Extra special thanks to our contributing editor, Daniel Huh.
Analysis of Minnie (민니) (G)I-DLE’s
Performance in Above Video
Proper support for the singing voice is enabled when the inhaled breath is taken LOW. Shallow, high breathing causes pressure and strain upon the voice. And this in turn causes vocal fatigue, which can lead to serious and sometimes permanent damage (with continued abuse).
Being brutally honest, a pop singer with good vocal technique is too rare. American music icon Tony Bennett is that phenomenal exception. He has often attributed his marvelous vocal technique to having studied the art of bel canto singing at a young age. Tony Bennett is a monumentally great artist, who we should all be grateful to learn from.
Having said this, however, in the above-referenced video, Minnie’s vocal potential is beginning to flourish in some promising ways. Her voice is developing with a golden, burnished color, kind of a cross between Alanis Morrisette and Alicia Keys (who Minnie has said is one of the artists she most admires).
Most interesting to note is the fact that singing with the new deeper color in the voice actually requires that the lower muscles become more engaged. So she is definitely now on the right track, toward breathing low and developing her voice in a healthy manner, which will allow for the greatest realization of her remarkable vocal gift.
I believe Minnie’s voice timbre is so unique that everyone will instantly recognize it, even when she wears a mask covering her face. Likewise, the great Tony Bennett has a voice of finest distinction, instantly recognizable — once heard, never forgotten.
Minnie (G)I-DLE does tend to utilize a breathy sound as an expressive device. Often this can be alluring and communicative. Occasionally, however, it can border on being a liability for vocal technique and health.
For example, at :49 and again at :55, breathy tone is so pervasive that the two lowest notes in those successive phrases are simply lost. Indeed, those two lowest notees become so breathy and thin that they evaporate into near silence.
My opinion is that the lowest notes in those phrases are crucial for the shape and beauty of the whole melodic line, of this lovely song. Musical expressivity is lost if we omit notes from the melody of a song.
I so much wish that I could personally work with this great young vocal artist! She is clearly an exceptionally bright young woman, and I’m sure that with careful vocal instruction, her supreme natural singing instrument would respond immediately. With more personal attention to her needs as a developing singer, and with an eye on her fabulous singing potential, there is no question that Minnie can begin producing a richer and more resonant sound. She can begin to feel the incredible physical power of real support within the singing technique, once and for all eliminating risk of vocal strain. Progress must not only be sustainable, but also it must ensure her continued best vocal health, so we can enjoy and admire her best singing for many years.
Indeed, there is a danger in singing with too much breathiness. When the vocal folds are bombarded with excessive breath, they become tired and swollen. This in turn can swiftly evolve into a series of vocal troubles, not unlike a domino effect, in which the entire vocal technique actually falls apart, piece by piece. Of course there is no evidence this is happening right now to Minnie, thankfully. However, when we hear a lot of breathiness in the tone, we can only hope this habit will in fact not become an essential part of her style.
To explain this pitfall in terms of vocal well-being, when the vocal folds (cords) are subjected to a constant overload of air, this frequently leads to a fatigued state of puffiness or slight swelling, to begin setting in. At that point the voice will feel stiff, will sound slightly husky, and high notes will be difficult to access. Unfortunately too many singers fail to heed these specific symptoms as a warning, and they insist on “powering through.” In other words, they sing when they absolutely should be resting the voice.
Singers, you are wise to become highly observant of how the voice feels and responds, even from one hour to the next. If and when you experience any of the above symptoms, note it is the beginning of vocal fatigue.
If this begins to happen in your singing, you must stop and rest the voice. Drink even more water than usual and get a lot of sleep. The voice loves sleep and needs good sleep in order to recover properly.
When we are in this state of early vocal fatigue and we fail to rest the voice, we might as well be trying to navigate through quicksand! Singing through vocal fatigue will always cause the condition to worsen quickly, and the more you insist upon singing, the worse the voice will sound, including a lot of rough hoarse tone, until you finally have no voice left at all. And the worse the voice loss is, the longer it takes to heal.
But you have to know what you’re doing, and as always it is extremely helpful to have the guidance of a quality voice teacher, someone who can know your instrument and really care about your long-term health and success as a vocalist.
Minnie (G)I-DLE has an exceptional talent and deserves the finest team of experts around her to coach, guide, and truly to care about her best well-being as an artist and as the exceptionally fine young person that she clearly is. Her career is gaining momentum, because of her marvelous artistic imagination and communication. Her voice sounds in top healthy condition as of this recording, and for the most part she is already singing so very well, as her voice continues to develop in the most exciting ways!