BESTie’s Vocal Analysis: U.Ji

U.Ji1

Vocal Range

C#3 ~ Bb5 (2 octaves, 4 notes and 1 semitone)

Supported Range

Eb3/E3 ~ C#5/D5

Eb3/E3 ~ F5 (with head voice)

Voice Type

Light Lyric Soprano

Strengths/Achievements

  • Potentially the most well developed lower range for an idol Soprano in K-pop
  • Strongest vocalist in BESTie
  • Lower range is her most developed register, with support down to E3
  • Falsetto is generally relaxed
  • Mixed voice is balanced to head-dominant and not pushed
  • Support is present up to D5
  • Resonance has been produced up to C5/C#5 consistently
  • Able to connect well with dynamics
  • Good sense of pitch
  • Able to use a connected head voice up to F5

Weaknesses

  • Vocal runs are sloppy and pitchy
  • Mixed voice above D5 becomes shrill with a high larynx
  • Inconsistency issues happen in the D5 range
  • Falsetto is mostly used, head voice is not usually connected
  • Mixed voice can lack depth in tone due to the lack of chest resonance
  • Above C5/C#5 she sound too bright and whiny
  • Resonance can be inconsistency in the C#5/D5 range
  • Can lose stamina easily

Registers

  • Lower register: Most developed register by far. Possesses a clean and connected vocal approach, notes are generally hit with ease and support is present down to Eb3/E3. Below Eb3 the voice loses volume but the tone is present down to C#3.
  • Mixed register: Supported and relaxed, little to no tension is present in her voice. The throat generally lacks openness and the mixing is quite heady, so the overall sound of her voice lacks a lower and rounder depth in the 5th octave. Resonance is consistent in the fourth octave. Above D5, the larynx is raised and the voice becomes thin and strained.
  • Upper register: Although it may be her least explored and developed register, she still has shown improvement in this area of her voice recently with more consistency in producing a connected head voice. It’s still hard to know how much higher she may be able to take her head voice, but F5 seems to be the area where she still shows comfort.

Agility

Her vocal agility is one of her weakest areas and quite an overdone technique. Although U.ji uses a very light and bright vocal approach which enables a much more flexible instrument in her voice, she never seems to have taken the care to truly learn how to sing each separate individual note at a time and eventually speed up the tempo of her runs. Instead she completely skipped over this process and resulted in her runs being mostly sloppy and pitchy. Not only that, but U.ji also tends to over sing vocal runs and instead of avoiding them or simplifying them in her vocal performances, she tries to sing really complex vocal runs without the proper skill level to properly execute them. Examples include her performances of “기억상실“, “Best Thing I Never Had“, “If I Were A Boy“, “I Have Nothing” and “Listen“.

Overall analysis

Debuting in 2012 as the main vocalist in EXID, then taking a break from the music industry and redebuting in 2013 as the main vocalist of BESTie, one can say U.Ji hasn’t had the best luck to showcase her vocal ability. However so, one should also never underestimate the true vocal potential of U.Ji. She has proven from time and time that she should be recognized for her vocal power and voice development over the years. Her voice is particularly bright and has a very feminine sound, light in tone and even though her lower range may be her best register, her true voice’s natural range shines more in the range of a Light Lyric Soprano.

Her lower range possesses one of the most well supported and projected sounds for idol Sopranos. Her lower range is not only her own personally most developed register, it is also arguably the most well supported lower range for a K-pop Soprano. This wasn’t always the case, as shown in older covers where her lower range lacked true depth and support and would vanish when trying to sing in the lower third octave, such as the Eb3 in “Open Arms“. Not only was her lower range less developed, it showed inconsistencies, such as her lowering her larynx in the F#3’s in performances of “Best Thing I Never Had” and at other times showing support in the same exact song or in “When You Believe“. More recently, she has shown that her support down to F#3 is pretty consistent, such as the G3’s in “Listen” and her F#3’s in “If I Were A Boy” and “기억상실“. Even more so, U.Ji has proven that she can keep that consistency in support even down to Eb3/E3, showing vast improvement in “거위의 꿈“. Even so the lower parts of her range still seem to lack full support and at times she might lower her larynx in order to stay in the lower end of the third octave, even though her tone is always kept to the bottom of her lower range, such as the C#3’s in “거위의 꿈”  and “Halo“, and the D3 in “혼자만의 사랑“. The consistency of her lower range below F#3 may still be argued due to her not often venturing into that range in her repertoire.

