Dawson began acting at the age of seven in a national tour of Annie. She was an understudy of the character Mimi, in the national tour of Rent in 2000 and joined the Broadway cast in 2001 as an understudy/swing.
As a singer, Dawson released her first single in 1988 at the age of 14. In 1993 Dana signed a record deal with EMI and was now musically based in the UK. Her second album, "Black Butterfly," was released in October 1995 and included three singles that made the UK Top 40 chart: "3 Is Family" reached number 9 in July 1995, "Got to Give Me Love" reached number 27 in October 1995, and "Show Me" reached number 28 in May 1996.
In 1997, Dana Dawson collaborated on the Dolce & Gabbana single "More, More, More" provided the vocals on this dance remake of the Andrea True Connection hit single. The Disney Channel show Lizzie McGuire featured her 2001 single, "Nice Life" which was only released as a single in France.
Several multi-track "singles" of Dawson's music have been released in the United Kingdom, including "3 Is Family," "Got To Give Me Love," and "How I Wanna Be Loved." Dawson's songs are included on many other albums, including EMI's Music of the Twentieth Century: 1980-1999 and Virgin's Best Dance Album 1995; she also performed on the Michael W. Smith 1989 Gospel album "I 2 Eye."