Nigeria’s “First Lady of Song”, Christiana Uduak Essien-Igbokwe was born in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria in 1960. Tragically she lost her mother early at the age of 12. In the mid-70s she started singing professionally at a relatively early age in the music clubs of Aba. Extensive TV work soon followed and in 1977 she launched her professional music career with the album “Freedom”. Her fourth album “One Understanding” was signed by Afrodisia and released in 1979.
“One Understanding” was produced by Pal Akalonu. It is an infectious mix of Afroboogie (“What Love Is About”, “Mind Your Biz”), Swinging afro classic (“You Can’t Change A Man”) Smooth Afro Soul (“Take Life Easy”), Reggae tinged grooves (“I’ll Be Your Man”, “Respect Your Man”) and -of course- one smooth ballad, “Understanding”. Christy’s lyrics show a depth of understanding and wisdom way beyond her 19 years (at the time).
Having conquered the music and TV worlds Christy moved on to feature in some of the early Hollywood films such as “Flesh and Blood” and “Scars of Womanhood”, both of which addressed issues of child abuse and female circumcision. With a desire to make life better for Nigerian artists. She is also credited as having initiated the first meeting that brought about the formation of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria in 1981.
Christy died after a brief illness in 2011. Close to the time of her death, she was involved in numerous successful businesses, organization and running the non-governmental organisation Essential Child Care Foundation involved in child welfare. Christy’s achievements and awards are numerous. Too numerous to mention. Perhaps her greatest achievement however is her contribution to building a peaceful and tolerant Nigeria – which, alongside moral uprightness, remain constant themes of her songs.