20 February 1937, Chillicothe, Ohio, USA. Wilson began singing in clubs in and around Columbus, Ohio. She attracted attention among jazz musicians, made her first records in 1956, and in the late 50s toured with a band led by Rusty Bryant. At the end of the decade she sang with George Shearing, with whom she recorded, and Cannonball Adderley. It was at Adderleys insistence that she went to New York, where she was soon signed by Capitol Records. During the next few years Wilson made numerous albums, toured extensively, and built a substantial following among the popular audience but always retained a connection, if sometimes tenuously so, with jazz. She also hosted a variety series for NBC, The Nancy Wilson Show. In the early 80s she was again working more closely with jazz musicians, including Hank Jones, Art Farmer, Benny Golson and Ramsey Lewis. Later in the decade she was active around the world, performing at major concert venues and singing in a style that revealed that the long years in the more flamboyant atmosphere of popular music had given her a taste for slightly over-dramatizing songs. Nevertheless, when backed by top-flight musicians she could still deliver a rhythmic and entertaining performance. During the 90s and new millennium her work successfully crossed over to the New Adult Contemporary market.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.