FARMINGTON — While Navajo singer Radmilla Cody did not come home with a GRAMMY award, she did come home inspired.
“I enjoyed every minute,” Cody said via email Tuesday while traveling through Phoenix.
Cody is a half-Navajo and half-African American singer who was nominated for a GRAMMY award in December. Her traditional Navajo music album “Shi Keyah: Songs for the People” was nominated in the Best Regional Roots Album category.
Cody received the nomination in December last year and attended the award ceremony on Sunday. It was nothing short of amazing, she said.
“There was so much to take in and appreciate,” she said. “Even afterwards, I am still in my head thinking ‘How did this happen to me?’ I still believe that my grandmother and Whitney (Houston) were in cahoots with each other.”
Cody also was the first traditional Native American artist and current nominee chosen as a presenter for the pre-telecast portion of the show.
“I was very nervous. I had butterflies in my stomach,” said Cody, who was paired with nine-time GRAMMY nominee Janis Ian for the presentation ceremony.
“Both of us ended up going to the restroom about 15 times,” Cody said.
Cody, who initially walked down the red carpet in her traditional attire, spoke with a number of celebrities, some of whom were curious about her background.
David Alan Grier, an actor known for his comedic role in “In Living Color,” hosted the pre-telecast awards and spoke with Cody.
“He was amazed at my childhood and upbringing in a rural area herding sheep and growing up without running water and electricity,” Cody said.
Cody, who grew up in Leupp, Ariz., was raised by her grandmother.
As a young girl, she learned many traditional Navajo ways, including how to herd sheep, weave rugs, and sing traditional songs. Many of the songs on her album were written by her uncle and are about the traditional Navajo lifestyle.
Cody said she has always related more to her Navajo heritage than her African American heritage, but she still has a soft sport for many of the successful African American artists today, including Rhianna and Alicia Keys.
While she was not able to meet Rhianna or Keys, she did meet singer Norah Jones, rapper Pharrell Williams and singer Bonnie Raitt.
She did not get to meet “The Band Courtboullon,” which won the GRAMMY in her category, but she did congratulate the band over Facebook, she said.
In all the excitement, though, her favorite moments were not those with the stars, but instead those that she shared with her mother, Margaret, and those in which she thought of her late grandmother, Dorothy.
She also enjoyed introducing herself in her native Diné language before presenting at the pre-telecast ceremony.
“At that moment I thought of my grandmother, Dorothy, and how proud she would have felt for herself as my greatest teacher and for me,” Cody said.
Cody does not expect that this will be her last time at the GRAMMY awards.
“I did not come this far to stop here,” she said.
Cody currently is up for three Native American Music Awards including: best female artist, record of the year and best traditional recording, news that she found out Tuesday. The nominations are for the album that received the GRAMMY nomination, “Shi Keyah: Songs for the People.”
The public is encouraged to vote on the awards website, http://www.nativeamericanmusicawards.com/
Winners will be announced at a May 10 ceremony to be held at the Seneca Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls, New York.
For more information on the public voting process visit the awards website.