E3 ~ B5 (2 Octaves, 3 notes and 1 semitone)
A3/Bb3 ~ B4/C5
- Second strongest vocalist in Brown Eyed Girls
- Able to consistently keep a stable larynx up into the fifth octave around C5
- Able to keep a stable larynx at times down to G3
- Support is present in the lower range around Bb3/A3 and up
- Support is quite consistent up until C5
- Resonance is present in her voice and may at times be achieved in a range around and below C#5
- Possesses a falsetto that is generally relaxed around G#5 and below
- Consistently able to produce an even and healthy vibrato
- Good at harmonizing and blending her voice with the rest of the Brown Eyed Girls’ members
- Possesses a more unusual voice type and therefore is able to stand out from most K-pop groups
Points for Improvement
- Back of the throat often closes and creates a tight pushed sound in her mix
- Breathiness is too often present and causes intonation issues
- Falsetto is at times pushed and tight with an airy improper vocal cord connection
- Larynx raises and throat closes quite considerably above D5
- Support is inconsistent even in her supported range around C#5/D5
- Notes below Bb3/A3 are often airy, quiet and unstable in placement and cord connection
- Often places her voice in her nose when not raising her soft palate
- Falsetto notes can at times be pitchy and lose control
- Vocal runs are often messy and lack proper precision and separation of notes
- Often gets tighter and more nasal on the “Aye (애)” vowel
- Lower register: Her lower range is often airy and unstable even within her supported range, around A3 and Bb3, at times. Her range below G3 is often airy, unprojected and disconnected in sound, showing almost no care for proper support and projection.
- Mixed register: Consistently able to keep support up until C5, with occasional resonance and has also been able to show a consistent stable larynx up until C#5. Notes above D5 are often pushed and strained, with a high larynx and whiny placement.
- Upper register: Falsetto is often relaxed up until about E5 but generally becomes pushed as she ascends in range and possesses an undesirable amount of airiness and disconnection of tone and support.
Jea’s voice is that of a Soprano but due to the extra weight it possesses, it may find itself less comfortable with vocal embellishments. Regardless of skill, she is a vocalist who often adds ornamentations and attempts different vocal runs in her vocal performance. For that reason, her vocal runs often lack proper pitch separation and clarity of tone, notes are often more like slides from one note to another and lack proper precision and a careful thought-through process of preparation beforehand. Examples include her runs during her performance of “고향이 남쪽이랬지” and “Because You Loved Me“.
As one of Korea’s most well acclaimed and respectable vocal idol groups, it would be of no surprise to the public that someone like Jea would be one of Korea’s most respected and well praised vocalist. Surprising, however, would be to know that although very respected, she would not stand as high vocally as the public would have her be, when it comes to pure vocal technique and skill. Possessing a light voice with a certain degree with brightness, it is Jea’s slightly darker tone that helps it stand out from most other vocalists. Having a voice that lies closer to that of a Full Lyric Soprano, her voice possesses an extra weight and size in volume that allows for it to be naturally bigger and stand out from other vocalists and from the other vocalists in her group. Although there is more of a mature sound to her voice, she has yet to show enough vocal qualities of a full lyric soprano to be classified as one, so she may either be a light or a full lyric soprano.
Starting from the bottom of her range, Jea’s voice generally is able to keep vocal tone and stay connected around G3 and above, where her voice seems to stay projected and present although lacking stability and support, as seen in her cover of “Out Here On My Own“. She generally shows a better vocal support and properly connects her vocal cords around A3/Bb3 where her voice seems less uncomfortable, although there’s still degree of instability in her voice, as heard in “고향이 남쪽이랬지” and “그대가 잠든 사이“. Her lowest extreme is her E3 from the performance of “Dancing Queen“, where the notes lack a lot in terms of vocal tone, cord connection and support, almost coming off as low whispers.
