A2 ~ G#5 (2 Octaves, 5 notes & 1 semitone)
F3 ~ G#4/A4
- Mixed voice projects well with good support up to A4
- Good rhythmic flow and note separation in her runs
- Support is present in her lower range down to F3
- Tone is kept even down to her lowest note
- Currently the lowest known range for a female idol in K-pop
- Knows her voice and the range she’s most comfortable in
- Falsetto transitions are done well in pitch
- Good placement can be present from E4 ~ G#4/A4
- Gets throaty really early on in range around Bb4
- Loses power above A4, mixed voice is very light and thin
- Vocal runs can lack in accuracy with pitch
- Sings with a husky throaty tone
- Airiness present below F3
- Unable to sing with a head voice, only uses a throaty falsetto
- Sometimes overcompensates lack of support by pushing with her throat
- Lacks vocal stamina
- Uneven instrument outside her supported range
- Lower register: Her lower range is the most developed part of Boa’s range. With tone even down to her lowest note and the ability to project well below her supported range, she’s able to vocalize with clear support down to F3.
- Mixed register: Her mixed voice is strong and possesses stability in support up to A4, but quickly becomes thinned out and pushed out of her throat anywhere above that. It lacks brightness in tone.
- Upper register: Under explored register. Mostly sings with a throaty falsetto, transitions are generally well done and pitch is controlled.
With a style that mostly resembles soul and rock music, Boa shows that she’s a vocalist who has been influenced by R&B music to a certain degree. With such an influence, she is able to show that she has the necessary care to learn at least the basics of vocal agility, being able to sing through vocal runs with a certain degree of accuracy. She has shown, from time to time, that she can sing simple slower and mid tempo vocal runs without too much issue, being able to create the correct rhythmic “bounce” through the notes, as heard in “라구요“, “When I Was Your Man” and “Take A Bow“. However, if runs are to get somewhat longer, more complex or faster, she seems to have difficulty properly separating each individual note from one another, as heard in “뻔한 멜로디“.
Debuting in 2012 as a lead vocalist from girl group SPICA, a very vocally focused acapella group, Kim Boa was no stranger to vocal harmonies and keeping her sound controlled in a group. Having provided backing vocals and harmonies for many songs prior to her debut, as well as coaching various idols such as Infinite, Kara and Rainbow, Kim Boa was experienced in knowing what kind of sound one should go for in their singing in order to succeed. Stylistically she possesses a very husky and deeper tone than most other females in K-pop, most likely due to her lower range and weightier timbre that would make her a rare breed amongst female idols, most likely being classified as a lyric mezzo-soprano.
The lower part of her chest voice is possibly the most developed part of her range and arguably the most extensive lower range for a female idol in K-pop. Rivaling many males with extension of her lower range, she is able to venture into the second octave and sing down to A2 while still keeping vocal tone. Although very extensive in range, the support in her lower range sees quite a gap away from A2. What for most females would be mostly just air, Boa is able to keep good forward tone and support in her lower range down to F3, as heard in the G#3’s in “Take A Bow“, G3’s in “Stand Up For Love“, F#3’s in “라구요” and F3’s in “Tonight” and “Halo“, and still being able to project and keep her vocal cords connected enough to project below F3, such as the E3’s in “Breakaway” and “Just Give Me A Reason“, D3’s in “라구요” and C#3’s in “라구요“. Below F3, her range generally becomes less connected with more airiness in tone as well as less support even though tone is present true support is lost.
Her mixed voice is the one part of her voice that although somewhat extensive in range, being able to peak at F5, still shows issues with evenness in tone and development. As a vocalist, one’s aim should be to even out their instrument from bottom to top in order to keep their vocal tones full and connected throughout their ranges. In most cases for untrained vocalists, their voices sound like 3 completely different voices when comparing their lower ranges, mixed ranges and upper ranges. In Boa’s case, the gap in her supported range and upper mixed range are very noticeable. She’s able to produce a full, weighty and husky tone from F3 ~ A4 without much problem, being able to support her voice well, control her pitch, dynamics and tone production well while not losing the natural timbre and deepness in her voice, as heard with the G4’s in “라구요“, G#4’s in “The Cup Song“, and A4’s in “Music Is My Life,” and “Say Something“, where even resonance can at times be produced. However as soon as she sings anywhere above A4, her voice becomes quickly thinned out and powerless, sounding almost as though she struggles to even sing up in a range higher than A4. The tone mostly becomes throaty and she often pushes her voice out with her throat in order to project. This is due to a lack of proper breath support and power to handle the higher passages in songs. This is mostly caused by the lack of brightness and development of her head voice muscles in her mix and the fact that her throat closes too much around her larynx, creating a lot of tension. This can be heard in the Bb4’s in “You Don’t Love Me“, “누구없소“, “When I Was Your Man” and “Tonight“, B4’s in “Right Here“, “When You Believe” and “Just Give Me A Reason“, the C5’s in “이씨 니가 시키는 대로 내가 다 할 줄 아나” and the D5’s in “It’s Raining Men“.
Her falsetto is the most under-explored and underdeveloped part of her voice. She doesn’t often try to sing very high in her falsetto and doesn’t even sing songs that would require her to sing much higher than her comfortable range in falsetto. For not being able to use a connected head voice, one can say she has an underdeveloped upper range. Not only that, the tone she produces in her upper range is mostly and airy and somewhat throaty falsetto, usually slightly pushed out and very thin in tone quality, lacking character and power. Fortunately, she is in control of this part of her range regardless of its development and although unable to support her upper range, she is able to transition into her falsetto without losing the control of her pitch.
The best aspect of Boa singing is that she has such a well developed lower part of her range, that despite being unable to handle high songs with challenging parts, she is able to comfortable sing songs a few keys lower range and knows exactly what keys and songs best suit her voice. For that, she is able to mask away many of her weaknesses and allow only her strengths to be showcased. She even uses the natural huskiness of her voice and the vocal strain present in the upper part of the fourth octave as an edge to her vocal performances.
If one is to put technique aside, SPICA is mostly a group not known for its individual vocalists but instead their strong vocal unit as a harmony acapella group. Each member is able to handle different ranges and is able to help each other shine the best when singing together. As such, they often allow each other to mask each other’s weaknesses through their well rehearsed and divided lines in their vocal performances. For her own personal improvement, developing a true head voice, stronger breath support and exploring a brighter approach to her mixed voice in order to create more power and tone above A4 could help further develop the full potential of Boa’s range and help her shine more as a soloist as well.
Stylistically and musically Kim Boa’s strongest traits lie in her ability to create vocal performances that lie very close to a more soulful genre of music. Instead of relying on complicated runs and added melodic lines to her covers, she stays true to the melody and uses her husky tone to add character to her performances. She doesn’t try to risk too much when it comes to her solo performances. She shows the care and precision with pitch, even more so with the very well rehearsed acapella re-editions performed by SPICA, such as “No Diggity” and “The Cup Song“. She’s also good at harmonizing with duet partners, being in control of her tone and being able to blend well, such as in “Lucky“.
Vocal Range Video(s)
Video by: Viettien81212
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)