C#3 ~ G#5 (2 octaves, 3 notes and 1 semitone)
E3 ~ Bb4/B4
- Possibly and arguably the strongest vocalist in YG entertainment presently
- Able to keep tone and support down to E3 consistently
- Possesses a very agile voice, with good note separation
- Resonance is present in the voice from time to time
- Able to keep consistent support in her voice up until Bb4/B4
- Notes in falsetto are controlled for the most part
- Pitch is consistently controlled in her voice
- Musicianship is very prominent in her singing
- Mixed voice is bright and more head dominant, so there’s less strain on the vocal cords
- Although voice is agile, runs lack precision in pitch
- Notes below E3 lack support and tone, although they’re still audible and not airy
- Resonance is not often achieved
- Notes above B4 are often produced with tension and strain
- Falsetto register is weak in terms of tone production and isn’t often used
- Voice is very young and could easily change, so some of the vocally heavy songs she sings can damage her voice
- Mixed voice is not very flexible and lacks tone and control
- Notes above C#5 can often sound unstable, tight and screechy
- Vowels such as Woo (우), Eu (으) and Aye (애) cause her swallowing muscles to close her throat
- Lower register: Able to support down to E3 consistently with an even column of sound, through proper breathing and a neutral larynx position. Notes below E3, however, generally become more quiet and less connected, with a slight hint of airiness and less projection, although tone is still present.
- Mixed register: Normally a very balanced to head-dominant mix is used where her voice sounds youthful and bright for most of the time. Support is present up until B4, with resonance and consistency up until Bb4. Above B4, notes become more screeched and pushed.
- Upper register: Most underused register, where her voice becomes the weakest and lacks projection. Her voice still possesses enough control of pitch to freely carry out vocal runs even in this register.
Lee Hi’s voice is a bit heavier than most other K-pop female idol vocalists, which doesn’t stop her from having, arguably, one of the most agile voices amongst her peers. She is able to carry out complicated and smooth vocal runs from the bottom to the top of her range with precision and accuracy of pitch and a very clean and consistent separation of each individual note. Her precision is generally good but at times her runs may come out of place and will contain some extra notes that can sound off-key and miscalculated. Most examples of her precision in vocal runs include her cover of “Love“, “Killing Me Softly“, “Mama Do“. She can either go off key when she’s brought outside of her supported range, like in “Sway“, or when the runs are too improvised or require too wide of a range like in the last run of “Goodbye Baby Goodbye“.
Lee Hi is arguably one of the idols with one of the most unique voices in K-pop. That uniqueness doesn’t necessarily come from her vocal tone or her vocal quality, but instead it comes from the fact that, even at such a young age, her voice stands out by being one of the few Mezzo-Sopranos amongst young female idols singers. Her voice generally possesses a very dark, soulful and womanly quality in her lower range, but the youthfulness of her voice due to age and her mixing technique show that she still has a developing voice, most likely at this point in time she’d be classified as a Light Lyric Mezzo-Soprano.
Possessing one of the best lower ranges amongst young idol vocalists, she has the advantage of having a naturally lower voice than most other k-pop female vocalists, which allows for her voice to fully project and be connected even as she descends into the lower third octave. Her voice is characteristically very smoky and dark in her lower range, where she possesses a very clean, supported and projected sound, well placed in her mask and her chest, allowing for her voice to fully be present even in her lowest notes. She’s able to keep a consistent full sound on F#3’s, such as in “너를 위해“, F3’s such as in “U-Go Girl” and E3 such as at the end of an acapella cover of “Mercy” and in “Let It Be“. Her voice however starts losing her natural column of sound as she descends below E3, such as her Eb3’s in “시간이 흐른뒤” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You“, and her D3’s in “Officially Missing You” and “U-Go Girl“. Although she may be able to take her voice below D3, presently, her voice still only shows support on E3 and above.
