“It was an opportunity for me to show the world what I’ve been doing for all these years.”

Vanessa Ferguson, 32, Greensboro’s Voice

If you cheered for Greensboro’s hometown pride, Vanessa Ferguson, on this season of NBC’s The Voice, you should thank her grandmother, Doris McCrae.

It was Doris who first recognized Vanessa’s talent. It was Doris who found the money to pay for the piano lessons, even though she was busy raising a house full of grandbabies.

“She realized I could sing,” Vanessa says. “She put whatever she could into me.”

Doris ran away from home as a 13-year-old to pursue a career as a singer, Vanessa says. She never quite got there, but she did pass on her passion for song, and her love of gospel and jazz to Vanessa – who is busy living grandma’s dreams of professional success.

Vanessa cut her teeth performing with bands around the Triad before touring all over the world. The Voice was her chance to perform before millions, getting coached by singer-songwriter Alicia Keys. Keys really “understood where I was coming from,” Vanessa says.

“It was an opportunity for me to show the world what I’ve been doing for all these years,” she says. “It was amazing to be validated.”

She’s still contemplating what will come next, including using the exposure from the show to help get some interest from a record label.

Since she’s been back, Gate City residents have been showing Vanessa the love. She recently accepted a key to the city, and performed to a packed crowd at Barber Park for the second year in a row at the Levitt AMP Series.

“It’s been cool coming home. Greensboro took care of me on this adventure,” Vanessa says.

 

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