F#2 ~ E5 (2 Octaves and 5 notes)
B2 ~ E4
B2 ~ B4/C5 (with head voice)
- Able to support his voice consistently
- Mixed voice is relatively steady in development
- Head voice is connected and generally supported
- Support in the head voice is present up to B4/C5
- Lower range is developed and supported down to B2
- Able to produce resonance
- Transitions into head voice are smooth and have improved
- Vocal runs generally lack precision and are often too complex for him
- Lower range is relatively underdeveloped
- Vowel sounds tend to be very narrow most of the time
- Due to diction, can often be nasal (arguably stylistic)
- Becomes throaty and shouty above F4
- At times seems to have issues with openness due to tongue/glottal tension
- Lower register: Relatively speaking for a baritone his support extend very low. He tends to lower his larynx quite often in his lower range and lose projection anywhere below B2. However support and proper chest placement are very well present as low as B2.
- Mixed register: Mixed voice is balanced and well supported up to E4, but above that can become quite throaty and pushed with chestiness. Resonance can be produced as well.
- Upper register: Able to use a head voice consistently. Generally seems to maintain proper support in his head voice as high as B4/C5. Doesn’t generally use a falsetto when singing in his upper register.
Typically speaking Roy Kim’s style and genres of choice don’t often require him to sing many vocal runs or embellishments. His influences are less drawn from R&B and melisma-heavy genres, so he focuses more on his articulations. In his head voice, he does show the ability to sing vocal run lines that are quite smooth and slow. He can sing each individual pitch clearly, although a little of air is used with an H sound to get his vocal cords to move in the right direction, as heard in “가을에” and “Lost Stars.” When it comes to more complex vocal runs, he lacks smoothness and becomes often quite laggy in comparison to the speed and accuracy of the run. He’s unable to move fast enough and hit each individual pitch without sounding sloppy, which can be heard in “고해.”
Roy Kim started his career in South Korea in 2012 when he auditioned for the survival singing show SuperStar K4. It’s interesting to notice that although he was crowned the winner of that season, he was almost eliminated during his audition as both judges Baek Jiyoung and Lee Seungchul had initially failed him. However thanks to judge Lee Haneul, he was able to get an instant pass and moved on to win the whole show. He debuted shortly after and has become a known artist for his distinctive soft but strong vocals and his charming manly sound. One of the most unique aspects of Roy Kim’s voice is that although he is a mainstream artist, he isn’t the usual voice you’d find in pop music. Although tenors may not be the most common male voice type, they’re the most common voice found in pop music because they can sing in a generally high range. However SuperStar K has brought many young baritones to light, namely Jung Joonyoung, John Park, Kang Seungyoon, Roy Kim, etc., and has given these men a chance to show that it isn’t about how high you sing, but how well you sing within the right range for your voice.
The lower portion of his chest voice is the most underdeveloped and under explored part of his voice overall. Compared to most vocalists, being able to sing with any sort of support in the octave is most certainly an achievement. However considering that a baritone’s voice sits much lower than a tenor’s, Roy’s lower range is relatively underdeveloped. He has shown many times that he possesses a lot of tone quality in his lower range as low as C3 and B2, as heard in “사랑이란,” “다시 사랑한다 말할까” and “봄봄봄.” In that range he is able to keep a stable larynx, forward chest placement, proper vocal cord connection and breath support. However whenever he sings anywhere lower than B2, he usually becomes very quiet and muffled. He loses the connection of his vocal cords, becoming airy and unprojected, as heard with the F#2 in “취중진담.” In other instances, he tries to push his larynx down, which ends up making his voice a lot more blocked and hard to hear. This can be heard with the A2’s in “스쳐간다” and “다시 사랑한다 말할까,” and G2’s in “북두칠성.”
His mixed voice is actually a peculiar part of his voice. He has very good control of his mixing and is able to sing through his first and second passaggi with ease and lightness. Unlike most people would expect of a baritone, he doesn’t always carry a lot of weight when mixing within his supported range. His tone is generally produced with a good balance of chest and head voice. He’s also able to keep a reasonable amount of support up as high as E4 quite consistently. This can be heard in multiple instances of him phrasing D4’s, Eb4’s and E4’s, such as in “빗속에서,” “Volcano,” “잊어야 한다는 마음으로,” and “서울의 달.” He’s also shown that he’s able to produce resonance within that range, such as the E4 in “힐링이 필요해,” “잊어야 한다는 마음으로” and “먼지가 되어.”” However there are instances in which he shows some sort of glottal tension even within his supported range, as heard with the E4’s in “서른 즈음에” and and Eb4’s in “북두칠성.”
His glottal tension then only becomes more apparent as he starts to sing above E4, where his throat starts to become more closed and he becomes throaty. This sort of tension is quite present throughout his upper mixd voice range. This can be heard whenever he sings softly in his mix, such as the F4’s in “Love, Love, Love” and “사랑은 늘 도망가,” as well as stronger and chestier F4’s in “그리움만 쌓이네.” Examples of this sort of glottal tension happen even on lightly mixed G4’s such as the ones in “빗속에서” and “너에게 난 나에게 넌,” as well as stronger G4’s such as the ones in “제발.” Throatiness can also happen to him when singing with more power, although there’s a certain degree of stylistic throatiness in this case. Examples include the F#4’s in “서른 즈음에,” G#4’s in “다시 사랑한다 말할까,” “Smile Boy,” “휘파람,” and A4’s in “고해” and “먼지가 되어.”
Compared to his lower range, his upper register is a lot better developed as a whole. He is able to sing with relative ease and support in his head voice. His transitions have shown improvement when comparing “휘파람” to performances such as “그날들” and “어쩌면 나.” His head voice is generally quite well connected, showing a relaxed approach without any issues in pitch or control. His placement also tends to be very good, producing very well head placed notes. Examples of him phrasing in head voice include “봄봄봄.” His support can be heard in instances such as the G4’s in “가을에,” Bb4’s in “The Blower’s Daughter,” B4’s in “잊어야 한다는 마음으로” and C5’s in “Creep.” Above C5 there are rare instances of him using his head voice, but he seems to become tighter and lose the support he is able to keep below C5. An example would be the Eb5’s in “Lost Stars” and the E5 in “먼지가 되어.”
Overall as a vocalist the biggest improvement for Roy Kim’s artistry has been in his confidence. He’s learned to feel more in control of his instrument, he’s become more daring and makes more bold musical choices than he used to. His style draws influences from acoustic pop, alternative and pop-indie. He does have some instances of closed muffled pronunciation and nasality due to his stylistic choices and diction. He has some moments where he uses rock-like effects in his vocals as well. For the music he writes, his skill level is mostly decent and he’s able to perform with dynamics and control. However when covering songs by other artists, he may show some issues vocally that can hinder his overall vocal delivery. For the future working to target his glottal tension would be advisable to minimize strain in his mixed voice. Also working to develop his lower range further would help him expand the range in which he can sing properly.
Roy Kim’s main form of performing is often very acoustic. He mostly performs by singing while playing his acoustic guitar, which is how he usually writes his music. His stylistic approach to songs often has to do with adding his own distinctive sound, often done by his choice of placement in sound and his somewhat closed diction. His melodic changes to songs are often minimal but come with a whole change in arrangement. Two great examples of his changes to songs, done primarily by arrangement changes, were done on SuperStar K4 with fellow contestant and baritone Jung Joonyoung, namely “Creep” and “먼지가 되어.”
Above Average Vocalist
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)