G2 ~ C6 (3 Octaves, 2 notes and 1 semitone)
D3/Eb3 ~ G4/G#4
- Support is clean and consistent
- Able to produce resonance
- Maintains a stable larynx with good support up to G#4
- Lower range remains supported down to D3
- Vocal runs are well separated at times
- Able to use a connected head voice
- Capable of holding down his harmonies well
- Trills are usually very good rhythmically and pitch wise
- Sounds tight and whiny above G#4 most of the time
- Head voice isn’t consistently supported
- Runs can often be very pitchy and lack control
- Tends to be whiny and nasal
- Questionable stylistic choices that cause a lot of tension
- Head voice can be very throaty
- Tends to sing with a very tight and squeezed throat most of the time
- Tends to sing outside his comfort range more often than not
- Tongue tension sometimes present within his supported range
- Uses only an unhealthy laryngeal vibrato
- Lower register: The lower portion of his chest voice tends be actually quite nicely developed in terms of tone production. Even where support isn’t present, tone isn’t completely lost. However he tends to become airier, while his larynx loses its neutral position below D3 most of the time.
- Mixed register: His mixed voice is where he tends to sing most of the time. Unfortunately K.Will has a tendency to oversing and sing way beyond his comfort range because of how extensive his mixed voice is. Support is present with resonance up to G4/G#4, but above that he tends to sing with a high larynx.
- Upper register: His upper register is a mixture of both a falsetto and a head voice. Most of the time K.will actually tends to use a head voice, but the support isn’t always present. Generally strains his head voice when singing louder or in the fifth octave.
K.Will seems to draw a lot of influence from American male R&B vocalists from the 90’s in his singing style. 90’s R&B made the idea of melismas a lot more mainstream, so naturally he would also be influenced to attempt vocal runs quite often. Earlier in his career, K.Will would often add vocal runs throughout many of his vocal performances. However rarely were they ever clean and precise in pitch. Rhythmically speaking K.Will is able to divide notes well and most of his simple and quick trills come out quite precisely, as heard in “Without You” and “나만 몰랐던 이야기.” However the longer, faster and more complex runs become, the messier his overall approach is. The more complex the runs are, the less precise his sense of pitch becomes. On top of that, he used to attempt vocal runs more often than not, causing many of his earlier vocal performances to be compromised almost entirely of pitchy and sloppy melismas. This can be heard in “Nobody“, “One Last Cry“, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas“, “Lately” and “그녀에게 전해주오.” More recently however he seems to have become less inclined to add vocal runs to his vocal performances and now adds more simple runs only occasionally to embellish his vocal performances, as opposed to making them the highlight of said performances.
K.Will is a solo artist who originally debuted under Big Hit Entertainment in 2007, an entertainment agency which was then home to many ballad groups and singers such as 2AM, 8Eight and Lim Junghee, but later joined Starship Entertainment in 2008. He rose to fame for his high notes that earned him the nickname of “Korea’s Male Mariah Carey” during the early stages of his debut. Naturally speaking, his voice may be bright and light enough to be a tenor, but it has more of a fuller and more mature quality in its sound, which could potentially indicate that he’s more of a full lyric tenor than anything else.
The lowest part of his chest voice is mostly very muffled and cloudy in quality. It lacks connection between his vocal cords and development of his thyroarytenoid muscles, which in the end cause him to lose tone and not support properly the lower he goes. Down to D3 he has shown very good moments of chest placement with proper support and connection, such as in “사랑했지만“, “목포의 눈물“, “하루“, “When I First Saw You” and “가을을 남기고 간 사랑.” Occasionally he has shown some support down to C3 as well, as heard in “기억의 습작“, but this support has proven to be inconsistent even within the same exact performance. This happens because above D3 he does have a good enough development of his muscles while being able to connect muscle memory with proper breath support to project his lower chest voice notes. Below C3, he tends to only be able to use a more airy quality in tone and even though some tone quality is present, he still lacks development and projection. This can be heard in the C#3’s in “눈의 꽃“, C3’s in “꽃이 핀다“, B2’s in “가을을 남기고 간 사랑“, “나만 몰랐던 이야기“, Bb2’s in “이별“, “민물장어의 꿈” and A2’s in “사랑 그 쓸쓸함에 대하여“, and his G2 in “기억의 습작.”
His mixed voice is the part of his range he’s most known for and where he sings in most of the time. In terms of mixing, K.Will has developed his muscles to allow him to sing very high without transitioning into his head voice. However contrary to common belief, singing high is not the same as singing well. Even though he’s able to sing very high, he has developed his vocal cords under the influence of bad vocal habits which create a lot of tension in his voice. Most of the time he is able to mix very high for long periods of time by simply tightening the swallowing muscles in his throat around his larynx, which pull it up and, while adding more air pressure from his diaphragm, allow him to sing very high. This is the improper way of singing high notes, as a vocalist shouldn’t manipulate the movement of their larynxes nor tighten the throat when singing higher. All this tension can potentially damage his voice by forcing his voice to sing notes that aren’t comfortable for him, as he tends to strain most of the notes above A4. Examples include the A4’s in “사랑했지만“, “목포의눈물“, “하루“, Bb4’s in “I’m Not The Only One“, “이별“, “민물장어의 꿈“, “가질 수 없는 너“, B4’s in “내 곁에“, “한 사람을 위한 마음“, C5’s in “뛰어“, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas“, C#5’s in “세월가면“, “그녀에게 전해주오“, Eb5’s in “My Heart Will Go On“, E5’s in “귀로” and F5 in “그녀에게 전해주오.”
