G2 ~ G#5 (3 octaves and 1 semitone)
D3 ~ G#4
D3 ~ D5 (with head voice)
Light Lyric Tenor
- Strongest vocalist in MBLAQ
- Able to use sufficient support with consistency down to D3
- Mixed range is bright and consistent with resonance and support
- Pitch has improved and is very stable and controlled
- Has the ability to produce vocal runs with a certain degree of complexity
- Able to control his placement well for his mixed voice and falsetto
- Resonance is produced as high as G#4, good placement isn’t lost above G#4
- Transitions into falsetto have improved overtime
- Head voice can be supported up until D5
- Good stable and healthy vibrato is produced
- Good sense of dynamics
- Vocal runs aren’t always controlled
- Tries to sing more complex vocal runs than he can handle
- Lower range lacks support below D3, becomes airy
- Falsetto can be either too airy or too pushed
- Mixed voice becomes uneven and overly heady above his second passaggio
- Strain is present in his mixed voice from A4 and above
- Jaw tension sometimes present in his vocal runs
- Head voice is only produced through tension
- Lower register: The lower range is generally quiet below D3, with enough support is present even if the projection isn’t as ideal as it could be. Below D3, however, the tone is almost always lost and a lot of airiness and disconnection are present.
- Mixed register: The mixed voice is on the brighter side, with a slight head-dominant to balanced quality and consistent support. Placement is generally good, with a lifted soft palate and resonance happens often in the voice as high as G#4. Above that, the mixing becomes a bit shrill and overly-head dominant, with tension.
- Upper register: The falsetto register can have a purer sound as high as C5, with ease and control. The higher portion is generally used with added air pressure and tension, placed in the mask with the quality that imitates a mixed voice.
With a style that’s reminiscent of that of other male R&B veteran Korean vocalists, G.O. uses the bright quality of his voice and lightness to his advantage when it comes to his vocal runs. He has a very R&B-like sound to his mixed voice, due to the more balanced sound in his mix, which makes doing vocal acrobatics easier than someone who tries to carry more weight up. Oftentimes G.O. tries to add new melodies and add his own signature style to his songs, by adding vocal runs. These vocal runs technically speaking, possess an adequate level of skill for note separation and he’s able to show the ability to differentiate notes in his runs and still keep a degree of control of his voice, as shown in “못잊겠어요“. This ability to separate notes generally is only favorable when the vocal runs he attempts are relatively simple however when it comes to more complex runs, he tends to lose some of the control and key center, going off pitch by trying to hit more notes faster than his voice is able to, such as in “추억으로 가는당신” and “Wildflower“. Other than issues with pitch, at times his vocal runs also are accompanied by a tense jaw that moves along with the note changes in his runs, which hinders his freedom and control of the muscle memory necessary for vocal agility, such as in “Cracks of My Broken Heart“. G.O. shows the interest and vocal styling of an R&B vocalist, but he’s yet to master the full control of his voice in terms of agility.
Debuting as the main vocalist of MBLAQ in 2009, after dropping out of school from being beaten by none other than Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon, G.O. has been able to realize his dreams as a singer and has shown skill and seriousness in his craft. His voice is very bright, high in tessitura and sound, with lightness and a style reminiscent of vocalists like Brown Eyed Soul’s Naul. His voice is more than likely to be classified as a light lyric tenor due to its lightness, flexibility and passaggi.
The lowest part of his range is generally very quiet, airy and lacks support. As a vocalist who shows influence from R&B vocalists, it is not expected of him to invest as much time in his lower range as he would in his mixed voice. Having said that, he does show enough adequate support with forward placement as low as D3, even if the placement isn’t always consistent, the support is, as shown in the Eb3’s from “그대 내맘에 들어오면은“, as well as the D3’s in “Play That Song” and “내 마음 당신 곁으로“. As he descends below D3, his voice starts to lose connection with the vocal cords becoming slightly further apart, creating less tone and more air. This is heard in his C#3’s, such as in “못잊겠어요” and his lowest note, G2 in “가슴아프게“.