Her mixed voice may be only somewhat behind her lower range in terms of development, as it has always been a part of her voice with ease, resonance and support. U.Ji is one of the few female idol vocalists who doesn’t try to overcompensate power by adding multiple factors that are generally related to tension in order to create a “bigger” sound to her voice, namely lowering her larynx, pushing too much chest voice in her mixed voice and tightening up her tongue and throat. Instead, U.ji’s mixed voice is generally balanced with a certain degree of head dominance and is not pushed to achieve more volume. Resonance and an open throat are very consistent within the fourth octave range, such as the Bb4’s early on in her range like “Open Arms“, or more recently in “Thank You Very Much” and “One Night Only“.

That resonance generally becomes less consistent even though support is still present, the head-dominance in her mixed makes the overall tone of her voice lack depth and bass qualities, becomes more brassy and less rounded. This generally minimizes resonance, but her support is nonetheless present even if a slight whiny quality may exist in her mixed voice, such as the C5’s in “Let It Go“, “별들에게 물어 봐“, “난 별“, “Listen“, C#5’s in “A Whole New World“, “Listen (on After School Club)“, “I’m So Into You“, “거위의 꿈” and the D5’s in “Listen (live on Radio)” and “숨소리“. However, as soon as she ascends above D5, her voice starts to become tight and her larynx raises, causing her to strain her voice acquiring a more thin and shrill sound on her voice, such as the Eb5’s in “뻐꾸기 둥지위로 날아간 새“, the E5’s in “보고 싶은 얼굴” and “Dream Girls“, the F#5 in “Whoz That Girl” and the up to her highest mix, G5 in “Excuse Me“.

Her head voice may be her least developed register, but it still is another register where she’s been able to show support and improvement over the years. Compared to her earlier years of using a more disconnected falsetto, U.Ji has come a long way and has many times recently shown that she is able to connect her vocal cords properly to produce a head voice with tone and good placement, such as the B4 in “Kissing U“, C#5 in “기억상실“, E5 in “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Eb5 ~ F5 in “숨소리“. Quite a contrast from the earlier days falsetto she used to resort to, such as the C#5 in “When You Believe“, F#5 in “Best Thing I Never Had“. The true limit of her head voice is still in question and there is a lack of material to be able to precisely pinpoint where her head voice range and support ends. Even then it is possible to assume that due to it’s lack of volume, resonance and usage, she may lack confidence and might be aware that her head voice isn’t as developed as the rest of her voice.

As a skilled vocalist, U.ji is not one to lack in terms of musicality. She is able to vocally travel through sings with the story telling ability of a veteran, easily changing her tone and volume output to fully showcase the true essence of a song’s lyrical content. Even then, there are things that could be improved in this area such as her tendency to overly use vocal runs that are often too pitchy and uncontrolled to accentuate the musicality of a song. Another stylistic approach often overused by her is her tendency to growl throughout songs a little too often. Lastly her lack of chest resonance makes her voice lack the true power and necessary punch to evoke the full potential of her volume output.

As a vocalist, it is sad to see that U.ji isn’t recognize for her vocal skill as much as she truly deserves to. She has not had enough chances to showcase the full potential of her voice, but the lack of chances didn’t change the fact that she was able to show she’s a true vocalist and professional who’s keen on improving her craft and bettering herself overtime. To fully impress her audience, creating a more opened, balanced and full sound in her mixed voice would make her truly stand out as a vocalist in the K-pop industry. One can only hope that given the right time, U.ji will have more chances to show her full potential as a vocalist, performer and artist. As of now, however, U.ji’s main priority should be to keep improving her resonance, which seems to be a very likely guess considering her already showcased improvement over the period of her career.

