Collins was born in Harlem, New York and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Collins began taking lessons in dance and theatre, and performing with the children's theatre group Willow Opera Workshop in Los Angeles, CA. Her professional music career began singing lead for an R&B group called The Boys Next Door. The group signed with Jermaine Jackson's label Work Records, which later folded. Tyler eventually signed with RCA Records and released her debut album Girls Nite Out. She co-wrote the lead single "Whatcha Gonna Do" which peaked at #3 on the Billboard R&B chart.