G2 ~ G5 (3 octaves)
C#3 ~ A4
C#3 ~ F5 (with head voice)
Full Lyric Tenor
- Strongest vocalist in both 8Eight and Homme
- Strongest vocalist in Big Hit currently
- Produces resonance very consistently
- Placement is very opened
- Support is very consistent in his mixed voice
- Able to produce resonance up to A4
- Head voice is resonant and well placed on the vowel “Oo”
- Support in the head voice is consistent up to F5
- Lower range maintains tone even below supported range
- Chest voice shows support down to C#3
- Transitions into head voice are very smooth
- Improvement shown in head voice over the years
- Tends to push his mix with his throat
- Tends to move his jaw with his vibrato
- Mixed voice is too chesty and becomes pushed above A4
- Tends to sound soft and airy in the second octave
- Head voice isn’t often used, true limit is unknown
- Shows some inconsistencies due to too much throat pressure
- Lower register: Tends to sing in this register quite often but many times even within his supported range he uses a very cloudy and airy approach. Support can be present with very clear tone down to C#3, but below that tone is mostly lost.
- Mixed register: Very consistent support and placement allow for resonance to be produced in every single one of his performances. However as he gets higher, he doesn’t lighten up which causes him to sound throaty and shouty around Bb4 and above.
- Upper register: Shown huge improvement in this register particularly. Transitions are now much smoother and he’s able to use a very well connected and well placed head voice with consistent support up to F5. Above that, there’s a lack of proper vocal cord connection and stretch, causing him to lose support.
One of his weakest set of skills is his inability to produce accurate runs. That is not to say that his runs are completely sloppy in terms of delivery, but there’s a clear lack of smoothness and freedom when it comes to Lee Hyun’s agility. Overall he has some understanding of vocal runs and as he seems not to draw much influence from R&B music, he doesn’t often attempt runs out of context within his repertoire. Muscle wise, since Lee Hyun uses such a heavy approach with a lot of chest voice, he is often not relaxed enough to handle singing through runs in a smooth manner, causing him to sound quite heavy and stiff when attempting runs. The result is runs that are somewhat pitch and almost locked in place, where his vocal cords are free to move through each individual pitch precisely. This can be heard in “한동안 뜸했었지“, “언젠가는“, “그대로 그렇게” and “사랑했지만.” By contrast however, his vocal runs tend to be much better when singing in his head voice, as heard in “선희의 가방.” This is most likely because he allows a lot less pressure and weight in his voice, so his vocal cords can move more freely.
Lee Hyun debuted in 2007 as the main male vocalist of mixed gender group 8Eight under Big Hit Entertainment. Unfortunately due to his military service keeping his contract from ending while the other members’ contracts have ended, the group has temporarily disbanded until further notice. Lee Hyun had always been the most promoted member of the group, releasing many solo albums as well as becoming part of the project group Homme with 2AM’s Changmin. He is mostly well known for his tearjerker ballads as well as strong and melancholic vocals. His voice is rich in tone and while still lying naturally sitting in a tenor range, he still possesses a more mature and fuller quality to his tone. He would most likely be classified as a full lyric tenor, as opposed to most other male vocalists active in pop music.
The lower portion of his chest voice still remains quite under explored and underdeveloped. Most of the time because of the nature of his songs, he tends to whisper the verses of songs and belt out the choruses, which make him opt for a more airy quality in his lower range. This airy quality is present many times as a stylistic device and choice he makes to create a softer approach to his lower notes, however there’s only so much of it that tends to be a choice. Down to C#3, he has shown many times that he’s able to properly connect his vocal cords and support his voice, while maintaining tone and projection, as heard with the D3’s in “30분전에“, “비상“, and C#3’s in “사랑했지만” and “전활 받지 않은 너에게.” However anytime he sings below C#3, he is unable to keep that same amount of connection and tone, resorting solely to an improper airy quality in his tone. This causes him to be unable to project well in his lower range while not developing his chest voice muscles to their full potential. This can be heard with the A2’s in “30분전에“, “이젠 잊기로 해요“, “결혼해줄래“, his Bb2’s in “너니까“, and his G2’s in “눈의꽃.” Rarely he also may push his larynx down to project lower notes, such as the Bb2 in “청춘을 돌려다오.”
