A typical ten-year old child isn’t often associated with genius, but once in a lifetime we come across a whiz kid who defies the stereotype. Natasha Iloabachie, who hails from Ogidi, the same community as Chinua Achebe in Anambra State, is just a 10-year-old 6th grader of Justine Thomas Kindergarten and Primary School, Enugu, but she has left everybody overawed with her artistry. This multi-talented child has two music albums to her credit and is also a prolific creative writer
At birth, she was proclaimed an uncommon child. It didn’t take long for that to manifest. “Shortly before I turned 10, I wrote two songs,” she tells Daily Sun. indeed, she was overjoyed to finally give expression to the desire she had nursed for years.
Soon after, she became more inspired and, by the time she turned ten, she wrote 27 songs in just two months. “Then I produced my first album of eight tracks,” she discloses.
While it takes many adults months and even years to release an album, it took just three months for little Natasha to create her songs and come out with her debut album. Currently, she has written 38 songs. During the Yuletide shortly before she publicly presented her first album, her mum thought it would be a good idea to produce a couple of Christmas songs. A second album was in the making.
She recalls, “I was glad to take up the challenge, and that’s how my second album of Christmas songs came about. Though there is an irresistible urge for this youngster to write songs, she doesn’t allow her academics to suffer.
“I have to pay equal attention to my studies to maintain my first position in class. So I try to balance my passion for singing and composing with dedication to my academics. I am currently preparing for secondary school, and will be writing entrance exams, though I still perform and write songs. I’m very cautious with managing my time so that my studies doesn’t suffer,” she says.
The title of her debut album is My Able God. It was named after one of her songs that was adapted from Isiah 61. She says, “It’s more than just a title for me. It’s a reflection of what God has been doing to me and my family, that, regardless of what we go through, God is able. And because I have a peculiar relationship with God, I decided to make this more personal, which is why I titled the album My Able God.”
While her debut album contains eight gospel songs, the second is purely Christmas songs. It is a-three track album, and they are all available on YouTube. “As I earlier said, I wrote them prior to my album launch. As a matter of fact, it was precisely when my school, Justine Thomas Kindergarten and Primary School, was about to have a Christmas fun fair that my mum suggested that I write the Christmas songs so that they would be sung on that day,” she says.
The songs turned out to be hits in Enugu, for wherever she went to perform people reacted very well to the songs. There was a particular experience that blew her mind. “I recall when I went to perform at Dabota Book Club Christmas party, the DJ was so blown away that he asked for permission to copy the songs and use during the season. It was also played on radio stations throughout the Yuletide. I was glad I listened to my mum who has been a pillar of support to me,” says the whiz kid.
Her songs convey different messages, though the central purpose is to glorify God. “I like to use my music to inspire people to do the right thing,” she echoes. The first track of her gospel album is entitled “Wake them Up”. She complains Christians no longer believe that miracles are possible, but “we should wake up from our slumber and do the work that is expected of us and be a shining light to the world.”
In October 2019, she was invited by Coal City FM, Enugu, to talk about her music. When her song was played, everybody was speechless. She recalls excitedly, “One of the people in the studio who was visually impaired said he could feel an incredible anointing from the song. I vividly remember when I was invited to a phone-in programme at Solid FM, callers could not stop talking about how blessed they were just listening to ‘Heaven is so Pure’.”
The singer is humbled that her music has been having a positive impact on people. “That particular song just like most of my songs, was divinely inspired,” she says. “It describes the beauty and supremacy of God. I want people to think about heaven when they hear the song. I want them to know that heaven is a place for the pure in heart and the more they think about heaven the more they prepare themselves to enter there.”
One of her favourite tracks in that album is “Shine”. She explains, “God created everything in the universe for us to shine. So, we should shine, because we have been called to shine and reflect God’s glory.”
On how she wrote the title track, “He’s Able”, she recollects, “One day, last summer, my mum brought the Bible and opened Isaiah 61 and asked me to compose it, which I did. God is able to do all things; he is able to set the captives free and provide for the needy and has given us that power to do the same thing,” she declares.
Her influences in music include Ada Ehi, Sinach, Asa and Mercy Chinwo. She likes the way they sing and hopes to meet them someday. Natasha is a class toper who doesn’t wish to let go. Hear her, “By God’s grace, I’ve always topped my class, and I’m not about to let that change, especially now that I’m almost done with primary school.”
Her mum, a proprietor of a school in Enugu, has been supportive, too. My mum makes sure that my studies and my music career are well balanced.” If you are thinking Natasha would go the way of Wizkid who went for Afrobeats with lewd lyrics, you are dead wrong.
“God has given me the gifts to write gospel and secular songs. I don’t know which is more lucrative, because I’m not singing to make money. I sing because it makes me happy and glorifies God. The secular songs I sing are also to promote peace and love. I am very careful with my lyrics, because I don’t want to get involved in anything that will displease God. My next album that will be released in February comprises secular songs of things that happen around and give glory to God. I write about things I see around me. Every song I write talks about creation.”
Her schoolmates and friends are so delighted that they have one of their own as a teenage star. “Some of them actually featured in the video so they are part of this journey. They also accompany me when I perform on stage. They are so happy with me,” she echoes.
For a child, who, at birth, she was proclaimed to be great, her mum screamed “thank God, finally” when Natasha’s first album came out, because she had been waiting for the manifestation of this prophecy given when she was born, that she would be an “uncommon child”. “She is so happy and extremely supportive. Sadly, her dad is late. “I’m sure when we meet in heaven he’ll give me a high 5,” she smiles.
Her mum doubles as her manager. She is the one who takes her to the studio and musical shows, even when it’s not convenient. Sometimes when she has to perform at very short notice, it’s her mum who ensures she is ready.
“Sometimes she has to make a new dress or call someone to come to the house to get my hair done. She helps me practice for my rehearsals, too. I’m so grateful to God for giving me a mother like mine,” she says.
She aspires to be a medical doctor and a great musician, singing to the glory of God and praising him, uplifting souls and making people happy with her songs. Natasha is also a writer and has a storybook in the offing.
She tells Daily Sun how she draws inspiration for her writings. “My environment determines what I write. You can also say that I’m inspired by nature. I am naturally very observant. People, especially grownups, think I’m too inquisitive because I always want to know more about issues. Sometimes they say I’m too wise for my age, but I guess that’s what a creative mind is about.
“I write based on what I see and feel. It’s a little different when I write my songs, especially Gospel songs. My inspiration for that comes from a deep fellowship with God and his word,” she says, adding she doesn’t, however, follow a strict writing regime, “Basically I write whenever I get an inspiration. Usually, I jot down my ideas as they come and write when I’m less busy.”
What plans does she have for her writings? She says, “I have plans to publish The Tortoise and Other Stories, but that will be after my Common Entrance Exams. For now I’m more concerned about passing my exams with flying colours so I don’t let myself or my family down.” She also plays keyboard for the school orchestra.