The highlight of a tenor’s voice is never the second octave, but usually the fourth octave. This is a part of G.O.’s voice where he has shown the most attention to in terms of development and consistency. He is a vocalist who has a consistent amount of airflow and generally relies on a heavier usage of cricothyroid muscles as opposed to thyarytenoid, resulting in a mixed voice that’s more head-dominant than chest dominant, with perhaps less power but more flexibility and brightness. His mixed voice is consistently supported up until G#4, with numerous examples of resonance and openness, such as the F#4’s in “후인“, “사랑은 이제 그만” as well as G4’s in “너에게로 또 다시“, “사랑의 시” and G#4’s in “여행을 떠나요” and “나란 놈이란“. This resonance isn’t exactly lost as he ascends above G#4, however tension is added to the chemistry causing his voice to sound less free even if the direction of air from the vocal cords into the mask is still applied. In other words, above G#4, he is still able to keep correct placement for his voice, even if support isn’t as strong and strain happens, such as the Bb4 in “Killer” and the A4 in “그남자 그여자“, “남자답게” and in “낙서“.
Another thing that happens above G#4 is the uneven ratio of head and chest voice in G.O.’s mix. Although it’s established that his mix does lean more towards the head-dominant side, he does tend to become even headier as he ascends in range and hence loses the support by pushing his voice with tension in his throat to overcompensate for the lack of power in notes above G#4 thus losing the good placement he has, such as the A4’s “낙서“, “사랑스런 그대“. The higher he gets, the tighter he sounds and the more strain is present in his singing, such as the B4’s in “미련“, “당신은“, C5’s in “추억으로 가는당신” and “거울“.
His upper register is a much more explored register than his lower chest voice and is used with more cleverness than most vocalists. G.O. has the tendency of either using a soft sound with airiness for his falsetto or placing his head voice heavily in his mask to mimic the sound of a mixed voice, as opposed to what most K-pop idol tenor vocalists would do. Instead of trying to push his voice way out of its range to hit high mixed voice notes, G.O. will instead use less tension by more heavily using the cricothyroid part of his vocal cords to create a head voice, that projects well through his mask, in order to minimize the strain on his mixed voice, as heard in the F5 in “Wildflower“, and the E5 in “사랑은 차가운 유혹“, where he transitions into a more pure head voice tone without adding any mask or chest resonance to it up until G5, with enough freedom to do a vocal run. Although he is able to use a head voice at times by placing his voice in his mask, he does so by adding too much air pressure and tends to close his throat, letting his larynx raise above D5. Up until D5 however he’s able to use a connected head voice with support. His use of head voice can be inconsistent above D5, as he lacks the ability to truly connect and support his head voice when trying to sing softly. Instead he will use a falsetto and will only use head voice if he adds tension and pushes his vocal cords together, oftentimes resulting in less than desirable results like the F#5 in “Monalisa“, where projection and volume are completely lost due to the tension in his throat.
Musically speaking, G.O. possesses a very good control and idea of his voice and is not a vocalist who tries to always add notes that are too high outside his supported range, sticking a range that’s normally familiar to him where he knows he can project his voice well, possesses good placement and good development of tone. His breath control, therefore, shows development and maturity so that he can portray a number of different characters and emotions through his voice by his usage of vocal dynamics and vocal effects. His vibrato is usually very steady, healthy and controlled and is used when sustaining notes very well.
As a vocalist G.O. has shown great control of his instrument within his supported range and good consistency. He is a vocalist who has earned the title of main vocalist in his group and is able to shine well through their songs. Although his vocal level is adequate for that of a solo vocalist, if he is to pursue a solo career in the future, really working on his mixing and vocal agility would be the most important aspects of his voice due to the nature of his style and repertoire, hence allowing for a more versatile and flexible voice in the long run so as to maintain a long term career as a vocalist and musician.
G.O.’s musicianship revolves mainly around his passion for R&B, showing always a Naul-inspired kind of musical idea. In other words, he tries to add runs wherever he can find with a certain degree of complexity. G.O.’s runs are hardly ever random, they’re just sometimes too complicated and hence lack the control of someone with the vocal level of Naul. Another part of this type of style also revolves around very high mixed voice notes added to create more intensity in his songs, such as the added runs in his cover of “Cracks of My Broken Heart” and F5 in “Wildflower“.
Above Average to Proficient Vocalist
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Vocal Range Video(s)
*F#2 in the video is a vocal fry Eb2
Video by: Josias (eternalsilverlight)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)