Joseph Butso is an exchange student in South Korea from Ohio. Recently, he was featured on “I Can See Your Voice,” an American Idol-like Korea reality show that offers talented singers a chance at stardom.
Butso, who bears a striking resemblance to rapper Tyler the Creator, wowed the judges with his incredible singing voice and grasp of the Korean language. Redditor RedYourDead
“Korean here, this song is incredibly difficult to sing accurately and he does it really well. He has a slight American accent when he does sing but this is amazing.”
At the 1:40 mark, many non-Korean speakers wondered what Butso said that left the judges in complete awe. Redditor 3khnng
gave his own explanation:
“From looking up the original rendition and just interpreting the context and meaning of the song as described by OP, it seems like the original songs verse of “We may smile but we don’t have any other choice” ends in a minor key to convey the deep grief and pain associated to the bandmates suicide.
Joseph made that line end in a major key, which does a few things; it is obviously more uplifting, it is a novel way of singing that verse, causing the surprised expression, it provides more closure to an otherwise sad memory, a memory that would by awkward for Joseph to honor by singing it the original way since he is still a foreigner why should he care so much – that would make him sound like he is mimicking and therefore unauthentic. Instead by singing it a different way he is showing he not only understands the music he is singing but also has enough cultural understanding to pay homage to the highly respected and endeared artist. Therein lies the unique, which leads to their surprised reaction.”
If anyone is interested in comparing, here’s the original version of the song.