B2 ~ D6 (3 Octaves, 1 note and 1 semitone)
F3/F#3 ~ D5/Eb5
F3/F#3 ~ F#5 (with head voice)
- Able to support her voice consistently
- Mixed voice is consistently resonant
- Able to support her chest voice very low with good chest placement
- Notes below her supported range may lose support but maintain tone
- Head voice is connected and supported
- Able to produce resonance in her head voice
- Connection of registers is clean throughout her supported range
- Shown huge improvement and maturity from her idol days until now
- Mixing is very controlled, can change her ratio of chestiness and headiness at will
Points for Improvement
- Vocal runs generally lack precision and are often too complex for her
- Often makes her upper mixed voice notes too wide in vowel shape
- Head voice becomes really pushed and shouty the higher she goes
- Lower range is often sung with a lowered larynx below supported range
- Mixed voice becomes shouty and throaty as she ascends above Eb5/E5
- Can at times be pitchy
- Tends to lose openness when singing wide vowels like “Aye(애/에)” and “Ah (아)”
- Lower register: Able to maintain a neutral larynx with consistent support to F3/F#3. Tone production is very consistent, most of her lower range maintains tone quality even if support isn’t present. Only lowers her larynx below F#3.
- Mixed register: Mixed voice is very well balanced and supported. Placement is kept throughout, even outside her supported range. Support is consistent up to Eb5, with very few occasions of support up to E5. Mix tends to become shouty when singing wide vowels.
- Upper register: Head voice is connected and easily transitioned into, with clean support and proper head placement up to F#5. Tends to push her head voice with too much throat and swallowing muscles tension above F#5, becoming shrill and shouty.
Noticeably one of the weakest parts of Ock Joohyun’s overall technique happens to be the flexibility of her vocal cords. Having debuted in the 90’s as one of the first main vocalists of a female idol group, her influences were hardly from R&B music. Even to this day, she takes most of her influences and singing style from Musicals, which hardly ever emphasize vocal agility. As such, this is an area she’s neglected to properly develop and it shows. Oftentimes her runs lack precision and smoothness, causing them to sound sloppy and pitchy. Due to the stiffness of her vocal cords when executing runs and the lack of a bouncing approach, she tends to slide through most of her vocal runs. Sometimes she is able to execute cleaner trills, such as in “서시,” but even with slower runs she seems to still struggle to keep her vocal cords controlled, as shown in “서시” as well. The more complex and longer the runs, the pitchier they become, as heard in “Run To You,” “천일동안,” “Broken Vow,” and “남자는 배, 여자는 항구.”
Ock Joohyun is a known veteran vocalist in the K-pop music industry. She originally debuted in 1998 as the main vocalist of the female idol group Fin.k.l. alongside veteran singer Lee Hyori. After the group split up, Ock Joohyun proceeded to debut as a solo artist and remained a very influential artist and vocalist throughout her career as a soloist. Releasing a couple of solo albums as well as taking part in various musicals, she matured as an artist and established clear goals for herself as a vocalist. With her age, her voice changed and she adapted quite well to the change. Going from a very bubblegum pop approach, to a thicker approach, she has settled into her instrument well. Her voice is thick, naturally powerful with a bigger volume output than the average soprano, seeming to put her most likely in the Full Lyric Soprano fach.
The lower part of Ock Joohyun’s voice is her most developed register. Her chest voice is very well developed for a soprano and even can compete with many mezzos. Her thyroarytenoid muscles have been very properly developed in her chest voice, to the point where good chest placement and clean support is consistently present all the way down to F#3 and F3. Examples of her support can be heard with the A3’s in “Honey,” G#3’s in “I Will Be There” and “Defying Gravity,” G3’s in “U-Go-Girl,” “Love” and “난,” F#3’s in “천일동안,” “나는 나만의 것” and F3’s in “지금은 알 수 없어.” Occasionally support can be even present down to E3, such as in “Defying Gravity.” Even below her supported range, she is able to project and bring enough tone down to her lowest notes, the C#3 in “서시” and the B2 in “내 눈물 모아.” However due to her not being able to keep her larynx completely stable, the tone production becomes less clear and the voice becomes muffled due to the lack of openness and obstructions caused by pushing her sound into the back of her throat.
Her mixed voice is possibly where most of her improvement can be clearly heard. Due to debuting as an idol group member, during the 90’s most of the music marketed by female idol groups was heavily influenced by bubblegum pop. With that in mind, Ock Joohyun would use a much brighter approach to her singing and sound much thinner, less round in tone and often shouty, as heard in “영원한 사랑.” By contrast, with the maturing of her voice into a full lyric soprano and by wanting to showcase herself as a serious soloist, she started to add effects to her voice by pushing down her larynx with improper throat technique, which caused her tone to sound darker but also kept her sound locked, swallowed and limited her control of pitch as well, heard in this performance of her debut solo song “난.”
