The 12 Biggest, Baddest Voices in K-Pop
K-pop is one of the biggest, baddest genres on the market and is powered by its wickedly talented idols. Those idols possess natural instruments: their incredible voices. These voices are powerful, full-bodied, and are naturally geared toward sending out massive feels. While K-pop as a whole boasts of beautiful voices, a select few artists ride the top of the talented Hallyu wave. Read on to discover who has some of the biggest, baddest voices around.
Lead singer of the hit 2000s K-pop group g.o.d Kim Tae Woo had it then, and sure still has it now during his mid-30s vocal prime. He is a striking tenor with a fullness in his voice that is rare, especially when he gets into those fabulous high notes. His runs are clean and only grow more so with age along with his quick, even vibrato. His voice is aging well, like fine wine.
Compared to Kim Tae Woo, A Pink‘s Jung Eun Ji hasn’t been around that long, but she sure has made a huge impact. She has a surprisingly huge voice that embodies the adorable rasp of her speaking voice and the big personality seen in variety and in drama. What is unusual for her youth is the fact that both her upper and lower ranges are powerful and full, rare in many K-pop singers. Perhaps it is the way she seems to possess an old soul in her singing, and also in how she can adapt her vocal style to whatever genre of music she sings.
Another young talent is D.O from K-pop sensation EXO. He’s got a bulldozer tenor voice with a penchant for fancy runs. His voice quality is unique in that it can be both characterized as youthful in timbre and adult in projection. His voice carries when in a group and is really beginning to develop its lower tones. One aspect of his singing I always notice is how clean his diction is; we can always clearly hear the words of love he sings to us!
This singer has been around through the thick and thin of K-pop and his voice has grown tremendously powerful over the years. He has such beautiful phrasing; he knows how to tail off the endings of his sentences in a way that gently leaves us with the echo of his unique voice. JYJ’s Junsu has a healthy-sized range that he can now work with ease and agility. His fancy runs are clean and clear and his low notes have filled out as well as his abs!
Ailee, the Korean-American diva from New Jersey, can arguably be called one of the top three biggest K-pop voices on the market. It’s pure, straight forward, and made for speed. She has a unique capability to transition from a pure belt to a breathy voice in a single beat, which is no easy feat. Her vocal palette is diverse and she has developed her belt over the years so that it’s full and powerful.
SHINee’s main vocalist Jonghyun has come a long way since his debut in 2008. He has always had a full voice, similar to Kim Tae Woo, but he was limited in range. Now he’s got it all. His lower register has beefed out, his runs are clean, his high notes are in tune, and he’s only getting better. In the strange dichotomy that is music performance, the more he relaxes his vocal instrument on stage, the better and more intense his singing gets.
BIGBANG’s Daesung is unusual in that he has a powerful belt with a gritty raw quality that is suited for rock ‘n’ roll. His projection is his strength, and the way that he can adapt the edginess to match whatever he’s singing. Like Jonghyun, he’s come a long way since his 2006 debut and what makes his career so exciting to follow is watching how he learns to use and shape his powerhouse instrument.
Hyorin of SISTAR has a voice that seems to have no boundaries. The sound isn’t contained or limited by her body. Rather, it bursts from her in a rainbow of vocal color: high belts, husky lows, tempered melodies. She rivals any international diva with her vocal agility and her live performances just keep getting better and better. Like Insooni, she has a husky quality to her voice that is as alluring as her beauty.
VIXX’s Ken has a magical ability to manipulate notes so that they seem effortless as he sings up and down his register. His belt in VIXX made him famous, but subsequent solo performances have proven his ability to sing soft and low is much more than okay. What makes this singer so powerful is his vocal agility and also how seriously he takes his music.
With her consistently mind blowing solo work, who better to mention than Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon? This is a singer who has truly grown into her big voice over the years. She’s solid live and in recording, showing off her vocal dexterity no matter the circumstance. The subtlety in her performance is her strong suit because she has just as much beauty in the quiet moments as she does in her impressive highs.
Super Junior’s Kyuhyun has one of the richest lower registers of the men in K-pop. It allows for those soulful buildups in the ballads he rocks. On top of that, he is a master at slipping in and out of different styles: trot, pop, rock, blues, ballads. The years have only made his voice fuller and more agile. His voice and vocal technique has a touch of the older days, a special quality that allows him to be likened to the older Korean greats like Kim Choo Ja.
BEAST’s Yoseob may have had a hard climb to the top, but that didn’t prevent his incredible vocal abilities from soaring. He has some of the best vibrato I’ve heard in K-pop: consistent and well-placed. His tone is unique in how tight it is and how distinctive his tenor is. He is a vocal chameleon. He can get gritty when he’s channeling Freddie Mercury and gentle out during a 90s R&B cover.
Although the two ladies below aren’t considered mainstream K-pop, they still have big voices that they use to give back to an adoring audience. Please check out our two biggest voice honorable mentions!
No article about amazing singers would be complete without mentioning the queen bee of Korean R&B, Insooni. She entered the music scene in 1978 and hasn’t left. American presidents and world famous concert halls have heard her sing. She boasts one of the lowest female ranges in K-pop that is as rich as chocolate with a touch of husky. Her vocal dexterity can carry her adeptly into her powerful belt and back down into the depths of her range.
I can’t mention big voices without bringing up So Hyang’s name. She has one of the widest ranges in K-pop, is able to belt incredibly high notes, and can sustain a beautiful tone across her range. Her performance of Korean folk song “Arirang” is a perfect example of her vocal prowess as it shows off her effortless belt and her controlled lows. Her ability to bring emotions into music is nearly unparalleled, especially because her vocal technique is so solid: it doesn’t inhibit her emotions. It let’s her soar. And boy, can she soar!
Soompiers, who do you think is the biggest, baddest voice in K-pop? Let us know in the comments below!
Raine0211 is a lover of all things Korean, especially K-pop, K-drama, and Korean food. She is especially happy to be using her music degrees to be writing about K-pop! When she’s not writing for Soompi, she’s playing the cello and singing. She happily indulges in all kinds of K-pop, but her biases are SHINee, Infinite, and VIXX. She lives with her sister and her two cats, Timmy and Momo, all of whom also love K-pop and K-drama.