Our picks for the Top 10 female vocalists in K-Pop.
Complaining seems to be a regular habit of fans everywhere. Either someone’s “underrated” or someone else is “overrated”, blah blah blah. Putting our biases aside as best we could, as well as all the misconceptions surrounding the most popular vocalists, we’ve compiled a list on who we feel are the top 10 female vocalists in K-Pop. There will be no “overrated” or “underrated” people here, unless we feel they truly deserve it.
Truth be told, Gummy is sort of a pity. She has an amazing voice but we rarely see anyone give her any recognition. Granted she’s not the absolute best at control or range, but what really makes Gummy special is her ability to express undying emotion. Gummy is one of the only female singers in K-Pop that is absolutely amazing at implementing emotion into her songs; this is a problem most singers lack. But Gummy is just amazing at it, to the point where you actually want to cry with her songs. And we’re not talking about being moved by how “beautiful” her voice is (which is what most fans claim to cry to), but by her sheer sincerity and heart-wrenching ability.
9. Wonder Girls’ Sunye
Sunye has an amazing voice. We are not blind to the pathos she puts into her singing, and this performance definitely proves that she has the vocal capabilities of giving a mind-blowing solo performance (yes, we know it’s horrible quality, but bear with us). The reason for her “low” ranking? Simply that Sunye does fall a little at the control department. It normally isn’t a problem when she’s belting notes (as demonstrated above @3:22), but when a song requires her to do a little harmonizing, and soften her pace, she does seem to falter a bit. Is this faltering enough for her to not be considered a great vocalist? Absolutely not, but when considering how many other female vocalists do possess that necessary power, Sunye’s ranking becomes what it is.
8. 2ne1’s Bom
Most people have one of two opinions on Bom: People either find her to be one of the best vocalists in K-Pop, or don’t find her good at all. We’re somewhere in the middle. While Bom, maybe back in 2006, would definitely be talented enough to land her a “Best Female Vocalist” spot on professional lists, it’s sad for us to note that she’s nowhere near as amazing as she was back then. However, we don’t blame her at all. Most of her fans know that Bom suffers from a medical condition of swollen lymphnodes. For those of you that don’t know, these guys are found in your neck, and Bom often suffers enough pain that her singing is a bit sustained. Besides this condition, there’s also her age; Bom is near thirty, and while sure, that’s not incredibly old, we do feel it has had an impact on her singing. The one thing Bom does have over any idol though, is color. Bom’s voice is probably one of the most aesthetically appealing out there. It’s gorgeous and just so vibrant .
Normally, when we see IU’s name on one of these lists, we can’t help but roll our eyes- though that’s usually due to the fact that she’s almost always number 1 (or if not, very near it). The Korean Media has so fed our minds that IU is the greatest singer in Korea, and that her singing is flawless, all up to the point that she’s now been nicknamed “Korea’s Little Sister”. And all that is just irritating to be honest. There is nothing more annoying than an “overrated” person, but here we beg the question: Is IU really overrated? Or is she just being wrongly put into the center, thus commemorating the hatred of many. IU has done nothing wrong, and upon making up this list, we realized that, yeah, IU totally deserves to be praised, but rightfully.
Perhaps what is most commendable about IU is her raw talent. Since before her debut, this girl has had the sweet voice of a bird. Weird analogy, but we wouldn’t exactly call it “an angel’s voice”; IU’s voice is not as smooth as an angel’s, as it has a sort of squeaky tone to it. Her vocal aesthetics aside though, we’re most impressed with her talent. Now, we aren’t saying today’s best vocalists sucked before their debut; in fact, this isn’t the case at all. Most vocalist-idols are good to begin with when they audition, however not anything near the talent they possess later. IU, though she’s most definitely improved, without any vocal training or strong vocal-exercising was still great raw, and that’s astonishing in itself.
6. Brown Eyed Girl’s JeA
JeA is an interesting case. It almost seems as if most people do acknowledge her talent, but for some reason, never recognize her for it. We always hear about people praising Brown Eyed Girls’ for their “excellent vocals” and “flawless voices”, but hardly do we ever see any of the members on lists such as these. While compiling this list, our real problem was deciding what members of BEG to put on the final list. They all possess such amazing voices, but in the end we decided JeA should take the spot. Of the three vocalists (JeA, Narsha and Ga-in), JeA exhibits the most prowess and control. We also just love the tone of her voice; it’s not exactly deep, but definitely one of the more passionate voices out there. A huge problem we see in K-Pop vocalists is the lack of emotion and depth (as mentioned in our Top Male Vocalists), but JeA takes the cake.