Musicianship

Unlike many other Korean vocalists, U.Ji is a little more daring and takes risks when singing covers of songs. She does not try to deviate too far from the original compositions of songs or to sing with very different arrangements of original songs. However she does try to add her own vocal changes, some melodic ideas are added to her vocal covers and apart from her vocal runs, they’re usually quite pitch accurate, such as in “숨소리“.

Rating

Proficient Vocalist

Vocal Range Video(s)

Video by: Hawaiipups and kpopvocalists

Video by: Viet Tien

Best Vocal Performance(s)

Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)

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About ahmin3

kitsunemale from YouTube, AhMin33 from Twitter and Ahmin from OneHallyu! https://www.youtube.com/user/KitsuneMale

124 thoughts on “BESTie’s Vocal Analysis: U.Ji

  1. Wow you werent kidding when you said she’s better than solji damn (competent to good??)…keeping my eye on U.ji from now on, obviously i’ve slept on her too much

    Do you know any other idol sopranos with well developed lower ranges btw?

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    1. Well down to E3 or Eb3? Not really but quite a couple have support down to F#3/G3, like Jessica, Tiffany, Seohyun, Hyorin, Soyou, Eunji, Luna, Jimin, Yeeun, Wendy..and some down to F3 like BoA and ..lol Kim Boa, didn’t realize they had the same name though Kim Boa being a Soprano is still under discussion.

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      1. Soyeon never had any supported F#3 and her lower range is not really that good either. All that she has for now is her mixed range which is strong enough to keep a decent spot in the Average category.

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      1. somehow, there’s part in my heart saddening, since she makes seohyun and taeyeon sound weak T.T
        by saying she had little to no chance to showcase her ability, do you mean like join in immortal song, masked singer, or perhaps solo?
        one more thing, how about the rest member? is the gap too big?

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      2. No no Taeyeon has a somewhat better head voice and a more resonance, just maybe not as much consistency. The biggest difference is definitely the lower range. By little to no chance I mean I didn’t have a lot of material to work with for the analysis, not as much as I’d like. Yes the rest of the members are considerably below U.Ji.

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      3. ah, so that’s how it is. I’m a big fan of taeyeon and seohyun so maybe a little bit biased. sorry for that ^^
        thanks for quick reply, this is another great job of you guys. now i can see how she could be rated competent to good.
        i hope that she could showcase her talent more. guess i have to hear her singing more often haha

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  2. at first I thought she was Competent but damn she does have a head voice. I was surprised when hearing her C#3, though it was a bit airy and somewhat like she tried to reach that as I heard, it maintained tone, which is already a rare thing for those who’ve reached this part.

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      1. Eunji was rated as competent to good before hers was taken down for update, so I guess we’ll see once it gets put back up!

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  3. I knew she was good but not this good. After seeing what little videos you have on her (a shame honestly) it’s very obvious that she’s one killer vocalist. She’s truly a powerhouse and her lower notes are no joke. I hope she gets more recognition along with the other underrated vocalists out there like many of the underrated vocalists on this page, namely Luna.

    On another note. I was curious if there were any ‘altos’ in k-pop, or are all the female vocalists mainly sopranos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amongst idols? Most females are Sopranos, with a few mezzo sopranos. I do not know of any contraltos who are idols, but there’s a contralto from a band called Dear Cloud, her name is Nine9.

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      1. cool cool. It would make sense that most female idols are sopranos or at the very least mezzo’s since higher notes are more impressive in a pop setting, goes for guys too. I really did wish that the lower voices would get some love as well. Including the Baritones in kpop.

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  4. YAS! Uji! Love her lol XD
    Wow her lower range is almost as supported as Lena Park 🙂
    btw do you know how low does Hyeyeon support? or maybe specifically from the Goose’s Dream video?

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    1. She’s a light Lyric Soprano with a supported range of F#3-Bb4/B4 or maybe just Bb4 I forget something around there. She sings with fairly airy vocals and doesn’t have a good support foundation outside of her area having quite about of jaw tension with a heady mix. Her runs at generally controlled with her jaw so the true freedom isn’t there and the pitch can be messy. Her head register is just a pushed register along with her whistle. Her pitch in general isn’t bad. She falls in the average to above average area I believe..lol

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      1. We don’t have much of an opinion on her. From what I’ve heard she’s a singer-songwriter, not an example of a vocalist. She does sing well within her own range, seems average.

