Ailee’s Vocal Analysis [Newly Updated]

Vocal Range

D3 ~ C7 (3 Octaves and 5 notes)

Supported Range

G3/G#3 ~ E5/F5

G3/G#3 ~ B5 (with head voice)

Voice Type



  • Arguably the strongest female idol singer
  • Consistent support in the mixed voice up to E5/F5
  • Has shown good moments of support above F5
  • Very well connected head voice
  • Transitions into head voice are nearly flawless
  • Head voice is supported up until Bb5/B5
  • Good control of dynamics and mixing
  • Runs are precise and well articulated
  • Lower range is supported down to G#3/G3
  • Improvement has been clearly heard from pre-debut/debut until now
  • Nasality is almost never present in her singing

Points for Improvement

  • Vowel shaping often creates a whiny quality in her mixed voice
  • Lower range can become muffled with a lowered larynx
  • Head voice above B5 shows issues with support and tension
  • Mixed voice is very unbalanced and often pushed
  • Notes above E5/F5 lack consistency and support
  • Lower range below F#3 is often inaudible and overly quiet
  • Vowels such as “Eu (으)” and “Aye (애/에)” generally create the most tension in her voice


  • Lower register: Her weakest register. Improvement has been heard overtime with occasional moments of support below her supported range but generally her support only goes down to G3/G#3 due to improper larynx positions.
  • Mixed register: Mixed voice is very consistent, support is almost always present but due to stylistic reasons and bad habits, the mix can often sound pushed and overly chest-dominant, which has shown improvement over time.
  • Upper register: Most consistent register by far, shows the least issues and is one of the most developed head voices amongst female idols. Support and control of dynamics are easily present up until B5 consistently, although she may lack confidence above B5, with problems involving tension.


Amongst idol vocalists, Ailee is one of the top vocalists in terms of agility and precision. Although possessing a chesty mixed voice, Ailee still is able to keep control and flexibility in her runs and melismas. Ailee’s runs are generally very well separated, every note is clear and the overall flow is good and natural. Her runs are also precise in pitch and hardly ever show issues with pitch, her runs flow freely through her songs and she hardly ever has issues with transitions or accuracy. The issue with her runs mostly comes from the lack of bounce they have where, although precise and quite fast and complex, they don’t generally have the lightness and freedom an R&B vocalists tends to favor when doing runs, due to the heavy use of the thyroarytenoid muscles in her voice. Generally someone who does vocal runs in R&B generally uses a more light vocal cord function and a brighter vocal approach as to allow the vocal cords to run through notes carrying less weight and therefore having more freedom. Even then Ailee has shown multiple times that she’s able to carry through complex and long runs without issues in pitch or precision, such in “너를 향한 마음“, “Georgia On My Mind” and “I Was Here” as well as being able to sing through complex vocal lines that transition from her mid-range up to Bb5, such as in “One Night Only“. She’s also shown that her runs can come in different speeds and even in different scales, such as the harmonic minor runs in the beginning of “희야“.

Overall analysis

Debuting in 2012 after a few years of training in Korea, Ailee first started off as a Youtube singer with mild success that brought her from her home in New Jersey to Korea in order to make her dreams of becoming a singer come true. From the beginning of her career up until now, Ailee has always been marketed as a strong vocalist, a title she’s been able to keep by being consistent and delivering good vocal performances throughout her career. Voice type wise, Ailee possesses the tessitura and natural range of a higher female voice, a Soprano, with a girly, youthful and light tone, therefore a light lyric. The overly chest-dominant approach used in Ailee’s mix may confuse some to think she’s got a lower voice than she does, but her natural tone is much lighter when she doesn’t try to push too much chest up in her mix.

As a Soprano, Ailee has always neglected properly developing her lower range and therefore this is by far the weakest part of her voice. During debut, Ailee would often show good support down to about A3, but would then generally opt for a lowered larynx position below A3, such as the G3’s in “보여줄게” and “빛과 그림자“, and at times she’d even show lack of stability and problems with pitch in her lower range such as in “나 어떡해“. Her lower range above A3 has mostly always been very well placed, supported and relaxed. Overtime Ailee has shown that she is able to support her voice below A3, most notably the F#3 in “사랑했지만“, however Ailee shows inconsistency with her lower range, most notably the bad habit of always lowering her larynx as she descends into a more challenging lower range for a Soprano. She has shown in performances such as “Georgia On My Mind“, “Stand Up For Love” and “손대지마” that she’s able to support her voice on G#3 and G3, but may favor the bad habit of lowering her larynx for a more stylistically “soulful” sound that may work for her, in performances such as “여러분“, but generally shows a lack of understanding of her instrument as a whole and therefore exposes her lower range as a less developed register. Ideally, keeping a stable larynx and maintaining tone through support and proper mask and chest placement would create a much fuller, natural and soulful sound than lowering her larynx. Below G3, she still shows issues with projection and a low larynx, such as the F3’s in “Halo” and F#3’s in “I Was Here“.

