D3 ~ D6 (3 octaves)
G#3 ~ Eb5/E5
G#3 ~ A5 (with head voice)
- Strongest vocalist in CSJH The Grace
- One of the best head voices amongst female idols in K-pop
- Consistently able to use a connected head voice
- Support in her head voice is present with good placement up to A5
- Mixed voice is consistently opened and resonant up to Eb5/E5
- Nasality is almost never present in her singing
- Vocal runs can be executed well at times
- Good placement is used with consistency
- Vocal runs are better executed in her head voice
- Often tries to sing runs that are far too complex for her
- Notes above A5 in head voice become shrill and strained
- Her mixed voice gets thinner and tighter as she sings above E5
- Lacks consistency on E5’s
- Some vowels present more issues than others, such as “Aye (애)”
- Tends to push her larynx down in her lower range often
- Pushing and tongue tension can be present in her mix
- Lower range lacks tone and development below G#3
- Lower register: Her least developed register. Her chest voice is generally supported down to A3 and G#3. Below that, she either becomes shaky and airy or pushes her larynx down to create tone.
- Mixed register: Improvement has been heard in this register throughout the years, especially with freedom and openness. Resonance is achieved consistently and support is always present up to Eb5/E5.
- Upper register: Consistently connected, it’s rare to find moments in which Lina would choose falsetto over using her head voice. Improvement has been heard in this register as well since her debut.
Ever since her debut, melismas have been a big part of her repertoire. In terms of note separation, Lina is able to execute proper vocal runs with the correct rhythmic bounce from one note to another when the runs are simple, such as trills, or slow. However, most of her runs are often done with too much emphasis on some notes and not others, so they can come out sounding either precise or very sloppy. With slower runs, she’s able to sing them a lot more smoothly and precisely, especially in her head voice. This can be heard in “Hurt” and “Stuck.” With quicker runs, they can be executed with precision if they’re a combination of trills. In “5cm“, she sings quick trills that linked together formed a longer melisma, but were ultimately a combination of a sustained F5 into an A5-A5-G5 trill where she held the G5 then went down to an F5-D5-F5 trill and ended on D5. This run was executed more smoothly than usual because, similar to her runs in “Doushite…“, it was very simple and sung in her head voice. In other occasions where she’s mostly doing runs in her mixed voice, her runs often sound a lot more rushed and less well thought-through, such as the runs in “그녀들의 수다“, “Hurt” and “My Everything.” Although some improvement has been made in her agility when comparing earlier performances of “My Everything” to more recent ones, Lina’s agility has still quite a bit of improvement left to be done.
Lina originally debuted as Lee Jiyeon in the duo IsakNJiyeon with one of the first Half-Korean idols, Kim Isak, in 2002. The duo didn’t go very far together and ultimately disbanded shortly after in 2004. Even at such a young age, Lina already showed a lot of potential vocally, which helped her land a spot as the main vocalist of CSJH The Grace, having the chance to debut again in 2005. Being by far the most trained vocalist of the group, Lina’s voice also stands out for being thicker and more womanly sounding than most female idol group members. Having a naturally feminine and light voice, with extra weight and power to it, Lina is most likely to be classified as a full lyric soprano. Despite the group’s inactivity in the last few years, Lina has been very active as a musical actress, starring in multiple musicals in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Her lower range is her least developed register. Compared to the rest of her voice, she’s not taken as much time out to really work on properly vocalizing and developing the correct muscle coordination when singing in the lower third octave in her chest voice. Support is present throughout her voice, so the true issue is the lack of strength in her thyroarytenoid muscles to handle singing in her lower range. A well-developed sound is present down to A3, as heard in “My Everything“, but whenever she goes down to the G3’s, her vocal cords become less connected, causing her to sound softer and less projected. Improvement has been noticeable in her lower range when contrasting G#3’s from earlier in her debut, such as in “The Sign“, to more recent G#3’s, such as in “하루만” and “Here.” A bad habit that she’s developed that might be a reason why she never truly developed her lower range is that she tends to push her larynx down whenever she feels she needs to project more. So instead of singing with a neutral larynx and relying solely on the strength of her vocal cords, she tends to strain her voice by pushing her larynx down with the back of her tongue. This can be heard as early as in the F#3’s in “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and D3’s in “Tell Me Baby” and “마지막 사랑“, and as recently as in the F3’s in “어머나 (Acapella)“, and F#3’s in “Here.”
