Nelson was born in Indiana. She worked and recorded for several years from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s without achieving much success. Her records were usually dance tracks, and she also recorded numerous records during the disco era.
In 1984, she recorded a self-writtenballad entitled "Move Closer". It was a complete departure from the type of music she had been recording. The lyrics of "Move Closer" were based on a long-term love affair she had with a much younger man in Philadelphia, who was struggling to start his own computer business. They lived together for several years, raising Nelson's two children (Marc and Kenya) that she had borne earlier to different men.
While "Move Closer" failed to find an audience in her home country, it reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in early May 1985. The song remained on the chart for almost six months, and became one of the highest selling singles of the year. Based in France, Nelson recorded a single with the Frenchactor, Alain Delon: "I Don't Know". It was included in the original soundtrack of the 1985 French film, Parole De Flic (Cop's Honor). Her subsequent releases failed to make any impression (except "I Like You" which made #81), and she is remembered as a one-hit wonder.