Her mixed range shows a very distinct and almost light quality to it, which betrays the sense of soulfulness and heaviness present in her lower range. Due to her young age, her voice still lacks the maturity to fully connect from bottom to top with a consistent color and timbre, which is also a technical flaw due to the nature of her mixed voice. Lee Hi’s mixed voice is generally either balanced, or head dominant, which allow for her to peak at F5, even with as a mezzo-soprano, numerous times, such as in “Mercy” and “U-Go Girl“. Her voice is head-dominant but still has the right amount of chest voice for her muscles to properly be able to coordinate and control her mixed voice and allow for her to bring it up to F5. The issue however, is that due to the lightness of her mixed voice, it lacks the necessary strength from the chest voice muscles to create a fuller and bigger sound as she ascends, also taking away the natural qualities of a mezzo-soprano as she ascends, although age is also a factor to be considered. Therefore, resonance may be present in her singing, but it’s generally kind of small in comparison to the potential size of her voice, as it matures. However she has been able to show quite a couple of times the ability to be resonant on A4’s, such as in “Whistle“, and her Bb4’s in “Rolling In The Deep” and”Goodbye Baby Goodbye“. Her support is still present on B4, such as in “Let It Go” and “Love The Way You Lie“, but above B4, her C5’s generally carry a bit of a tight throat and even on B4’s, due to the vowels being either “Aye (애)”, “Woo (우)” and “Eu (으)”, her swallowing muscles tend to close around her belts, even within her supported range. Examples of strained high notes above B4 include the C5’s in “나는 달라” and “살아봤으면 해 (If I Were You)“, her D5’s in “Mercy” and “Let It Be“, and her Eb5 in “Sway“, where her voice generally sounds quite tight and screeched.
Her falsetto register is by far her least developed register, where her voice becomes the weakest and the least comfortable. Her voice is still quite controlled and she’s able to freely do vocal runs even in her falsetto, such as in “Mercy” and “Let It Be“, but her voice lacks the full connection of her vocal cords to produce a less airy tone. Her falsetto also is limited in range, where her highest note is a belted F5, her falsetto is mostly not used above Eb5, an F5 is hit in the recording of “All I Want For Christmas Is You“, but her voice is just less supported and less capable of the natural sustain she possesses in the rest of her other registers. Projection may be present, but her placement isn’t ideally put into her mask and head voice, instead her voice is generally only half-placed in her mask, where the other half is placed slightly in the back of her throat and the rest is lost through the air coming out of her vocal cords.
As a young vocalist, Lee Hi’s biggest assets are her naturally low voice, her developed lower range and her ease in her mixed range. Another one of her strengths is her pitch which, apart from occasional vocal runs, is mostly impeccable and allows her to actually sing very complicated vocal lines at will and with freedom. Her voice is always in control of her pitch, her breathing is very steady and she possesses a very advanced understanding of music. Always being able to change the music at will with different accompaniments, she knows where to use stronger notes and to properly add her own character such as in “Lonely” and “어른아이“. She also generally uses a straight tone but has a natural and healthy vibrato, which only add to how advanced her vocal technique is considering her young age.
As a singer, born in 1996, she is presently the strongest female, if not overall, vocalist in YG Entertainment. Due to being cast as a vocalist and singer from K-Pop Star, she didn’t go through the training that most YG vocalists normally would, allowing for her to develop her technique, style and persona on her own, not being influenced by the vocal coaching present in YG Entertainment. As a vocalist, she is a young prodigy whose vocal technique surpass the vocal technique of many of her older and younger seniors, where she’s able to control her voice beyond her years. For future improvements, developing her head voice and further developing her mixed voice to properly add to the natural soulful depth and color of her low voice would be a must, however it may take time due to the current vocal care she’s under, where little to no emphasis is put on developing proper vocal technique. However, due to her naturally good vocal habits, Lee Hi should have no issues with her present vocal technique.
Probably her strongest quality, Lee Hi is a vocalist who not only hears music well, but is also able to add and make every song her own with vocal runs and melodic changes. She has the natural ear and ability to fully adapt to many different kinds of backgrounds and settings, where her voice shows control and precision in her musical ideas. Examples include the many covers she’s performed, where her confidence has risen and her control even more so throughout the years, such as in “Bust Your Windows“, “Lonely“, “Let It Be“, “Let It Go” and “Love The Way You Lie“. Her ability to harmonize and produce clean and well balanced performances is also an asset of hers, such as in “Officially Missing You“, “Goodbye Baby Goodbye” and “Mama Do“.
Above Average Vocalist
Vocal Range Video(s)
video by:We Are D-town
Best Vocal Performance
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)