Conrad Benally with his Nammy awards.
By KAYCEE DIXEY
FORT HALL — Shoshone-Bannock tribal member Conrad Benally won Best Male Artist at the Native American Music Awards over the weekend.
It’s the second Native American Music Award he’s won.
Benally said, “Returning to the Native American Music Awards and seeing familiar faces was a warm welcome feeling. I was surprised on how many big artists were big fans of me and my daughter Mary, saying we follow you on your Facebook page and that they really enjoy our music and the power it holds to touch another’s heart and soul.”
He expressed how hearing these kind words from big artists made him smile from ear to ear. His brother Clarence Benally Jr., who accompanied them, said, “Wow, you and Mary are huge. People know you two. They all want autographs and pictures.”
Conrad was glad his brother came with them to experience all the excitement that was offered that night at the award ceremony. Before the awards started off, there was a Red Carpet where all the nominees got to walk and do interviews with different radio stations. Conrad and Mary were asked to do an interview.
In their interview, they were asked who they were, what they were nominated for, and where they were from. Benally explained, “As we started our interview, we introduced ourselves. Hello my name is Conrad Benally and this is my beautiful daughter Mary Benally and we come from the land of Shoshone-Bannocks from Fort Hall, Idaho, God’s Country. We are here today to represent our families and our tribe and we are proud to be amongst all these wonderful and amazing artists and honored to be nominated for two awards — one with my daughter Mary for Best Inspirational Recording and the other for Best Male Artist.”
After their interview on the Red Carpet, they were welcomed to the award show by more fans. The award show started with a prayer, as performers were getting ready to take the stage. Benally explained that at this very moment, he began to get nervous, a familiar feeling that he felt at last year’s award show. When it came time to announce the winner for Best Male Artist, Conrad remembers looking at the big screen and seeing all six-nominee names for this award come onto the screen. Pure excitement rose over Conrad as the announcer said, “And the winner for Best Male Artist is Conrad Benally!”
Conrad expressed that he was amazed to win the award because the other nominees were top-notch artists and he is only from Fort Hall, Idaho. Although they did not win their second category, they were still amazed that they were not coming home empty handed. Mary Benally plans to be at the 2018 Native American Music Awards for her solo album, however is happy to be apart of her dad’s music. Benally expressed that it was a night that they will never forget.
They celebrated with pizza and wings at their hotel room later that night. During their travels, they visited Niagara Falls, New York where they celebrated Clarence’s birthday. They took an Uber for transportation to the falls where they got to sing to the driver after he found out they were nominees for the Native American Music Awards.
When they got to Niagara Falls, they went on “Maid Of The Midst,” the boat ride that takes tourists directly underneath the falls, and had a chance to sing. Clarence recorded Mary and Conrad singing underneath a waterfall that is now posted on Conrad’s Facebook page.
Conrad would like to thank his family, friends, and the Shoshone-Bannock people for all their love and support. He would like to thank them for standing by him on his journey and believing in him.
Mary Benally and Conrad Benally singing at Niagra Falls. (Photos courtesy of
Conrad Benally's Facebook page)