Every singer is unique for sure!
But I am want to speak specifically to the difference between a singer who gets their voice outside their body into the space around them, and thus achieves what is known as ‘sonic return’. The word sonic has to do with sound waves or the speed of sound. We can say sonic waves.
In the theater, or any live performance where there is no amplification, the actor or singer used to have to set off acoustically, or sonically, the space they were singing in. But with the use of amplification, most singers might not fill the space nor be understood today.
It took me many years to be able to get my voice out of my body and learn to use the room as an extension of my voice without over-exerting. It took a long time to be able to produce that ‘sonic return’ that is accomplished by utilizing elasticized relaxation and the least amount of tension in the throat, the least amount of air needed at any given moment and getting maximum resonance. Many singers have been trained that their voice is experienced inside their body but this is erroneous given todays understanding through the lens of physics and acoustics. A skilled wind musician knows that their task is to use the least amount of air and the least effort and experience that sonic return coming back at them, from the performance space, that resonance coming from 360 degrees and bathing you, the room and the audience in that sonic return.
In the early part of the 1900’s, there was a lot of singing voice training that followed a mechanical model that is still taught today. But we are an organism and so comparing an organism to a machine is very limited indeed. Organisms are way more complex and sophisticated than a machine and have biologically evolved to use the LEAST amount of energy and tension to communicate. Our nervous system is energy conserving in its very nature. It is a survival imperative to express oneself and is therefore completely instinctive; nothing mechanical about it and we don’t have to ‘think’ when we are engaged in self-expression.
Singing and speaking are actually the same physiological process with minor adaptations, depending on the circumstance. But your body has to have achieved a minimum of intrinsic muscle integrity/elasticity and functionality in order to have an experience of this non-linear phenomenon. We have all touched on it but doing it day in and day out takes training from someone who knows how to get you there.
I can help here. I have spent more that 4 decades singing and learning all I could in a comprehensive way. I write about what I call ‘intrinsic singing’ in my upcoming book. Use this link to be notified for pre-publication price.