5. Girls Generation’s Taeyeon
Instead of showing off Taeyeon’s prowess and volume (which, if you’re wondering, she does have), we decided to instead focus on something that we honestly think Taeyeon has more of than any other person on this list, and that’s control. The above performance is a perfect example of Taeyeon’s phenomenal capabilities: around the 2:30 mark, Taeyeon hits what could possibly be one of the most gorgeous and angelic notes we’ve ever heard from K-Pop. But aside from the note, her control is just perfect– throughout the whole performance. We’re not the type to needlessly exaggerate, but seriously, Taeyeon’s rendition of “O Holy Night” is just breathtaking. And it’s not just in “O Holy Night”; rarely do we ever see Taeyeon obviously falter or strain to hit any notes. We often hear and see people complaining about Taeyeon’s lack of “emotion” and “depth” in her singing, and while we do admit that her skills do lack a bit somewhat in the “conveying passion” department (hence her position on this list), we’re just in awe at her amazing vocalization techniques.
This girl can sing. Watch the above video and you’ll see what we mean.
Ailee’s voice is seriously something to look out for. Upon watching the above performance, we were quick to look up some of her other stuff. For those of you that don’t know, Ailee is from the States, and has a youtube channel (Aileemusic), where she uploads various covers. And needless to say, they’re all awesome. Granted her voice seems a lot better suited for other genres, this doesn’t stop Ailee from being able to adapt to many styles. Somehow (and we still can’t figure it out), Ailee manages to manipulate her voice to fit a large range, from the deeper and more soulful notes, to smoother and lighter ones. It’s crazy, but Ailee is someone we can’t simply talk about. If you want to see some serious talent, we definitely recommend just looking this girl up because you won’t regret it. Some things are better heard than read.
How do we even describe Davichi without mentioning the words “perfect” and “flawless“? While making this list, these two girls were our exception to the only-one-person-per-group rule- there was no way we could make ourselves decide between the two, and in the end, we realized that they sound better together. The harmonization between the two of them, the skill, the professionalism – all these amount to Davichi, no exaggeration at all, being two of the best vocalists in K-Pop. And the above performance is just one example. Davichi seem to possess everything: control, passion, technique, prowess. These girls are truly vocalists. Davichi vocalize; they don’t sing. They know how to perfectly meld their voices to whatever songs they wish, and rather than just adding lyrics to a song, their voices are the music.
2. Gavy NJ’s Heeyoung
Heeyoung was a hard person to find. Not many people (including us before this post) know of Gavy NJ’s existence, much less the individual members. Through this post though, we hope to end such ignorance. Heeyoung is a gorgeous singer. The above was sung in a language not even her native one, and yet she was still able to captivate the emotion and feeling that comes with such a song. Her vocalization is fantastic- similar to JYJ’s Junsu, we got the Mariah Carey vocalization going on, but Heeyoung does it so skillfully and tastefully, it’s not at all aggravating to the ears. Her control, in the loudest and most power of notes, as well as the softest, is flawless, and her perfect execution well proves this.
1. Sistar’s Hyorin
Also known as the Beyonce of Korea, Hyorin is undoubtedly the best female singer in K-Pop. Her range is magnificent, and her voice is extremely captivating. Hyorin’s voice is not flat in the slightest, and while it isn’t exactly husky, it does have a sense of layers and slight scratchiness to it. However it is this exact quality that allows her to put such immense depth and emotion into her singing. Hyorin is able to achieve high notes without sounding whiny, and while we do feel her soft singing is a bit strained, it is in no way cutesy and still better than the norm. Hyorin deserves all of the praise that she earns. The above performance is a take on a South Korean classic, and this performance immensely stood out to us, for normally, “A Goose’s Dream” is sung “angelically soft-spoken”, but Hyorin’s take was bursting and husky.
Brown Eyed Girls’ Narsha and Gain
Very much so did we want to put these two onto our list, but deep down inside we thought it would be fairer to other groups if we only submitted the best representative from a group. Narsha and Ga-in have awesome voices, like worthy-of-this-list awesome, and are definitely worth looking up.
Jooyi is the only rookie to even be mentioned at all – and that’s saying something. Her voice is astounding; it’s loud, controlled and gorgeous. Her “Ave Maria” rendition was beautiful, and convinced us she’ll probably be topping these lists later on.
The really ironic thing about Luna is that she actually got into SM for her dancing skills (as she is F(x)’s main dancer), but has since then discovered she’s an amazing singer. In a few years, if Luna decides to focus on singing, we’re pretty sure she’ll be up to par with Taeyeon.