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Brothers nab first NAMA together for ‘The Storm’

Spencer Battiest, left, and Doc Native won their first NAMA as a duo for a live at home performance of “The Storm.” (Courtesy Spencer Battiest)

Seminole Tribe brothers Spencer Battiest and Doc Native have been recognized with nominations and awards for their music over the years, but they achieved a first in 2022. The pair won a Native American Music Award (NAMA) as a duo for the song “The Storm,” at an awards ceremony Nov. 21 in Buffalo, New York.

The brothers planned to attend the ceremony – the first in-person version in two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic – but it was postponed due to a severe snowstorm in the Buffalo area.

“We were in New York City trying to get to Buffalo but couldn’t,” Battiest said. “A lot of artists didn’t end up going.”

Nevertheless, the brothers were excited about the award for “Best Live Performance Video.” It was Native’s first win and Battiest’s second. Battiest won “best pop recording” in 2016 for his album “Stupid in Love.”

“It’s really cool because the first time we were ever nominated for a NAMA was for ‘The Storm,’” Battiest said. “It’s our most popular song that we’ve done together as brothers. To win this one is special.”

“The Storm” was nominated for two NAMA’s when it was released in 2011. Battiest said it still connects with people today, especially through during the pandemic.

The live at home performance on video of “The Storm” came about early in the pandemic in 2020, when many areas of the country were in lockdown protocols and live performances were halted. Battiest said NAMA president Ellen Bello began to encourage Native artists to do performances online and through social media platforms.

“Artists were doing performances from their homes and backyards,” Battiest said. “She asked if Doc and I would participate.”

Battiest said it made sense to record “The Storm” – a song that is lyrically about the Seminole Tribe, but carries general themes about overcoming obstacles and moving through uncertainty. The challenge with recording a live version, Battiest said, was that his band members were in Ohio and California, while he and Native were in Florida. They decided to perform and record it in their respective locations.

“The Storm: Live From Home” was soon released on YouTube, where it can be viewed today.

“Out of everything, to win this one is special. The song has finally come full circle,” Native, who has been involved in other NAMA-winning projects as a featured artist or producer, said. “It’s pretty interesting to see that it’s still very much relevant.”

Up next

The brothers said they have a lot of projects planned in 2023.

Battiest said he’s working to bring the all-Indigenous musical “Distant Thunder” to a New York City theater for a run. He performed in a seven show-run in Oklahoma City in early 2022.

“I’m also planning more live [music] performances and hopefully more new music,” he said.

Native, a busy producer, songwriter and performer, has lately been trying his hand at acting, which he hopes to continue.

“I started to get serious about getting into films and movies and thankfully it’s been a successful first year,” he said. “I’ve got the acting bug like my brother.”

Native is in the Everett Osceola-produced horror movie “Don’t Let It In,” with other Seminoles and Indigenous actors. He said it’s now in the later stages of production. Native also appears in an episode of “Echo,” a Marvel Comics’ series that’s set to stream on Disney+ in the summer.

In addition, Native said he’s in the recently completed short film “Mary Margaret Road-Grader” that was shot in Santa Fe, New Mexico, under the helm of Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa-Choctaw) and producer George R.R. Martin of “Game of Thrones” fame. Martin describes the film as a “Native American Mad Max story about tractor pulls and feminism.” Native said it’s due to be released sometime in 2023.

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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at