When keyboardist and musical director Francois Dean got a long‑running gig in Laguna Beach, he decided to pay it forward. The Rancho Santa Margarita resident—who has worked with Earth, Wind & Fire and Patti LaBelle—initiated Laguna Voice, a version of “The Voice” or “American Idol,” which packs the house Tuesday nights at Mozambique Restaurant. Here are a few of his favorite former contestants.
“What sets her apart is her connection with the songs and her passion. She’s a great vocalist, and she makes a song her own. It’s funny because she can be like Aretha Franklin or Whitney Houston, same kind of strength and vibe, and she has the edge of Janis Joplin, the soul of it.”
“He’s what we call a vocal powerhouse. He’s a crowd favorite. He won everybody’s love and attention when he sang Prince’s ‘Purple Rain.’ He has a strong voice and a wide range. It’s amazing to witness. It surprises you because he’s such a little guy and all that voice comes out of him.”
“She definitely brings stage presence. She knows how to rock with the band. She’s an up-and-coming talent from Orange County. People expect her to sound very young, and she doesn’t. She’s like old soul, almost.”