F2 ~ F#5 (3 octaves and 1 semitone)
*Might be able to go higher
D3 ~ A4/Bb4
Light Lyric Tenor
- Able to support his lower register down to D3
- Able to maintain a stable larynx when singing lower than D3
- Second most consistent mix in EXO
- Second strongest vocalist in EXO
- Has been able to support multiple Bb4s throughout his career
- Able to belt above A4/Bb4 with good placement
- One of the most agile idol vocalists
- Able to mix up to F#5
- Can switch into falsetto without too much trouble
- First member of EXO to support A4 and the only to support Bb4
- Able to sing with a relaxed falsetto up to C#5/D5
- Mixed Voice has seen improvement over the years
- Notes below D3 are often unsupported
- Notes above A4 tend to be strained more often than not with a high larynx
- Sings with a disconnected falsetto
- Occasional sloppy runs
- Lack of confidence and other mental blocks that affect his voice
- Mix is often hindered due to tension or improper posture
- Lower register: The register Kyungsoo is most comfortable with. Support is usually carried down to D3. Notes below this are often unsupported.
- Mixed register: Kyungsoo’s most developed register. Resonance is very often carried to A4 and support is, at times, carried to Bb4. Notes above A4 are often strained.
- Upper register: Kyungsoo’s least used register, a disconnected falsetto that becomes shrill around C#5/D5.
One of his most developed assets, Kyungsoo is able to do speedy runs without much, if any loss of power, speed, or precision throughout the majority of his range.This can be heard in “It’s Still A Dark Night” where he scaled down to F2 and around the upper fourth and lower fifth octave. His ability to sing runs well comes from a well developed flexibility in his vocal cords where he is able to sing right at the center of each individual note with precision and bounce between notes with ease and without losing the control of his voice. His vocal cords have developed a smooth freedom where they’re able move quickly throughout notes and each individual pitch is distinguishably heard. He was able to develop his agility over the years mostly due to stylistic influences he Ishows from R&B singers, as he is heard mostly choosing to add embellishments to most of his vocal performances. Despite being a powerful belter, he does often also add runs to many performances, sometimes even favoring runs over actual belting. Examples of his runs include his runs in “XOXO” (2:19, 2:47, 3:00), “Growl” (1:10, 2:50, 3:00), “One and Only” (3:07, 3:33) as well as “Tell Me (What is Love)” (0:16, 2:37, 3:14, 3:23, 3:28, 3:40 ~ 3:50, 3:58) and “Stronger” (1:20, 3:03).
The lead vocalist of EXO K and one of the vocalists of EXO, Kyungsoo has become a favorite to many fans due to his tone and agility. Despite his voice sitting quite high in range, it can often by perceived by some that Kyungsoo has a deep voice. He doesn’t mix nearly as high as many other tenors in K-pop tend to, and due to his mixing being more chest dominant, he sounds thicker by contrast. Nonetheless his voice still possesses a youthful warm quality and sits in a high range, with a light overall timbre. He has made a name for himself by coming out of his shell over the years while not only improving his vocal technique, but also developing more confidence in himself.
Kyungsoo’s second strongest register is his lower register. He is easily able to support his voice down to D3 effortlessly as seen by the D3s in “Screamed,” “It’s Still A Dark Night,” “Hurt,” and “Lady Luck,” the Eb3 in “Nothing Better,” and the E3s in “It’s Still A Dark Night,” “Thunder,” and “Play Boy.” As he descends lower than D3, support is lost and his voice turns into air. Despite this lack of support, Kyungsoo is able to sing all the way at the bottom of his range without sacrificing the correct larynx position for the most part, as heard in his G#2 – F2 run in “It’s Still A Dark Night,” his Bb2s in “Nothing Better“, B2s in “Screamed,” and “EXO Low Note Battle,” the C3s in “Lady Luck,” and his C#3s in “What If,” and “EXODUS.” For the most part decent placement is kept throughout his lower range, but his chest voice muscles seem to lack development as early on in his range, he pulls the sound from a vocal fry muscle coordination in order to create more tone and project his voice more, as heard in the EXO Low Note Battle. This indicates that he needs to work on detaching himself from the vocal fry in order to fully develop his chest voice as he descends below D3.
