GREENSBORO, N.C.-- This Sunday evening on The Grammys you'll see superstar performers like Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars. Sure, they're famous now, but everybody starts somewhere and there are ways local aspiring artists here in the Triad can begin on a high note.
Vanessa Ferguson knows the struggle. A graduate of Western Guilford High School, she spent years performing at clubs in and around Greensboro.
"Any and every performance club in The Triad, I've done it," she said.
Now, music pays the bills. After finding some success, she could have chosen to move away, but staying sounds sweetest.
"I think a lot of people feel like you have to leave,” she said. “This is home base. This is quiet. This is peace. This is serenity."
Josh Millner owns Skymount Studios in Greensboro where Ferguson records. Over the past 12 years he's worked with big names like Jodeci and 2 Chainz, as well as local artists just setting out in the biz.
"You literally can be anywhere, especially in 2018. Technology has made it where you can make a song here and you can send that song to LA or send it to New York or Atlanta and collaborate with another artist," he said.
Both Millner and Ferguson advise aspiring artists to: write your own music, perform it live, find a producer, and record in the studio. All of which you can do right here at home.
"Our job here is to try to get them sonically to the best place so they sound like radio," said Millner.
Millner says it takes about three hours minimum to record one song. He says you can book that amount of studio time for less than $150.
Over decades, Ferguson has perfected her live shows and got a big break last year when she became a semi-finalist on Season 12 of reality singing competition The Voice. But she's settled here in Greensboro, writing, recording and performing. She’s chosen to stay in the same place where it all began.