Her mixed range is where Ailee likes to keep most of her focus on and has developed it quite well on her own over the years. In her late teens, Ailee used to show a much lighter approach to her mix and also used to have a lot more tongue tension, as shown in recordings such as her pre-debut track “Jealousy“, where many times her sound would become strangled due to her tongue being tight. Over the years, her mix has improved in support, sound and placement, tongue tension has minimized and she generally shines quite well from F#4 ~ C5, as she’s able to produce very big and full resonance, such as the A4 in “Someone Like You“, Bb4 in “I Dreamed A Dream“, B4 in “싫다 싫어“, and C5’s in “아침이슬” and “Stand Up For Love“. Ailee is one of the vocalist who has mastered support and resonance to an extent where unless she’s in a bad condition, she will generally have good consistent support and resonance will almost always be produced. The issue starts to happen more in Ailee’s voice above C#5, where her voice does not lack support by any means, but the fact that she does not lighten up her mix and allow more cricothyroid muscle coordination into her mix causes an excessive amount of breath support to be necessary so that she can keep her heavier chest-dominant mixed voice approach, causing her to often sound distorted with pushed resonance.

Another issue with Ailee’s mixed voice is that due to her vowel shaping, the sound of resonance can be hindered due to a whiny quality present in her singing. This isn’t always the case and is an issue mostly present when in the “Aye (애/에)” vowel, such as in “손대지마” and “Shake That Brass“. There’s a distortion caused by pushing and a less than ideal vocal tract shape in her mixed voice at times, such as the C#5’s in “얼음꽃“, as well as D5’s in “나어떡해“. Ailee has overtime been able to balance out her mix more, and more than enough times has shown in multiple occasions that she can support and produce good resonance in her mixed voice above C#5 consistently with less pushing, such as the D5’s in “이젠 가슴 아픈 말 하지 말아요“, Eb5’s in “Halo” and “고독한 연인“, as well as E5’s in “미소속에 비친 그대“, “아리송해” and in a parody of “Les Miserables“. Above E5, Ailee has shown more than enough occasions where her support is quite steady and somewhat consistent on F5, although the pushing limits the space in the back of her throat, creating more obstruction even though there’s support, such as in “장미“, “그 여자” and “아리송해“, as well as in studio where she’s shown a more bright approach to her higher belts, such as in “Shut Up” or “Rainy Day”. When singing on a closed vowel like “Eu (으)”, Ailee generally shows tension in her F5’s, even if she may support them, the vowel shape causes her to strain her voice, such as in “You & I“. Above F5, Ailee has had very few moments of support above F5, where she would lighten up her mix more than usual even if not to an extent of no-distortion in sound, such as in the F#5 in “너무 아픈 사랑은 사랑을 아니였음을“, as well as the G5 in “Uptown Funk“. Those cases aren’t consistent occurrences but seem to be happening more often as her career goes on, indicating a slow improvement in this aspect of her singing. Even though her mix may become quite shouty and pushed above F5, she still shows enough control of her muscle coordination to be able to carry through very high passages without showing fatigue or cracking, such as the G#5’s in “Problem“, as well as the A5 in “나 어떡해“.

Aside from the development of her mixed voice that earns her the respect of her other peers for being a powerhouse vocalist, Ailee also is one of the female idols with one of the most developed head voices. Being her register with the least flaws, Ailee has shown multiple times that she’s not only able to transition into this register without many issues, despite some abrupt transitions back down into her mixed voice, such as in “I Will Always Love You“, Ailee is in complete control of her head voice in terms of dynamics, resonance and onsets. At times able to produce soft pure notes, with no tension and a relaxed dropped jaw, Ailee shows ease in adding a little bit of air or keeping her volume controlled high into her head voice, such as the Bb5’s in “리듬속의 그춤을” and “When You Believe“, as well as B5’s in “더 사랑하는 쪽이 아프다” and “3! 4!“. Her head voice can also take on a more powerful and controlled full head resonance when needed, such as the G5 into E5 in “나는 어떡하라구” and the A5 in “싫다 싫어“, as well as being able to sustain notes for a long period of time and control her pitch well without much effort, such as the F#5 into G5 key change in “인연“. Ailee still seems not to venture far into her range above B5, as she’s only done it occasionally, it is possible to assume she might not have enough control or confidence in her head voice to take on higher head voice passages, as heard in the C#6 ~ F6 transition in “3! 4!“. She has been able to produce a whistle register occasionally, such as C7, but without any signs of support and with a lot of tension.

