By Travonte Harris, Staff Writer
The University of Missouri-St. Louis welcomed YouTube and music star Todrick Hall to campus on October 10. The program started at 7:30 p.m. at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. Hall is a Youtuber who has been very successful online, commanding a subscriber base of 2.7 million.
Prizm’s Student Government Association Representative Audrey Taylor, senior, undeclared, took the stage and introduced him. She explained the background of Hall, discussing points in his career such as his starring role in the Broadway show “Kinky Boots.” He also served as a backup dancer in Taylor Swift’s video, “Look What You Made Me Do.” All-in-all, Hall is an accomplished singer and dancer.
The lights darkened in the theater as a collage of Hall’s various music videos played, getting the crowd ready for what they were about to experience. The video ended with the message: “Thanks for that marvelous introduction.” And then two female dancers took the stage. Hall was not far behind. His dancing was truly superb and added to his singing capabilities.
Not every artist can pull off both singing and dancing. Adele, for instance, said she would never be caught dancing, that it was just not her style. However, Hall seemed to have it down pat. This first song was called “Who Let the Freaks Out?” He put on a fantastic performance with both excellent singing and dance routines.
The next number was a cover of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.” He channeled the energy of the audience who sang along. As the song went on, it was clear that the audience was loving it.
After the Bieber number, he exited the stage and the crowd was shown another video by Hall. The video was funny and entertaining, definitely appropriate for a person who has a history on YouTube. It was almost as if we were watching a video on YouTube.
In the video, he made fun of the title of his show and pondered whether or not it should be called something like “The Todrick Hall Experience,” but then decided that it was too long. He declared that the title should be something shorter, like “Todrick Live” instead of “Todrick Hall Live.”
But perhaps the most interesting part of the show is the tips he gave on how to be a social media star.
His first point was to believe. He talked about the importance of believing in yourself. Then he drove up the second point which was Entrepreneurship, and explained that this is what really allows you to be successful. This is all coming from a guy who truly believes in entrepreneurship and has financed a lot of his projects on his own.His third point was Yass, which he said he started adding to everything and it made it better. His fourth point was that you need to Own Your Brand. He also discussed Networking and that you need to Evolve, which means that you should change with the times, and Challenge yourself.
These points can be ordered to spell out Beyoncé, who is Hall’s idol. He strongly believes that everyone should be a Beyoncé fan.
The second part of the show was a Q&A, which included a set of two chairs and a table. Office of Student Involvements’ Assistant Director Ashlee Roberts was the host. We learned that Hall’s first hit was a song about McDonald’s and was written just because he liked the fast food chain. He uploaded it before watching a movie and by the time the movie was over his video had gone viral. The video is still available on YouTube.
Other things discussed included his opinion on negativity, and he said he used to always focus on the negative comments. But after a fan confronted him about it he now focuses mostly on positive comments.
He discussed his third solo album, “Straight Outta Oz,” which was self-financed, costing $300,000, but Hall said that he made the money back within 24 hours and that he was charting with Adele and Beyoncé. He also drove the point home that you should follow your dreams and that fame and fortune are attainable.