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    2. I’ll copy paste something I’ve wrote to someone before:
      “Ariana Grande
      D3 ~ E7

      Very considerable decline in vocal technique throughout the years. When she was 14 resonance, good placement and stable support were present up to about C5/C#5 and perhaps even higher as she aged, but throughout her days as a cast member of Victorious, she used a very shouty, nasally placed and uneven chest-dominant mixed voice, with lots of a swallowed tongue tension. This has been improved over the years, with considerable amount of support being brought back up into her mix and better tongue placement and mixing technique. However her voice still shows issues with tongue tension and nasality above B4, inconsistencies with support and placement and a high larynx above D5/Eb5. Support is only present up to B4 and down to F#3, however due to her nasality the support is the only thing that allows the voice to be well projected, lacking the full resonance in her chest voice and good placement. Her head voice is inconsistent and she mostly uses a falsetto, which often travels into the sixth octave instead of her whistle register, causing a lot of vocal strain. Often sings outside her supported range although possessing an extremely consistent high mixed range.

      Rating: Average or Average to Above Average Vocalist”

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      1. Recently I am not sure though if it’s consistent. The support is there but then she’s nasal and it doesn’t project too well.

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      2. It’s not, it lacks detail and accuracy. It fails to mention where she strains, it fails to mention that she truly strains actually, it makes it seem like she doesn’t.

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  5. Ahmin, don’t overwork yourself, hyung. You’ve been dropping analyses left and right like it’s early christmas. Take care of yourself, ok? BTW, nice ailee cover, lots of resonance. did you hit a resonant G4 or was it an F4? I forgot which one it was.

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    1. I laughed at the early christmas comparison LOLOL I’m okay thank you, I’ve been more focused with the blog and work lately so it’s enjoyable for me ^ ^ Wait what Ailee cover? ._.

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  6. Omg this morning I was listening to her sing and I just had a passing thought that “U.ji is definitely at least a competent vocalist” and then I saw this! Haha great analysis as always! U.ji and Luna make me feel so sad though, I find their voices truly beautiful but they’re so underrated, although maybe not as much after King of Masked Singer. Thank you for your hard work!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I KNEW IT, I KNNNNNNNEEEEEEW SHE WAS COMPETENT TO GOOD! I TOOOOOOLLLLD YOU!!!!!!!!!! YOU WERE DOUBTING AND SAID COMPETENT TO BE SAFE BUT NO SHE IS COMPETENT TO GOOD INDEED!!!!!!
    Sorry for that out range lol but I gotta say….Dude you are on top of things. Anaylsis after anaylsis after analysis. Great job! I am almost about to cry on how underrated she is and I’m glad you pointed that out. The world needs more U.Ji! It’s not even her voice it’s her dancing, apperence and everything!!! I hope she becomes as good as Beyonce because she sounds like Beyonce to me

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She does sound a bit like Beyonce to me too! I didn’t think she would be a light lyric soprano. Could her classification be arguable?

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      1. I don’t think she’s a full lyric, just look at her vocal weight and tone, it’s just as youthful and girly as the majority of K-Sopranos 😀 you can say that to those who’s kinda in between Light and Full Lyric like Solji and JeA though 🙂

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  8. I thought she’d be just competent but its great shes higher:D
    I personally think shes too overrated
    after i heard her sing “let it go” I was shocked how well she did and knew she’d be one of the best kpop singers<3
    how can she improve to get to "good"?

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    1. She has issues with her mixing not being well rounded enough, it lacks chest resonance and overall resonance in general. So that’s a big reason she’s not that high, also Eb5 would help.

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  9. One interesting thing (to me at least) is that apparently she sang the high notes in Hyuna’s Bubble Pop when she was a trainee (which made sense since it didn’t sound like Hyuna)

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      1. Cause she doesn’t use her head voice often enough for us to know. Also her mix may be heady but that doesn’t mean she’s got the right muscle memory working in her head voice.

