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She acquired her nickname while on a vacation to Spain with her parents.("Nena" means "little girl" in Spanish.) In 1977 she left high school before graduation, and in the three following years she was trained as a goldsmith.In 2003, Nena took the stage during the Howard Jones 20th Anniversary concert at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London to sing "99 Luftballons", with both German and English lyrics.In 2004, Nena went on stage at the Mayday Music Festival, in Dortmund, accompanied by the techno duo Toktok.Nena's musical career began on 2 July 1979 when guitarist Rainer Kitzmann founded The Stripes band and, on the basis of having seen her dancing at a local disco, asked her to audition for the position of the lead singer.
In 1984, she re-recorded this song in English as "99 Red Balloons".
In 2011, she contributed vocals to the track "Let Go Tonight" by Kevin Costner and Modern West.
However, for the first time in Nena's career, another track from the album ("Magie"), which was not released as a single, crept into the lower echelons of the German singles chart solely by virtue of downloads.
It was also a huge hit in many other countries, and to this day it is one of the best-known German rock songs in many parts of the world.
In May 1984 while on a tour in the UK, Nena made the headlines of the British red-top press for having unshaven armpits.
In October 2007, Nena released a new album entitled Cover Me, made up entirely of cover songs.