E3 ~ G#6 (3 octaves and 2 notes)
Bb3 ~ Bb4/B4
- Strongest vocalist in Lovelyz
- Support is consistent throughout her mid range
- Mixed voice remains supported up to Bb4/B4
- Mixing is very balanced and healthy
- Able to use a connected head voice
- Very good harmonization and blending skills
- Able to support her lower range down to Bb3
- Head voice produced up to E5
- Issues with the aye vowel
- Throat closes above B4
- High larynx in the fifth octave
- Wobbly vibrato
- Resonance is never produced
- Head voice lacks development and support
- Lower range below Bb3 is very underdeveloped and airy
- Falsetto tends to be used only above E5
- Lower register: By far her least developed register. She’s unable to maintain proper support in her chest voice below Bb3. Her muscles lack development and tone quality is mostly airy and quiet.
- Mixed register: Her mixed voice is mostly consistent in support up to Bb4/B4. Above B4 she tends to sound shouty and uneven, either with a lot of head-dominance or with too much chestiness.
- Upper register: Able to use a head voice and a falsetto at will, but her head voice lacks development. The support in her head voice has yet to be discovered.
In general this area of her singing isn’t very explored. For a vocalist to have agility, they need to be able to sing through many different notes within an opened vowel sound without any consonants in the middle. This requires a lot of control of the movement of the vocal cords in order to have very precise and centered pitch, as well as smooth rhythm and flow. Kei seems to not have developed this kind of skill and it is rare for her to even attempt runs in her vocal performances. The very few times she’s been known to attempt vocal runs, it’s possible to hear that she hasn’t developed the correct muscle coordination in her vocal cords yet, making her runs sound more like slides instead of truly smooth and articulate melismas. Examples include the runs in “I’m in Love“, “야생화“, “영동 부르스” and “사랑의 바테리.”
Kei debuted in late 2014 as the main vocalist of Lovelyz under Woolim Entertainment. Through her promotions as a member of Lovelyz, she’s been able to showcase that out of all the members, she’s the one member with the most developed technique. She is the one member with the best sense of breath support, as well as the one who sings with the healthiest approach overall. Her voice is very light and bright in tone, very feminine and quite delicate overall. Her lightness, as well as the high placement of her range would most likely have her classified as a light lyric soprano.
The lower portion of her chest voice is noticeably her least developed and explored register. Most of the songs she sings stay within a fairly mid to high range and she doesn’t often sing below A3 for most of her vocal performances. The few times she’s done so, one can hear the lack of development of her chest voice muscles in that range. Her vocal cords haven’t been stretched low enough with the proper amount of breath support, so whenever she sings below Bb3, she tends to become airy and lose projection almost completely. This is caused by her vocal cords not coming fully together and so too much air passes through so there’s a lack of tone in her lower chest voice. Examples of this include the A3’s in “야생화“, the G#3’s in “영동 부르스“, “Rain“, the G3 in “야생화“, and the E3’s in “금요일에 만나요” and “그대와 나, 설레임.”
Her mixed voice is fairly well developed technically speaking within her comfort range. She’s able to sing with a clean approach in her mixed voice and with support up to Bb4. Kei has learned how to support her voice with a light and more head-dominant mixed voice, where she’s able to stay relaxed and fairly opened. This can be heard on many of her phrased A4’s and Bb4’s, such as in “Beat It!“, “Atlantis Princess“, “야생화“, “Title” and “If I Ain’t Got You.” Occasionally she shows some signs of support even up to B4 and C5, as heard in “Reflection” and “Word Up“, but that’s not something she’s able to do consistently. Technically speaking, having a more head dominant mixed voice reduces the strain and pushing on the vocal cords overall because of the lack of weight a vocalist carries when singing higher, but that’s not always the case with Kei.
When singing with more power, Kei tends to use an overly excessive push of tension from her throat muscles while using more chest in her mixed voice. The result is more powerful and louder belted notes, but with a lot of strain that causes them to sound fairly shouty and tense. This happens mostly because instead of allowing her voice to open up, while maintaining a relaxed throat, she uses too much air pressure to push her voice out. This glottal tension accompanied by a high larynx causes her to strain in her mix, as heard in the B4’s in “We’re Never Ever Getting Back Together“, “나의 지구“, C5’s and C#5’s in “Atlantis Princess“, C#5’s in “Kiss“, “사랑의 바테리” and D5’s in “Word Up“, as well as the C5, C#5 to D5 climax in “야생화.” This kind of vocal strain can also be heard with less intensity when she sings in her mix with less chestiness, as she pushes less but her throat and swallowing muscles still close around her larynx as it raises, heard on her C5’s in “Rain“, Eb5’s in “야생화“, “A-Choo“, “내 남자친구에게“, and E5’s in “Destiny.”
Her upper range is a mix of a falsetto and a head voice. On one hand, Kei has shown multiple times that she’s able to smoothly transition into a head voice actually quite consistently. Most of the time below E5, she’s able to sing with a connected head voice. However this head voice although connected still lacks development overall. Her muscles aren’t sufficiently strong, so there’s a tendency for her to lack proper support and for airiness to come through in her head voice. Her head voice usually is used in phrased parts in songs, such as in “Atlantis Princess“, as well as “White” and “그대에게.” The peak was an E5 in “욕심쟁이“, with no sign of proper breath support. Above E5, she’s only heard singing with falsetto. Most of her performances have her use a falsetto stylistically but above E5, only falsetto seems to be used. The few times she’s gone above E5, she tends to sound very airy and thin, such as her F5’s in “Rain“, and F#5’s in “Twinkle” and “금요일에 만나요.” Her currently highest falsetto note is over an octave above her F#5, which was a G#6 in a high note battle with fellow Lovelyz member Sujeong. She seems to be less comfortable with her falsetto above F#5, as she tends to skip the A5 in falsetto when she performs IU’s “금요일에 만나요.”
Her musicality is actually quite well developed, as she’s able to understand dynamics quite well. Even if she may use chest-dominance in her mix improperly, she still is able to choose quite well when to use more chest or more head depending on the dynamics of the song she’s singing. Likewise, within her comfort range she’s able to choose airiness at will. Breath support wise, she tends to use a quite steady flow of air, but many times it seems she lacks full development of support as one can notice her vibrato tends to be quite shaky and wobbly. Otherwise, her overall technique is quite clean. She’s able to produce open notes and doesn’t show many issues with nasality nor pitch.
As an overall vocalist Kei has the fundamentals of singing down. She’s able to support quite well and is the only member of Lovelyz with a clear understanding of connecting breath support with her singing. The next step for her as a vocalist would be to further develop her technique in order to allow her to open up her throat, while eliminating glottal tension. This would help her have more ease and sing more challenging songs, while still developing the full potential of her voice. Working on developing her chest voice muscles as well as further developing her head voice muscles would help her have an overall more rounded and connected instrument from the bottom to the top of her range.
Having debuted not too long ago, Kei hasn’t had many chances to truly showcase her artistry and if she’s able to truly make songs her own. Only recently as a member of the cast of the TV show Girl Spirit has she truly had a chance to showcase her own singing skill solo without her other bandmates. Through this she’s had a few chances to showcase her ability to change the arrangement of songs vocally and add her own musical ideas, such as in “Gee” and “야생화.” As a member of Lovelyz or even during some of her duet performances, she’s shown that her ability to harmonize and blend her voice with others is quite well developed. She tends to soften her approach and place her voice well, allowing her to unify her sound with others. This can be heard in the harmonies in “Beat it!“, “Something“, “Word Up“, “Title” and “욕심쟁이.”
Vocal Range Video(s)
video by: Viet Tien
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)