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She graduated from the University of North Carolina and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1969, where she performed in nightclubs and began writing material from an explicitly political and feminist perspective. For a time in the 1970s, Christian, who is openlylesbian, embraced women's separatism and sometimes played at women-only venues. She was a founding member of Olivia Records, whose first album was her debut. She ceased giving live performances in 1984, and began studying Eastern mysticism; the result of these explorations were the albums The Fire of My Love and Songs of Ecstasy. She changed her first name to Shambhavi during this time and lived in an ashram in New York.
In 2002, Christian restarted her association with Olivia Records, and began performing again for label events; her first appearance since 1984 was on a cruise ship arranged by Olivia.