Ascending into her mixed range, this is where Jea is given most lines to sing, as Brown Eyed Girls’ main vocalist, she is mostly in charge of the bigger and important high notes in songs. Her voice shows consistent support around C5 and even C#5, with a properly stable neutral larynx and proper breathing technique. At times she may be able to show consistency up until D5, but such consistency is lost even within her own performances, such as in her performance of “3자 대면“, where many times she will keep forward sound in her D5’s, but inconsistently able to keep an opened and relaxed throat. She is able to produce resonance in her mixed range and has done so in performances such as “고향이 남쪽이랬지“, on her opening C5 and the B4’s in “You Raise Me Up“. Support is also present on her C5’s, examples include her performance of “겨울 이야기“. Her consistency is very good around C5 and below, where she generally produces healthy and supported notes and has done enough C#5’s with support for them to part of her supported range. However so, Jea’s biggest problem in her mix is her inconsistency with keeping her throat relaxed and opened even within her supported range. Often times, her voice will sound rather pushed and tight, with the back of her throat and swallowing muscles closing around her voice, creating a pushed and often limited sound, examples include the C#5’s from “You Raise Me Up” and the D5’s of “친구여“.
At other times, her voice will just show a clear sign of strain, often pushing, raising her larynx and using little to no support. Many times, she will let the tongue tense up and make the sound of her voice become small, restricted and strained. She also has a tendency to become tense and push her voice into her nose on the “Aye (애)” vowel. Examples of her straining include the D5’s from “Note To God“, the F5’s from “Sixth Sense“, her E5’s in 친구여“, her F5 from “Because You Loved Me” and her Eb5’s from “You Raise Me Up“. It is also clear that her voice loses resonance and becomes smaller as she leans onto this bad habit when comparing her to another vocalist of the same voice type, such as Lee Young Hyun, with whom she released a duet called “Harmony” in which the size of Jea’s voice and Lee Young Hyun’s voice becomes quite contrasting due to the bigger resonance coming from Lee Young Hyun and the more pushed and throaty quality present in Jea’s voice.
Her falsetto register is generally used to create a breathier and more vulnerable quality of sound, often using a breathy onset to create a sense of weakness. Her falsetto register is generally supported and relaxed, being switched into at times for emotional value and at other times to reach notes otherwise uncomfortable for her on a not-so-good vocal day. Examples include the breathy C5’s from “니가따끔거려서“, her G#5 from “Because You Loved Me” as well as her E5’s from “All I Want For Christmas Is You“. Up until G#5, her falsetto is able to stay relaxed but as she ascends int A5 and above, her voice becomes tighter, less supported and smaller in size, with more of a push in her throat. Examples include her A5’s from “그대가 잠든 사이“, “Emotion” and her highest live note, her B5 from “고향이 남쪽이랬지“.
In terms of strengths, Jea’s voice is consistent in support up until C5 and she often is able to produce a controlled and healthy vibrato with her voice. On her weaknesses though, Jea often tenses up her voice, closes her throat and uses an overly breathy technique, which causes her intonation to at times go off, examples being her performance of “Because You Loved Me” and her sustained D5 from “Can’t Fight The Moonlight“, where her voice was being pushed with too much throat and air from her diaphragm, causing her pitch to go sharp and create a note in between D5 and Eb5.
As a vocalist, Jea has been able to go very far on her own when it comes to singing technique. She has reportedly not been given formal singing lessons and thus has come very far with learning how to use the instrument she has to the best of her own unique ability. She is often able to create emotions through an airy technique, through playing with certain dynamics and volume, but due to the faults in her technique, Jea is often left with half-complete performances, lacking precision, openness, resonance and true presence. Her voice is often praised and if she were to properly address breathing technique and opening her throat, she’d be able to take her vocal performances to a whole new level. She was reported to have regressed vocally due to improper use of vocal technique and due to a long absence from the music industry where she reportedly had not sung enough, which is not true because even as early as 2006 ~ 2008, Jea showed similar, if not the same exact vocal flaws and strengths that she possesses today.
Able to properly use her voice with enough vocal control to blend her voice well with her Brown Eyed Girls’ members and harmonize well. One of her strengths is her ability to know when to properly match others’ volume of tone and to control the thickness and weight of her voice. Also able to change the melody of songs more properly when unable to sing through certain transitions and melodies, although the end result might not be as successful as the initial idea, she is able to mask any kind of vocal issues, such as in “Emotion” where Jea avoids hitting the C6, originally in the song, and instead does a descending run from A5, which was less accurate than one would desire but still managed to make up for the C6 she did not attempt.
Label (Type of Vocalist)
MB Vocalists: Mid-Range Belters
Best Vocal Performance
Vocal Range Video(s)
Video by: Josias (Eternalsilverlight)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)