Todrick Hall is the wizard behind his own curtain

Performer and entertainment industry celebrity Todrick Hall doesn’t stop moving. Hot on the heels of a 2016 tour to support his Straight Outta Oz album- which hit number two on the iTunes album charts- the singer-dancer-actor is already thinking about his next projects.

“I’d like to do a kids’ show, something on Broadway, I’d love to have an original series on Netflix, and there’s a new album in the works,” he says, acknowledging, “I have many goals.”

Hall is a renaissance man: A singer whose voice can go from soulful ballads to sinfully fun pop mashups; a dancer whose videos register in the tens of millions of views, a director, a choreographer, a You Tube sensation, a Broadway star (the musical Kinky Boots), a reality TV subject (MTV’s Todrick), and a reality TV judge on RuPaul's Drag Race.

The Texas native first hit the national spotlight in 2009 on the ninth season of American Idol, where he made it to the semi-finals. He’d already had a You Tube channel, which grew in popularity after his appearances on the FOX network show. Hall is known for developing his celebrity via You Tube. 

I worked with him when he was in Hawaii to attend the 28th Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, which supports the LGBTQ community and lifestyle. Hall’s documentary, “Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall,” screened at the festival, and he was on hand to talk about it and meet fans. 

The movie is an extension of his Straight Outta Oz album. Cameras document the nationwide tour and go “behind the curtain” to see the process of writing, recording, choreographing, and designing the visual album and tour. 

“I wrote most of the songs for Oz in Hawaii,” Hall comments. He wrote a few on Oahu, but most happened on Maui, which he says he has “a special connection” to because of its “artistic” energy.

Hall says his favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, inspired the songs. He parallels the movie characters and story arc with his life and says it matches perfectly.

“I was at a place in my career where I was bitter and confused by the entertainment industry. Friends told me to write music in my darkest times. I was in Hawaii and I wrote the music,” he recalls. “The songs were darker and more mature than [previous songs].”

The tour, he says, was a terrific experience. It took him to Australia for the first time, and around North America and Europe. “It was awesome to go around the world and have audiences tell me how my music affected their lives.”

Here on this fourth trip to Hawaii, Hall probably penned more songs – and maybe you’ll be hearing those on his next album. He makes me laugh when he says the exact opposite of what just about everyone else says of their Hawaiian vacation: “I’m nervous to do nature and go into any water that’s not enclosed like in a pool. I want to stay safe so I’ll just look at the surfers while I write music in my room.”

Of course, that seems in step with just about everything else the public knows about Hall. He will do exactly what he wants, when he wants, on his own terms, even if it’s not the traditional method. And it’s made him hugely successful so far. 

Todrick Hall’s You Tube channel is at https://www.youtube.com/user/todrickhall.

 

Todrick Hall and Diane Ako - August 2017
Diane Ako