They know her name. They know her voice. But what the people who come to hear Leanne Ferrell sing at The Aloft Hotel in Downtown Denver every week might not know is her story.
“When I first got out here it was hard to find a place and so we were living in motels,” Ferrell recalls.
Before Ferrell began singing on the Aloft stage, she was singing on a street corner less than a mile away, hoping to earn enough money each day to keep a roof over her head.
“From the time I came I was out singing every day,” Ferrell says. “Just singing for like hours and hours and hours and hours. In the cold and negative seven degree weather. I heard my guitar crack and I was like, ‘Oh I'm going to die or something out here.’”
Ferrell says she kept singing in the cold and heat for one reason.
“The biggest thing is when you see people's reactions and their facial expressions and the tears that come out of their eyes,” Ferrell says. “That moved me to keep singing.”
It paid off when her voice reached a hotel manager's ears.
“She heard me from her window from her job and she followed the voice all the way down 16th street,” Ferrell says. “And was like, ‘Oh my God I have to have you in my hotel.’”
That gig led to the one at Aloft, which she says has given her more than money. Here she sings with her son, Takwon Wilson, who she had to leave with family years earlier when times got tough.
“It's fun because it gives me more time,” Ferrell says. “It gives me time to spend with him, time that I lost but now I gained.”
Wilson enjoys it just as much.
“Honestly I feel pretty proud of her honestly because she honestly came a long way,” Wilson says. “I love her a lot.”
Now Ferrell is singing a song of gratitude.
“Everybody who was there with me from the beginning all the way up until now thank y'all so much,” Ferrell says.
She has true perspective on what it means to never give up.
“If you have something that you love and you have passion for it don't quit, keep doing it. Don't say I can't, say I will and keep striving,” Ferrell says.