Musically, Ailee is an artist who uses various effects for her emotional delivery. She is without doubt a vocalist who’s able to interpret her song and control her instrument with good breath control, dynamics and vocal effects so as to properly engage the audience and create entertaining vocal performances, such as creating airiness, at times creating fuller sounds in her mix to sound more soulful, at others opting for light and bright approaches if singing something less intense, changes she has mastered overtime and can pull through a whole performance doing them, such as “희야“. Her vibrato at times may seem pushed but due to the excessive air pressure, it may cause her sound to be a little distorted. Nevertheless, she’s in complete control of her instrument within her supported range and sings more or less with the technique she pleases.

Having debuted just in 2012, Ailee has taken Korea over with her powerful vocals landing a spot as one of Korea’s strongest vocalists. For a further career in the music industry and for the sake of her vocal health, it’d be advisable that Ailee should work on further developing a healthier approach to her lower range with a more stable larynx position, as well as a lighter muscle coordination in her mix in order to improve ease, resonance and further explore the full potential of her upper mixed range as a Soprano. Additionally, developing her head voice further and experimenting more in the sixth octave would help her set her apart from other idol vocalists and follow the footsteps of vocalists such as Sohyang and Lena Park.


Ailee is not one to be labelled as a “Karaoke” singer. Taking note from the general idea of self expression and vocal freedom, Ailee follows the pattern of always showing creativity and never delivering vocal performances that are exactly the same as another. Her vocal performances are generally filled with new vocal melodies, playing with rhythm and vocal runs added by Ailee herself, notably being able to always deliver accurate and precise changes to her covers and own original song performances, such as performances like “If I Ain’t Got You“, “보여줄게“, “One Night Only“, “I Have Nothing” and “나 어떡해“.

Label (Type of Vocalist)

HV Vocalists: High Head Voice Vocalists

HB Vocalists: High Range Belters

ML Vocalists: Mid-Low Range Vocalists

MA Vocalists: Melismatic/Agile Vocalists

WR vocalists: Well Rounded Vocalists

Vocal Range Video(s)

Video by: Ahmin (Kitsunemale)

Video by: Edgar Cárdenas

Best Vocal Performance(s)

video by: MrSkinnyJeanz3

Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)


570 thoughts on “Ailee’s Vocal Analysis [Newly Updated]

  1. Hey Ahmin,

    In this fantastic duo performance:
    From 2:52 to 2:58 is he singing in falsetto?
    Also, how are the C#5 at 3:01 and the sustained C5? at 3:04? I think the C5 is resonant but pushed? Or is the larynx high?
    Finally, how about the E5 at 3:36? Once again it sounds resonant to me.. I feel like he’s a really good singer considering he’s not professional (unless of course his uniform is what a singer would wear in Korea :p)

    I’m getting into singing technique (in part thanks to you!) and am trying to learn to identify support from strain for starters haha



    1. He mixes with some ease and a lot of brightness but I hear a movement in the back of his throat where he forces his throat muscles to kind of bend inward, it’s kind of part of high larynx singing. So no, not resonant.


    1. It is slightly complex, not too elaborate but it isn’t easy either. The F5 was supported, could’ve been freer and placed more forward, but it carried support.


  2. Just wondering why you guys don’t mention resonance as one of her strengths cos in your overall analysis you say she usually sings with resonance and resonance seems to be a big deal. Is it cos her resonance isn’t super ringing?


    1. I simply just didn’t see your question. Strengths and weaknesses are just for us to organize the overall analysis, we don’t mention absolutely everything within the analysis in there. It’s not as deep as you think.


  3. Hi ahmin.. What is ailee’s rating when she’s still in 2012 and do you know about Nicole Scherzinger ..sorry if i ask this kind of question but what will you rate her if she is a kpop idol??


    1. Hi there. Why do you ask? I’m not entirely sure I know the answer, I never tried to rate 2012 Ailee. I have stated many times that I will not rate a vocalist without an analysis. I believe I have heard resonance from Nicole Scherzinger, some support up to D5, but inconsistencies and throatiness around D5/C#5 too, so I’m not sure.