That is not to say that there isn’t a part of his mixed voice where support is absent. On the contrary, K.Will is able to use proper breath support and placement in his mixed voice in order to produce resonance and allow him to sing with a relaxed throat and a neutral larynx. He has done so on many occasions where he maintains just the right amount of air pressure against his vocal cords while remaining more relaxed, creating better produced notes overall such as the F4’s in “Lately“, “사랑 그 쓸쓸함에 대하여“, F#4’s in “가을을 남기고 간 사랑“, “When I First Saw You“, “아침이 밝아올때까지“, “오직 너뿐인 나를“, “Whenever You Call“, G4’s in “왼쪽가슴“, “End of the Road“, “Endless Love“, “쌈바의 연인“, “Endless Love (2014 stage)“, “기억의 습작” and G#4’s in “꽃이 핀다“, “뛰어“, “한 사람을 위한 마음“, “Love Blossom“, “피“, “이별“, as well as one quick resonant A4 in “I’m Not The Only One.” Although resonance is produced, he tends to lack true pharyngeal openness which minimize the sound of his resonance. He tends to sound very small as he sings above G#4, where his throat quickly closes and his voice becomes squeezed and thin. His mixed voice even within his supported range is mostly head dominant, as he opts for a brighter mask placed and lighter cord approach lessening vocal strain.
His upper register mostly seems to consist of a head voice with improper development. Although he’s able to mostly connect his vocal cords together consistently well in order to produce a true head voice, as opposed to a falsetto, he tends to lack true control of his head voice. In order to compensate for the lack of control, he tends to use a very mask-placed head voice with a lot of air pressure which helps him get the sound out, but ultimately causes him to sing with a high larynx even in his head voice. Most of the time he’s unable to sing comfortable with a stable larynx in the fifth octave or when singing loudly in his head voice, as heard with the D5’s in “One Last Cry“, E5’s in “귀로“, “세월가면“, “울고 싶어라“, “목포의 눈물“, F5’s in “Love Blossom“, “그녀에게 전해주오“, F#5’s in “왼쪽가슴” and C6 in “I Still Believe.” When singing more softly he is actually able to maintain a stable larynx and support, although not always consistently. This can be heard in “My All“, “My Heart Will Go On“, “꽃이 핀다” and “나만 몰랐던 이야기.”
Musically speaking, for a good amount of time of K.Will’s career he seemed to lack a of sense of style and would mostly emulate the sound of 90’s R&B singers such as Brian McKnight. The issue with that style is that most of the time these vocalists would favor singing with very bright tone qualities while closing their throats and sounding very tight. This can work for certain vocalists stylistically, but when it’s done all the time it can be a damaging bad habit. K.Will does have a good sense of pitch and support for the most part, only occasionally showing issues with pitch outside of runs. He does tend to sound a lot smaller than his voice naturally would allow him to, also tending to place his voice in nose quite often. This could be argued to be a stylistic choice, as he’s also shown the ability to produce resonance quite often. Another issue he has is the tendency to use a laryngeal vibrato, where breath support isn’t fully happening so the vocalist manipulates the larynx movement up and down in order to produce a forced vibrato.
Overall as a vocalist K.Will is skilled enough to handle singing songs that many young tenors would struggle with. However over the years his biggest weakness lies in his overall delivery of songs, where he mostly chooses to sing much higher than it’s comfortable for him. He has made a name for himself a high belter and because of that it is almost always expected of him to sing vey high. This seems to be less of a problem now, as he focuses somewhat more on musical delivery now. For the future, learning to truly open up his throat to minimize throat tension would help him get through many of the high passages that tend to exist in the songs he sings. This could help him avoid any major vocal damages overtime.
K.Will is known mostly as a solo vocalist, but also is quite reliable as a duet partner. He can control his volume and not overpower other vocalists when singing with them, while also being able to hold his part in harmonies and blend his voice very well with his partners. Examples include many of his duets with Sistar’s Hyorin, such as “Endless Love“, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Whenever You Call“, as well as his special performance with Huh Gak and Na Yoon Kwon of “End Of The Road.” As for his vocal performances, most of the time K.Will tends to stay more true to the original melody of songs, while not truly being able to execute all the vocal runs written for said songs. Instead of trying to simplify them, many times he will make them more complicated which can end up with him delivering very sloppy and messy performances overall in terms of pitch, as well as performances full of tension where he chooses to go much higher than his comfort range.
Above Average Vocalist
Vocal Range Video(s)
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)