As the years passed, Ock Joohyun found a place in between the shouty shallow quality of her early group debut days and the forceful darkness of her early solo debut days. She learned to truly use her voice as a full lyric soprano by allowing her sound to be placed higher in her mask with proper support, while keeping her larynx neutral and throat opened. This helps her not try to sound darker than her natural voice quality, while still remaining powerful and resonant. Resonance is something she produces at will, easily, throughout most of her vocal performances, all the way up to Eb5 with consistency. This can be heard with the G#4’s in “서시,” Bb4’s in “Rebecca,” B4’s in “사랑이 떠나가네,” C5’s in “사랑이 떠나가네” and “천일동안,” C#5’s in “Defying Gravity,” “지금은 알 수 없어” and “난 나만의 것,” D5’s in “Greatest Love of All” and “U-Go-Girl,” and Eb5’s in “남자는 배, 여자는 항구,” “사랑이 떠나가네” and “Defying Gravity.” This also allowed her to control her voice much better in terms of pitch and dynamics, something she is very fond of in her singing.
Occasionally support can be present above Eb5, with occasional phrased E5’s remaining somewhat supported, such as in “Love” and “난.” However most of the time when she sings with very wide open vowel sounds and instead of focusing her sound into her mask while keeping her jaw dropped, she tends to make vowels such as “Ah (아)” and “Aye (애/에)” which make her sound more tense than she needs to be. This can mostly be avoided due to her strong sense of support, however whenever she sings above Eb5, her mix becomes very shouty and eventually quite throaty. Even though the sound may still be placed in the mask, there is far too much pushing and tension happening in her throat. This can be heard with the E5’s in “Run To You” and her Duet version of “난,” her F5’s in “천일동안,” “미련,” “내가 춤추고 싶을때,” “Defying Gravity” and “나는 나만의 것,” her F#5’s in “Rebecca,” and her G5’s in “U-Go-Girl” and “서시.”
A register that has been believed to be far better than it actually is happens to be Ock Joohyun’s upper register. Most of the time Ock Joohyun is able to use a head voice, with proper connection and head placement. She’s learned to keep her larynx stable, vocal cords connected and diaphragm engaged, allowing her to use a clear and resonant head voice as high as F#5, as heard in “서시,” “Time to Say Goodbye” and “Run To You.” Unfortunately contrary to common belief, her head voice quickly loses support as she ascends above F#5. Although head placement is kept to the extremities of her head voice, she tends to use a lot more tension from her swallowing muscles in her head voice. She shows this very early on in range even on G#5’s, as shown by multiple performances of her solo song from Elizabeth The Musical, “나는 나만의 것,” as well as the G#5’s in “All I Ask Of You,” and “Time to Say Goodbye,” as well as the A5 in “Run To You.” Originally in studio, she sings a C#6 at the end of her solo, which was believed to be resonant. However when comparing the audio of her live recording of the song to the final studio released track, it is possible to hear a huge contrast of sound quality. With the help of studio effects, her head voice sounded much fuller and rounder, but in reality the quality is quite tight, pushed and shouty. This can be heard when comparing the C#6’s in the studio version with the recording. Her peak note is the D6 during tongue trill warm ups.
Overall looking at Ock Joohyun as an artist and vocalist, she seems to be satisfied and has worked with a decent enough amount of technique to develop her instrument further throughout the years. Realistically speaking the K-pop music industry in the 90’s was very experimental, so many vocalists didn’t receive proper training at all. Nowadays vocalists go through long periods of training which can often help at least establish the basics of vocal technique. Although she did not have that, she improved and showed that she took herself seriously as an artist in order to remain relevant within the music industry to this day. Not only that, but she also found her niche by shining in her Musical Theater roles, which greatly helped her shape up her technique and refine her understanding of her voice, assuming she took lessons when moving to that field of entertainment and music. For the future, it would be helpful if she kept improving her technique to further open up the rest of her instrument.
Having grown immensely as a musician and as a vocalist throughout the years, Ock Joohyun’s had to learn to sing in many different ways to adapt to her maturing instrument. Also by singing songs she’s sung for years, she’s created small changes to the melody occasionally in order to create more original re-editions of her own songs, such as small changes to her debut song “난.” Not one to change her songs too drastically however, she is also known for being able to blend her voice well with others and control her volume when singing duets, such as her multiple duets with singer Park Hyoshin.
Label (Type of Vocalist)
MH Vocalists: Mid-Range Head Voice Vocalists
MB Vocalists: Mid-Range Belters
LR Vocalists: Low Range Vocalists
WR vocalists: Well Rounded Vocalists
Vocal Range Video(s)
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)