single titled 'One More Chance', the single was released on July 11.