Singer-songwriter Robert Arthur is honoring where he comes from as his first album is set to be released.
“I am still finishing the album. It will be released in November,” said Arthur, who goes by the artist's name Elet. “I like what I hear, and I hope the rest of you guys do too.”
What makes his music unique is the combination of pop and R&B vibes, mixed with lyrics sung in the Navajo language. Arthur says he found his voice as a young boy in church and the words of his new songs were learned through conversations with his great-grandmother.
“You have to pick up a little bit of the Navajo language if you talk to her because that’s the only language she knows,” said Arthur. “And I’m grateful for that because a lot of people don’t know who they are and I know exactly who I am. It feels good speaking Navajo. It’s a sacred language.”
It's a language he intends to share through his music.
Arthur recently released two songs on his YouTube channel. So far, he says people have been very supportive.
“It’s such a sacred language and I’m so grateful to be getting positive feedback,” said Arthur. “I don’t take it lightly.”
He says he first writes his songs in English and then translates them, at times turning to family for help.
“My grandma helps me at times,” said Arthur. “But sometimes there isn’t a word in Navajo that works for a particular word in English.”
He looks forward to sharing his full album soon and says it feels like a success already just based on the renewed interest focused on the Navajo language.
“I have cousins who’ve listened to it and now they want to learn Navajo,” said Arthur. “Just keeping the language alive, if I can do that, I think I’m doing something good, that’s all that matters to me."