Kyungsoo’s strongest register is his mix. Although this wasn’t showcased around debut due to him constantly being forced to sing outside of his supported range, which limited him severely as a vocalist. However in 2013 and the years following, he started singing in a more comfortable range for him and began to show improvement, being able to produce resonance up to A4 as seen in his F4s in “Baby,” “Overdose,” “XOXO,” and “My Answer,” his F#4s in “Thunder,” “Wolf,” and “Screamed,” his G4s in “XOXO,” “My Answer,” and “Lady Luck,” his G#4s in “Tell Me What Is Love,” “Missing You,” “Black Pearl,” “What If,” “Play Boy,” “Sing For You,” and “Monster,” his A4s in “Thunder,” “Wolf,” “XOXO,” My Answer,” “El Doraldo,” on both his and occasionally Lay’s A4s in “Love Me Right,” and especially in “It’s Still A Dark Night.” Since 2013, he has also been able to show support on Bb4 as seen in “Baby Don’t Cry” both studio as well as several live performances, “Black Pearl,” and “Peter Pan” both in studio and in this live performance.
Despite this improvement, Kyungsoo still struggles to consistently support Bb4 and strains above with a high larynx. Also, Kyungsoo’s resonance can be inhibited due jaw tension caused by him pushing his jaw forward as seen in his G4 from his MAMA performance of “Drop That.” He also has a habit of creating farther tension when belting due to him lifting his head up as if looking into the sky as seen in live performances of both “Love Me Right” and “Call Me Baby.” Most of the issues with freedom with his mixed voice come from him using a mixing technique that’s overly chest-dominant, which greatly limits the full extent of his mix and makes him unable to sing much higher.
Finally, Kyungsoo’s upper register is a disconnected falsetto. He is capable of singing relaxed notes up to around C#5/D5, but above that tends to be more shrill and barely explored. There has been some improvement, as he is able to switch into his falsetto much easier than in his earlier years. Although his transitions can be much smoother, such as the C#5’s in “Call Me Baby,” he seems to still neglect the development of this register. The only time he explored his range above D5 was notably when singing up to F5 in “Missing You,” which had good enough placement in the head and decent connection with the vocal cords. However due to barely exploring the ease of the “oo” vowel to further develop his upper register, he still remains unable to use a head voice and seems to leave this register aside in terms of practice.
Kyungsoo’s biggest, and most crippling issue is his mind. Often times, Kyungsoo struggles with a lack of confidence, bad stage fright, and several other mental blocks. While this may not seem like a problem to some, singing can be hindered when the mind is not at ease. Often times when he is not mentally relaxed, his pitch is affected, his voice tends to crack, he worries too much about belting and creates far more tension in his mix causing him to struggle even in the A4/Bb4 – C5 range. However, when he is at rest, he is capable of performing at his best and even maintain good placement up to C5 and mix up to F#5 in a playful situation. However this has been an area of major of improvement for him. Although he’s shown that he prefers to stick to what he knows, gaining confidence in himself has allowed him to know what he sings the best and where he feels most comfortable. Perhaps with more time, he’ll be able to further develop his technique by truly allowing himself to expand his horizons and trying as many new things as possible with his instrument.
Kyungsoo tends to keep performances as calm as possible and tends to keep his covers close to the original, only making slight changes such as adding in runs. He also tends to avoid the use of falsetto when possible as seen in “Boyfriend” and when he chose to mix the D5s in “El Dorado” as opposed to his EXO M counterparts who would sing them in falsetto.
Vocal Range Video(s)
Videos by: Edgar Cárdenas
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Haruko