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    1. It’s okay actually her vocals seem to have improved so let’s look forward to pandayeus analysis on Taeyeon that will come out soon after the Eunji analysis. Also let’s wait for live performances as well!

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      1. Yay that’s great 🙂 I’m glad she is improving, also what are your thoughts on her falsetto (If you don’t mind me asking)? She is using it a lot in this song and I actually think it’s quite nice, just wanted an expert’s opinion as well

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      2. I believe this is the song where she peaks on Bb5. It sounds like it could be a connected head voice but it’s strained.

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  10. The other week I finally decided to listen to some of BESTie’s songs and right away they reminded me of SiStar, especially in my favorite song of theirs “Love Options” (even my friend who loves both groups knew who I associated each member with without me giving any clues, haha). Anyways, as a whole, who would you say is stronger vocally? I know you said Hyorin’s slightly better than U.Ji while the rest of BESTie is much lower than her just like how Soyou and Dasom are no where near as good as Hyorin.

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      1. Ahh okay, from what I can tell, Hyeyeon seems like the 2nd best and she’s the one who reminds me of SoYou (but with a more solid tone).

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      1. Haha, I know right? From being 4 members, to the outfits, choreography, vibe of their music videos, even U.Ji’s voice sometimes sounds similar to Hyorin’s. They should do a video together.

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      2. LOL exactly. I told Haruko and Matty that and they said I’m the only one who hears that xD So yay you hear Hyorin in U.Ji xD

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    1. Her runs are really pitchy. That’s something she needs to really work if she’s going to sing an R&B song like this. Her C#3 has tone, she’s one of the few never to avoid that C#3. Her C#5’s were mostly supported. She used her head voice more here, that was nice. 2:53 nice alteration to the melody but strained. Lots of changes in the last chorus, but strained. 4:00 again nice change but really strained. F#3’s were good, this was just her usual.

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  11. Is hyeyeon getting an analysis, … she should right with bestie being almost the same as sistar and since soyu has her own, but if she is not is she better than soyu????

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  12. Damn do you know she’s going on a singing show called Girls Spirit? It’s a competition among female idols… God I hope she gets recognized… It’s kinda unfair for the other girls really :)))

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    1. The range is fairly easy on the low end. It only goes down to G3, which she is handling with a lot of ease. 1:14 it had resonance, before she held back. 1:18 D5 with support, a bit of tension. She keeps pulling back and using falsetto, which is just her interpretation of the song. 2:21 resonant A4, now she’s going for it. 2:31 supported D5’s. 2:39 somewhat tight D5’s. Her D5’s always carry support, but they lack openness. I’m not sure I’d say it’s one of her best.

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  13. why did you move her from competent to good to just competent? i don’t think her technique has changed at all from when you analyzed her, and she hasn’t had much material since then to really change her analysis?

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  14. although it is unfortunate that she was initially mis-rated, its very nice to see that you guys are constantly going over these analyses and idols and their material,performances, capabilities etc so much so that you actually change ratings and stuff (for whatever reason, regression, improvement, misrating etc) it shows your hard work and dedication, keep up the good work. Hopefully she’ll improve and really earn her old rating back

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you mean she doesn’t open her throat enough? Chen and Wendy do that too right? Isn’t that also the reason Wndy can’t produce resistance.

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      2. Mhmm no Chen doesn’t do that, his resonance is opened and full. Wendy also doesn’t do that, her issue is placement but she’s not tight. U.Ji sounds tight.

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      3. (I should start checking my emails before I answer.)Thank you and where does Wendy place her voice because I don’t think she’s ever nasal. Like in her throat or something? I had another question about register development but it’s kind of long so idk.

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      4. She just doesn’t place it forward enough in her mask and chest and her throat isn’t opened enough but it’s not tight. It’s not in her throat. You can ask I’ll reply later.