    1. 0:32 G3 she’s bringing the support down to the G3’s 0:42 F#3 her support drops but it comes back around G3 and A3. Her voice is really not meant to sit down there as comfortably though. It shines a lot more as she sings higher. 1:18 she could open up more on the Aye vowel for the B4. 1:28 very nice crescendo, she closed her throat slightly at the end of the note but that’s okay. 1:47 nice B4’s, her head voice transitions throughout the chorus are very well executed and smooth dynamically. 2:37 D5 supported but that vowel could’ve been much more opened and freer. Nice transitions. 2:48 C5, supported but again her vowels lack openness. 3:45 D5 support is there, but she’s overly compressing. She doesn’t need as much pressure as she’s putting. 4:10 nice E5, then a key change right after. 4:40 very nice F5. 4:59 F5, there’s support but there’s also some coarseness which is caused by her perhaps condition and her habit of not loosening up on the tight grip she has on her vocal cords. Nothing new.


  4. Has Ailee always been a soprano? I dont really understand what a lyric or full soprano or tenor is. Ive searched on the internet about it and i still cant fanthom about it? Can you explain in a simple way please.


    1. It’s a specific sub type of the voice. Everyone has a voice type under the soprano umbrella or tenor or baritone. Baritone, tenor, soprano, mezzo, contralto, bass are the names for the main voice types for males and females. Yes Ailee has always been a soprano, voice types are like your hair color, it just is.


      1. oh I thought she was using a whistle to harmonize with the belt :))) I was even gonna ask you about the quality of the note
        But thanks anyway


  5. O que você tem a dizer sobre essa mais nova apresentação da Ailee no MAMA de hoje? O registro inferior dela parece tão agradável


    1. It’s been answered:
      “0:32 G3 she’s bringing the support down to the G3’s 0:42 F#3 her support drops but it comes back around G3 and A3. Her voice is really not meant to sit down there as comfortably though. It shines a lot more as she sings higher. 1:18 she could open up more on the Aye vowel for the B4. 1:28 very nice crescendo, she closed her throat slightly at the end of the note but that’s okay. 1:47 nice B4’s, her head voice transitions throughout the chorus are very well executed and smooth dynamically. 2:37 D5 supported but that vowel could’ve been much more opened and freer. Nice transitions. 2:48 C5, supported but again her vowels lack openness. 3:45 D5 support is there, but she’s overly compressing. She doesn’t need as much pressure as she’s putting. 4:10 nice E5, then a key change right after. 4:40 very nice F5. 4:59 F5, there’s support but there’s also some coarseness which is caused by her perhaps condition and her habit of not loosening up on the tight grip she has on her vocal cords. Nothing new.”


      1. Based on her sounding more relaxed and in good condition; would that be considered one of her better vocal performances?


    1. I’d say it’s pushed resonance, with pushed support. It could have bene better and more relaxed, the Eb5 at 8:25 is a lot more relaxed.


    1. She’s pushing a lot throughout. The quality of the camera is very bad too. She did hit one G5, as everyone singing this song in the original key would.


      1. When you say “pushing”, does that mean “straining”? i saw you said on one of your comments before that she is pushing but not straining so i’m kinda confused. Do you mean most notes in this performance are not supported? Thanks for your time!


  6. Hi Ahmin,

    Saw your response to her cover of tears. But there is a better quality video provided and it’s longer too:

    Can you add on to your original comment as to how she did in this performance? And pushing does not equal to straining, so does it mean her G5 wasn’t strained? That’s a good thing, right? What about her placement? And how do you think she did considering her other G5s? Also, correct me if I’m wrong. She doesn’t sound as chesty in this performance, at least to my untrained ear.


    1. I didn’t say the G5 was just pushed, it’s strained. The pushing is far more intense than the support behind it. I do not think she wasn’t chesty, she seemed chesty to me. Actually this fancam only shows me this is lip synced cause Ailee wasn’t doing a very convincing job at it.


  7. Sorry to ask but isn’t regression inevitable if she continues to sing with such a heavy chest-dominant mix & the level of pushing she regularly uses? I know she hasn’t regressed technically yet, but her ease seems to be declining already (her voice is massively more fatigued now than ever before & without much of a reason).


      1. Sorry to intrude the convo but what do you meam by regression? And does that mean higher use of chest voice can lead to regression? I get the image it isn’t a good thing but I don’t entirely understand it. Sorry for the dumb questions btw


      2. A higher use of chest voice is demanding to the voice but when done so by pushing like how Ailee does it, it can eventually be damaging to the voice.


