Nora was born in the early 1950s and raised in Saint Catherine, Spanish Town. While still in her teens, she ventured into the nation's neighboring capital to make her recording debut, although there remains some confusion as to the first tune itself. In all likelihood it was cut for Clement 'Coxson' Dodd's seemingly ubiquitous Studio One enterprise, for whom she was certainly recording by 1967, with tracks such as 'Mojo Girl' and 'Heartaches' being issued at the height of the Rock Steady era.
Her first notable hit, however, was the apparently ribald, `Barbwire', a song that since its 1969 release she has often stated was not originally intended an X-rated tune, with the suggestive lyrics the work of Treasure Isle studios recording engineer, Byron `Smitty' Smith.
A massive hit in Jamaica (on the Baron's imprint) and abroad, its popularity led to Dean cutting similarly themed material over the ensuing months. For Joe Gibbs, she cut 'Wreck A Buddy' along with her vocal outfit, the Soul Sisters, while further solo works included Lee Perry's production of 'The Same Thing You Gave Daddy', the Vincent Chin-produced '(Me) Want Man' and, later, a revised version of 'Babrwire', entitled 'Scorpion', for Bunny Lee
It was while working with the latter, around 1973, that Nora recorded another virtual remake, `Mama', a song performed over a new version of `The Liquidator' - the hugely popular instrumental originally performed by Harry Johnson's modestly-named Harry J All Stars.
Around this time, Nora also recorded the song over the hit version of the backing track for Johnson, but plans to release the recordings were promptly scuppered following the issue of the Bunny Lee cut, with its official release delayed until the 2011 Trojan issue.
In addition to Nora's solo outings, she also recorded for a while with the Soulettes alongside Rita Marley and Cecille Campbell, performing on the group's version of 'Let It Be' for Lee Perry in 1970. In addition, she worked with Campbell, along with Paulette Williams as the Ebony Sisters, with the trio recording a number of popular sides, most notably 'Each Time' for Bunny Lee and the even more successful Harry Mudie-produced 'Let Me Tell You Boy'. The rhythm for the latter laid the foundations for a plethora of hits for artists that included I Roy, Jo Jo Bennett, Barrington Levy and Mikey Dread to name but a few.
Other solo hits around this time, (many of which have since featured on various Trojan compilations), include, `Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be)' aka 'Kay Sarah', 'Angie La La', 'Eddie My Love' and 'Peace Begins Within'.
By the mid '70s, Nora began recording in the UK with a variety of producers that included Trojan's Bush collective and Magnet, which issued the bizarre 'Judge Dread Is My Lover'. Other UK-produced tracks included 'How Could You Do This' c/w 'Album Of My Life', recorded alongside Sonny Binns, Trevor Starr and Dansak, which was followed soon after by the album, 'Play Me A Love Song', distributed through the independent Nationwide label.
In the latter half of the decade, Nora relocated to the USA where in the early eighties, she survived a debilitative malady. This resulted in the reinforcement of her Christian beliefs, leading to a her commencinga acreer as a s Gospel singer, with her albums including, 'My Soul Loves Jesus', 'Melody Of Praise', 'Down On My Knees', 'Breakthrough' and 'At Calvary'.