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      5. Okay i get it now. My question was mainly where you would consider a register somewhat developed and well developed and such. Like if a tenor can support to down to C3 is that well developed. C3 isn’t that low for any male if I’m not mistaken but still getting support down there can be difficult I think. For the mixed register if they could support up to like G#4 like higher than their first passagio and produce resonant consistently does that mean they have a well developed mixed register and if they can’t support higher than F#4 with no resonance that would be somewhat developed or slightly developedand for the upper register is being able to support up to G5 in head voice would be considered well developed right? I’m using the tenor voice by random btw. I know a lot of stuff such as whether they have tension in their supported ranges and how extensive it is come into play about the development of their registers but just taking about support. If this is confusing sorry but it’s just trying to learn what’s acceptable or exceptional or just bad.

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      6. Well developed is a subjective general unspecific way of describing things so don’t worry about what it means, just think of the context in which it is said. Don’t worry those terms are too vague anyway.

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      7. Thanks I think i overthink simple things idk why. Do you know any songs in a narrow range that don’t go much higher than A4 for very long and doesn’t go lower than B2 but mostly stays in the upper third octave because I find out why my pitch is so awful.

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      8. Thank you for answering all of my questions. I really appreciate it and I’ll try to learn the Korean and show it to you tomorrow or later thanks again. Also is he a baritone.

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      9. Wait i know this song every idol ever sang this lol. Is he a baritone or a lazy tenor lol because he has a really light voice

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      10. It’s probably because I didn’t warm up but that chorus is high thank you though I’ll try both and send whichever one sounds less worse.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I did notice that her strengths & supported range matches the criteria for a competent soprano but I assumed her lower range gave her a slight edge over the others. Sad to know her rating was off :/ but hey she can always improve.

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  16. Hi there :3

    So recently Uji’s had a string of lives because of the show Girl Spirit (Bohyung’s on there too) and I was wondering if you’ve seen them/if you’d consider them her better performances? (She did EXO’s ‘Love Me Right’, ‘Twinkle’ + ‘Something’ with Kei (Lovelyz), and H.O.T.’s ‘Candy’ with Woohyuk. I know you already saw ‘I Have Nothing’ so I didn’t mention it above.)

    The way things are going though I think she might not make it as a finalist in Team B… Based on the average ranks I think it’ll be Bohyung (SPICA) and Sojung (from Ladies’ Code).. These three are leading in Team B but if you average their ranks, you get 1.75 for Sojung, 2 for Bohyung, and 2.25 for Uji (she didn’t place in top three in the recent show she participated in). Would you consider her the best vocalist out of these three (I know you rated Bohyung as above average)?? Sorry this got a bit lengthy;;;

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    1. I watched Twinkle + Something as well when I was writing Kei’s vocal analysis as well. Well Above Average is rated below Competent, so yes. I didn’t really watch many but the ones I did, I wouldn’t necessarily call them her best vocal performance. U.Ji is the vocalist in this show with the best technique, followed by Bohyung then OMG’s Seunghee.

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    1. It was very good. 2:31 resonant A4 2:39 supported D5 3:02 resonant C5 3:07 resonant Bb4 and 3:10 and 3:34 resonant C5 3:41 supported D5 but with some tension 3:49 resonant C5 and Bb4. 3:53 well placed head voice F5, with a quick G5. It was one of her best vocal performances ever in her mix, so it’s already been added to her best vocal performances list even before you posted the question.

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  17. How did she do here?
    Was she resonant in the beginning? What about the runs, do you hear any improvement in this part of her voice??

    I’m so rooting for her omg

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    1. What runs? She didn’t really do runs, she was sliding or hitting one note repeatedly. She didn’t really do runs. I’ve not heard U.Ji sustaining resonant D5’s before, the resonance up there is inconsistent but the support was there even if she was tightening her throat too much. The F5’s were just high larynx. She did hit G3 and G5, she made it a two octave song. Lol

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    1. Some nice C#5’s in her mixed voice, some nice F#3’s and G#3’s in the verses, airy head voice. Nothing new really, it’s a nice performance.

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    1. 0:35 supported G3 3:48 supported D5, she was singing within this range the whole time I believe which is well within her supported range. She lacks openness, which isn’t new. She lacks openness and tends to push a bit too much but the support is there throughout. There’s nothing new about this performance really.

      Like

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