Todrick Hall

… and one-person quartet singing.

I start with Todrick, from Wikipedia:


Todrick Hall (born April 4, 1985 in Plainview, Texas) is an American singer, actor, dancer, director, drag queen, choreographer, songwriter and YouTuber.

(Hat tip to Kim Darnell.)

Energetic almost beyond belief, and a lot of fun to watch. Also way gay. More from Wikipedia:

He first gained attention on the ninth season of American Idol, where he made it to the semi-finals. He then became known as a YouTube personality and judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. He has released several albums and also appeared on television and on tour. From 2016 to 2017, Hall starred as Lola in Kinky Boots on Broadway. Later in 2017, he began appearances as Billy Flynn in Chicago on Broadway.

… Hall is a baritenor with a soulful, expressive voice, including falsetto; in addition to a singer, Hall is also a rapper. The genre of his works include R&B, pop, hip hop, neo-soul, funk, and musical theatre. Many of his lyrics include elements of social commentary, such as gun violence in and against black communities in “Water Guns (featuring Jordin Sparks),” acceptance of interracial relationships in “Color (featuring Jay Armstrong Johnson),” and queer culture; Hall writes and produces much of his own music. Hall also posts musical tributes to his favorite musical artists such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Taylor Swift. These tributes feature elaborately-produced mashups of the artists’ songs sung by Hall.

Hall’s music videos often feature extravagant production value not typically associated with artists outside major labels. Hall’s videos often include bespoke costumes and urban fashion, elaborate sets, and extensive choreography, much of which is designed or created by Hall himself. He frequently directs his own videos as well. As part of his style, many of Hall’s music videos include drag as a central component, either featuring Hall in drag himself or famous drag queens including RuPaul, Bob the Drag Queen, Willam Belli, and Alaska Thunderfuck, among others.

Straight Outta Oz. One item from his oeuvre, from Wikipedia:


(#3) Also from Straight Outta Oz

Straight Outta Oz is the third solo studio album and original musical written and produced by American singer-songwriter and YouTube celebrity Todrick Hall, released on 23 June 2016. Featured artists include Nicole Scherzinger, Jordin Sparks, Perez Hilton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Amber Riley. It is based on the Wizard Of Oz whilst being a semi-autobiographical account of his rise to fame in Los Angeles (Oz).

He took the show on the road in 2016.

The title is a portmanteau of the movie titles Straight Outta Compton and The Wizard of Oz. On the former, from Wikipedia:

Straight Outta Compton is a 2015 American biographical film directed by F. Gary Gray, depicting the career of gangsta rap group N.W.A. Titled after N.W.A’s 1988 debut studio album, the film focuses on members Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre, and the rise and fall of the group.

And on Compton (from Wikipedia), which supplies the L.A. connection:

Compton is a city in southern Los Angeles County, California, United States, situated south of downtown Los Angeles. … As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 96,455. It is known as the “Hub City” due to its geographic centrality in Los Angeles County. … The city is generally a working class city with some middle-class neighborhoods, and is home to a relatively young population, at an average 25 years of age, compared to the American median age of 35 (2010 data). [In this census, Compton was 32.9% black, 25.9% white; and 65.0% Hispanic / Latino of any race]

Famously plagued by gun violence for some time.

One-person quartet singing (mostly a cappella). A specialty of Todrick’s, realized in many 4-paned YouTube videos, with each panel showing Todrick singing one part in one persona.

[Linguistic note. From NOAD:

adj. & adv. a cappella: (with reference to choral music) without instrumental accompaniment

This is the standard spelling, but with reference to popular music (of all kinds), it’s now very often spelled acapella. A Google Ngram shows only spellings in books, but does indicate that the spelling is now appearing even there:


Meanwhile, the spelling acapella is all over the net; in that context, a cappella seems to be used only to refer to sacred music.]

Todrick’s 4-part videos usually have names with 4 in their title. For instance:

(#5) 4 The Greatest Showman by Todrick Hall (Todrick as 4 characters inspired by P.T. Barnum), viewable here

(#6) 4 Beyoncé by Todrick Hall, viewable here

More diva tributes:

Todrick Hall 4 Rihanna, viewable here

4 Ariana [Grande] by @Todrick, viewable here

4 Taylor [Swift] by Todrick Hall, viewable here

And some hits compilations:

4 the 90s by Todrick Hall (hits from the 1990s), viewable here

4 the 2000’s by Todrick Hall (hits from the 2000’s), viewable here

There’s more.

More one-person quartets. There’s quite a tradition of one-man quartet singing, mostly in barbershop quartet style. Some singers (many with YouTube videos): Dan Wright, Julien Neel, Mike Tompkins; Jared Halley, Peter Hollens, Del Lazaro, …

And on the female side, far in spirit from Todrick Hall’s pop female characters: Judy Hauff’s Angels on the Wing (1998), a CD of Christmas shapenote hymns in which Judy takes all four parts:

(#7) 29 tunes from the Sacred Harp, Southern Harmony, New Harp, Wyeth’s Repository, New England Psalm Singer, Christian Harmony, Kentucky Harmony, etc.; notes are sung before the words

Karen Willard’s An American Christmas Harp book (2009) cross-references the tunes on this recording:


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