Navajo singer’s journey takes her to Grammys

  • By Jenny Kane The Daily Times
  • Friday, February 8, 2013 2:07pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

FARMINGTON, N.M. — Radmilla Cody likely will be the only person walking down the red carpet in moccasins at the Grammys Sunday night.

Cody, a traditional Navajo singer, will be walking among some of the world’s most revered music performers. And she will be dressed in full-on traditional Navajo attire, including the moccasins made by her grandmother.

“I will be sporting my turquoise,” Cody said.

Cody received a nomination in December for her album “Shi Keyah: Songs for the People” in the category of “Best Regional Roots.”

“I thought of my grandmother who died a month before, exactly,” Cody said. “I thought, Grandma, what are you doing up there?”

Cody’s journey to the Grammys was not easy.

She first began singing when she lived with her grandma in Lupe, Ariz., which is part of the Navajo Nation.

She had no running water and no electricity, and she spent much of her time with the animals.

“The sheep and the goats were my first audience,” said Cody, who spent much of her time herding.

Cody learned to speak the Navajo language, Dine, fluently and learned many of the songs and practices of the culture from her grandmother, who had taken Cody in as a child when her parents could not care for her.

“She taught me everything I know,” Cody said. “She taught me to appreciate the simplicity of life.”

Cody, with a Navajo mother and African-American father, was Miss Navajo Nation from 1997 to 1998. But she almost lost the crown after serving a year and a half in prison for not reporting her boyfriend’s drug dealing.

She rebounded, though, and shared that she had been abused in the relationship. Cody now advocates for victims of domestic violence.

Cody will be changing out of her traditional attire into something more contemporary for the ceremony itself, but she still will keep in mind her roots and her people.

“If I win, I’m going to express much gratitude to the creator, the holy people, our sacred elements, our sacred mountains, my grandmother, my uncle Herman, my family, and you have to thank the whole clan — you can’t just say family — and the Navajo Nation, they rock,” she said. “They’re going to be like, ‘Get off the stage.’”

More in Life

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Plant of Merit: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ Japanese aralia

What: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ or variegated Japanese aralia, is an evergreen shrub… Continue reading

Don’t call Justice Brewing owner a gypsy — he’s just ‘homeless’

After an unexpected hardship, owner Nate McLaughlin won’t be moving his brewery to downtown Everett.

A mild December makes for easy winter cleanup in the garden

If you haven’t finished your November gardening tasks, here’s a list of chores to do this month.

Beer of the Week: Justice Brewing’s Outlook F——d, Northeast IPA

The brewery’s new beer with a vulgar name is a tropical IPA that riffs off its Outlook Hazy recipe.

Yummy Banh Mi offers cheap sandwiches with rich flavor

Classic Vietnamese meets fast food at new restaurant in downtown Everett.

Could a law to bring down the mob be used in Weinstein case?

The federal anti-racketeering law was drafted to bring down organized crime but it isn’t limited to it.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Most Read