  8. Hi, sorry i’m posting without a link. could you tell me how Ailee did covering Gummy’s song in the latest Happy Together ep? Specifically on the issue of harmonizing. And then she also harmonized when she sang with the girl who was singing the goblin ost in the karaoke room. Thanks.


    1. I am pretty sure someone asked about this recently cause I remember. Anyway they harmonized well, Ailee did and the song wasn’t challenging for her, so she did as fine as Ailee usually would.


      1. I pointed out that Ailee did harmionize on youtube and someone said Ailee basically just sang an octave higher, so it wasn’t anything to think much about. i mean, for me, harmonizing is not something any tom, dick or harry with no training can do but the person just came off insinuating that that is the case. What is your take on this?


  9. Hi. I’m curious about what you think on Ailee’s latest live performance of IWGTYLTFS at SMA? Can you let us know how she did? Here’s the link for your reference:

    At least in my untrained ears, I think she did pretty well and her voice seems to be in a really good condition. How are the high notes?


    1. She didn’t seem to be breathing as well as she could’ve been on the transitions to head voice, they lost some projection and placement. Otherwise, she was doing what she usually does. Running a bit out of breath here and there.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey Ahmin, do you feel like Ailee has regressed at all? I feel like in a lot of her recent performances the past few months her voice sounds very fatigued. She seems to have lost a good amount of ease in the upper belts. How can you tell the difference between vocal regression and just fatigue? Does constantly singing while fatigued damage her voice? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People tend to overreact just a tiny bit with fatigue thinking that it’s regression. So no, I don’t necessarily think she’s regressed. Regression will show because it goes beyond sounding tired. When you sound tired, you sound like you’re trying but your voice just won’t do what you want it to. When you’ve regressed, you can tell even if they sound in good shape that their vocal habits have changed and they’re consistently different. If you push your voice while you’re fatigued that can affect you negatively yes.


  11. The reason why ailee uses a chest-dominant mix, is it to achieve the volume she wants? Does headier mix has less volume?


    1. I just think it is her preference, but chest-dominant mix usually means more chest resonance and “fuller” sounding effects. She does know when to lighten up and go with balanced mix, and actually, she used to sing with a more balanced mix pre-debut, so it may be that after her debut, the training she received has something to do with that.


    1. Because you didn’t provide any specific spots for me to listen to, I’ll just answer generally. She did very well as expected. She still had her common issue of pushing, but she was still grounded in supported and had plenty of resonant moments. I also noticed that she was singing over her partner constantly, but that’s because her technique is significantly better than his. So she has more projection and really just sound going into the microphone. To someone people that come off as her showing off and not really “vibing” with him, but it would be very difficult for her to try and match him in terms of protection and output. I noticed that on the lower portions like when she used her lower register she was lowering her larynx and I don’t feel she was really supporting herself, but overall very nice performance.


  12. In this video, what’s happening with Ailee’s voice around 3:09? I got goosebumps immediately. She sounds really projected and open. Er. lol. Is this something she should do more often? And what would be a good way of describing this.


    1. It’s a head voice G5. You can check the height of the note using piano or tuning app on smartphone or online piano on computer, it will also help you train yourself to recognize notes easier.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Ahmin,

    Do you know how Ailee can have a vibrato here (1:06) despite being so airy with her tone?

    (I thought vibrato only happens when your vocal folds are properly closed)

    Thank you for your help!


  14. Is Ailee lowering her larynx throughout this performance? I can hear a considerable difference in tone between her live singing and the studio backing track. She sounds a lot “darker” and I’m wondering if she is forcing it and if it’s unhealthy. Thank you!


    1. She does it inconsistently usually actually. There are moments in which she’s pushing it down but it’s nothing new or worrisome imho.


    1. I thought it was going to be Ailee. It doesn’t sound open. It’s not too pushed, but it’s thin and the vocal cords aren’t free nor developed, plus the pitch was wavering.


      1. There was nothing new. Well placed resonant head voice E5 and F#5. She had resonance, her same kind of blocked up but supported resonance with too much chest on C5 up to E5. 4:11 onward, C#5’s, then climaxed E5’s and at the end D5 to C5.


  15. I’ve always wondered…what’s the cause of that “blocked up” resonance you mentioned in a previous comment? I love Ailee but that sound puts me off.


    1. It’s a two hour concert so by then I feel like she’d be pushing more, so naturally these F5’s ended up more on the strained side. The A5 is mixed yup.


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