His mixed voice is where he allows most of his voice to really shine and project. He never holds back on power and is able to do so in a very healthy way most of the time. Lee Hyun tends to sing with a very opened approach, while lifting his soft palate and keeping his sound forward in his mask and chest, he’s been able to produce resonance in every single vocal performance of his. This happens because he engages just the right amount of vocal cord connection with proper support, while keeping jaw dropped and projecting his voice through the right resonance chambers. The result are rich, round and full belts with mostly no tension. This includes the E4’s in “언젠가는“, F4’s in “비상“, F#4’s in “심장이 없어“, “여름날의 추억“, G4’s in “다시는 돌아보지 않으리“, G#4’s in “토요일은 밤이 좋아“, “열아홉이에요“, “사랑했지만“, A4’s in “도시여 안녕“, “다시는 돌아보지 않으리“, “가로수 그늘 아래 서면“, “그 입술을 막아본다“, “내꺼중에 최고“, “오늘도 난“, “사랑스러워“, “연예인“, and he’s even been able to produce resonance up to Bb4 on very rare occasions, such as in “눈의꽃.”
The main issue with Lee Hyun’s mixed voice approach is his tendency to use a lot more chest muscles than head voice muscles, which can work in the lower part of his mixed voice. However the higher a vocalist sings, the lighter the approach in muscle coordination should be. In other words, the vocal cords naturally need to move up to a more head-dominant approach as you sing your higher notes in order to keep them healthy. If a vocalist pulls chest voice too high, they’ll most likely strain their muscles by pushing the sound out with their throats. This is the case with Lee Hyun, who although very capable of controlling his mixed voice up to A4, tends to become shouty and throaty when singing higher in his mix. Notes around Bb4 and above tend to sound constricted and pushed, as he keeps the sound too low in his throat and doesn’t place it higher in his mask and head. This can be heard with the Bb4’s in many performances of “밥만 잘 먹더라” as well as in “꿈“, “그날들” and “선희의 가방“, and also the C5’s in “소녀.” This heavy approach in his mix also causes him to at times have inconsistencies even within his supported range as well.
His upper register is the part of his voice where most improvement can be heard in his singing voice. When comparing Lee Hyun’s days as a member of 8Eight to now, it is possible to hear a massive amount of work that’s been done to properly develop his cricothyroid muscles to sing in a pure head voice. Most of the time when singing above his mixed voice, he would have issues transitioning into his upper register. He would sound like he had two very different voices that had no connection and so transitions would become very difficult, while he would lost most tone in his singing voice. Examples include “잘가요 내 사랑” as well as “그 입술을 막아본다.” Now not only can he transition smoothly and connect his voice into his upper register, he’s strayed away from using a falsetto and is able to use a much healthier and better supported head voice. Most of the time his transitions are quite clean, while his projection and placement allow him to maintain a relaxed and supported head voice up to F5, as heard in “가로수 그늘 아래 서면“, “다시는 돌아보지 않으리“, and “선희의 가방.” Unfortunately he still doesn’t his head voice as often as his mix and above F5, he tends to overly compensate with air pressure while not maintaining his vocal cords fully together, which cause him to sound pushed and airy, as heard with the G5’s in “Dilemma.”
Musically speaking Lee Hyun is completely in control of his instrument. Although it is true that he uses a chestier approach in his mix, he can choose to hold back and maintain a much lighter approach when mixing within his supported range. Not only that, but his sense of pitch and rhythm are generally very clear and consistent. He’s also shown improvement in his vowel shaping, whereas compared to 2012 he used to have issues with closed jaw vowels like Aye (애/에) as heard in “가슴이 시린 게“, but is now able to sing through them with an opened throat. One downside of his technique seems to be his inability to use a natural vibrato, tending to use his jaw to help him produce his vibrato many times.
As a vocalist and artist, Lee Hyun has shown many times that he’s a serious professional who aims to give his all to his craft. He has shown improvements in many areas and has been using generally very healthy and consistent technique for years. He seems to take good care of his instrument, while also earning the recognition he deserves for his vocal ability in performance shows such as Immortal Song 2 and King of Mask Singer. For future improvement, if he could minimize the amount of pressure he uses in his mixed voice when singing higher, he could become much more capable as an overall vocalist.
Lee Hyun’s always been a member of vocal-oriented groups. Choreography and dancing were never a part of his performance set, as he was a member of 8Eight and is currently a part of the duo Homme. Both units were very ballad focused, so a lot of emphasis was put on properly blending his voice with others, something he’s always been able to do very well. He’s a very good duet partner as well as group member, knowing how to properly pull back the sound of his voice to match his singing partners creating much better vocal performances overall, as heard in “그 입술을 막아본다“, “가로수 그늘 아래 서면” and “밥만 잘 먹더라.” Melodically speaking, Lee Hyun has shown that he can make songs his own and add his own melodic changes, as well as adlibbing to create original re-editions of cover songs. Although it is unclear in shows like Immortal Song 2 whether or not the arranger has any influence on changing the vocal melody or if it’s the vocalist’s choice, Lee Hyun has shown his ability to be original in melodic ideas a couple of times before, such as in “눈의꽃.”
Vocal Range Video(s)
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)