Her mixed voice has always been the register she’s most comfortable with and where she’s sounded the strongest. With well-developed muscles that allow her to sing through her passaggi up until C#5, she’s always had just the right amount of balance between chest and head voice in her mix. Nasality was never truly an issue for her, as she’s always been able to sing with the correct jaw position and with a lifted soft palate. This can be heard through the production of resonance when she was a teen, as heard in her A4’s in “His Eye is on the Sparrow“, and Bb4’s in “One.” As she aged and her repertoire got more challenging, Lina started singing higher and higher, showing more issues with her technique. She was always able to produce resonance with consistency in her mixed voice, even as high as Eb5, as heard by the B4’s in “I’m Your Girl“, “Murder Ballad“, “Piranha“, C5’s in “한번더, OK?“, “사랑보다 깊은 상처“, “Hurt“, “마지막 사랑“, C#5’s in “그녀들의 수다“, “Renew“, D5’s in “그녀들의 수다“, “Sukoshi de ii Kara“, “Murder Ballad“and Eb5’s in “Maria” and “Festival.”
In the past she’d have the tendency to add some glottal tension to her upper belted notes, which caused her to sound less opened in the end, such as the E5 in “My Everything.” However, this seems to be an issue she’s been able to address. Currently, she’s able to produce resonance with a lot more freedom and brightness, as shown by her more recent take on the E5 of “My Everything.” Above E5, she’s never truly been able to show a good grasp of singing with a relaxed throat, neutral larynx and the correct engagement of breath support. As a result, she’d generally sound thinned out and tight above E5, such as the F5’s in “Boomerang“, F#5’s in “Catch the Shooting Star“, and G5 in her warm ups with Sunday.
Her head voice is also another register where noticeable improvement can be heard when comparing her singing in her teenage years to more recent performances. Earlier on, proper placement was present in her upper register and she would often sing with a somewhat supported head voice. Connection was present, even if her cricothyroid muscles still lacked enough strength in her head voice, causing her to sound somewhat weaker, as heard in “Stuck.” As she aged, she worked on improving her head voice which ended up showing a much better coordination of her head voice muscles. Throughout The Grace’s discography, Lina was much more commonly heard using her head voice instead of a falsetto. Her connection and support were very well engaged and she’d often show very well done transitions into her head voice from her mix, as heard in her F#5 in “Doushite…“, G5’s in “Got to Be Real“, “한번더, OK?“, “Rising Sun“, and A5’s in “Sweet Emotion” and “5cm.” It wasn’t often that Lina would sing above A5 in her head voice, which may be because she was aware that she didn’t have as much freedom in that range. In the few moments she did go above A5, it was possible to hear some tension and tightness in her head voice, causing her to sound shrill and unstable, as heard in the Bb5‘s, B5’s and D6 in “Got to be Real.”
Musicality-wise, Lina has never failed to show that even with her powerful vocals, it isn’t all about loudness in singing. In many of her musical performances, she’s shown that she’s able to transition smoothly into her head voice without issues and sing with a softer volume. She’s quite sensitive to the dynamic changes in songs and she’s able to deliver these changes well with her superior breath support and control. She can choose to sing with airiness or connecting her vocal cords at will, showing more skill and control of her instrument than vocalists who can only sing loudly or with airiness throughout their ranges with no connection to proper breath support.
As a vocalist, Lina should be respected as one of the best idol female vocalists to ever debut. She’s taken very good care of her instrument and developed it to a level much higher than the average female idol singer. She’s truly shown dedication and professionalism for her craft, setting a high bar for idol standards. Currently she’s the best female idol group vocalist to ever debut in SM Entertainment, in terms of technique. For future improvement, developing the rest of her mixed voice and head voice, and addressing her weaknesses in her agility and lower range would help better her overall technique. As for her career, more exposure from her on shows such as Immortal Song 2 or King of Mask Singer could help her establish herself as one of the top female idol vocalists in the industry currently as well.
CSJH The Grace debuted with the intention of being the female counterpart of SM’s male acapella group, TVXQ!, and as such, the group often sung a repertoire that was very harmony-heavy, often using chromatic scales in their harmonies. Lina often sung as the main vocalist so she took the lead lines and the lower harmonies of songs, sharing that with Dana and Stephanie. Meanwhile, Sunday would most often take the top part in harmonies. As an acapella unit, every member of The Grace is able to blend their voices well with each other, knowing how to sound like one unified voice. Musically, Lina doesn’t often try to add too much to her vocal performances, instead choosing to stay more within her comfort zone. The only big changes she makes are often added vocal runs, but at times she’s also courageous enough to add more melodic changes to songs, such as her B5 ~ D6 run in “Got to be Real“, even if the execution might not always work due to pitch and lack of support.
Vocal Range Video(s)
The C#6 is a D6.
Video by: Pedro_0508 (Gangertae)
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)
(originally analyzed by gangertae)