Todrick Hall — Returning to Oz in Sonoma County

Todrick Hall has a sleeve of tattoos dedicated to “The Wizard of Oz” down his arm. Since he was a child he has identified with Dorothy, The Cowardly Lion, The Tin Man and The Scarecrow, and their particular brand of magic. In a way — Hall’s headlining performance at Sonoma County Pride on June 26 will be a homecoming — the theme of the concert is Oz, and Hall says, “It’s going to be very extra!”

Since his appearance on Season 9 of “American Idol,” Hall’s career has been on a steady, upward trajectory with albums, tours, and appearances on shows like “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Todrick even performed on the soundtrack for a new Disneyland parade called “Magic Happens.” With great success came exposure, money, and inevitable burnout, “I had been saying yes to everything. I have a huge case of imposter syndrome and it’s hard for me to say no to opportunities.”

“I know that a lot of people were super depressed…”

This piece originally appeared in Outword Magazine

The earliest days of the pandemic (think toilet paper shortages) inspired new work from Hall. “I remember rushing to put “Quarantine Queen” out, and feeling like the quarantine was only going to last for a month.” The six-track album was more cathartic than commercial for Hall, “I thought five people were going to listen to it.” To date millions have streamed “Quarantine Queen” and it’s associated videos, “it made a huge impact, and made people smile and want to get up and dance!”

The tumultuous summer of 2020 hit, and mental health began to take a starring role in Hall’s life; “I started therapy for the first time.” Hall, 36, says that seeking help was something that was simply not done in his hometown of Plainview, TX — population 22,000. “Typically, people in African-American communities have been known to…not to go there,” making Hall’s experience unique in his family’s history, “there were a lot of things I had been holding onto.”

“I cried when I got the keys.”

During the pandemic, Hall bought his first home, breaking another generational barrier. “Throughout my lineage, no one has ever really owned their own property, so I decided to change that.” Another reason for the purchase: Hall is admittedly old-fashioned and says he is looking for love; “I’m a man of a certain age, and I want to get married and have kids.” It’s worth noting that Hall takes much of his relationship advice from Taylor Swift.

Todrick Hall IG

“Taylor is actually really good at relationships!” laughs Hall at the implication that his best friend — a pop-icon with a discography full of some of the catchiest break-up songs ever — might be a bad person to take relationship advice from. “She is one of the most famous people in the world. And somehow she has found love and feels like she’s appreciated and valued, that makes me feel like I can definitely do it too.” Hall has had a boyfriend for a year and a half.

Looking back at the year we thought would never end, Hall says he is doing alright after the additional time off. “It was very helpful and necessary for me, but I’m really excited to get back to life as it were.” That is to say, life on the Yellow Brick Road.

“I love being on stage. I love feeling the energy from an audience and I love meeting my fans!”

Todrick Hall will headline the Oz Pride concert, taking place at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on June 26, performing alongside Ryan Cassata, Morgan McMichaels, and Bright Lights. The show comes near the end of a month of Pride events planned for June as part of Sonoma County Pride 2021. Tickets go on sale June 1st.

SonomaCountyPride.org

Christopher J. Beale is a freelance multimedia producer, journalist and radio host living in San Francisco. He is the host of the queer radio program On Bay Time on BFF.fm, where Todrick Hall is the guest on June 2. Christopher also hosts the podcasts Theme Park Pulse: The Game, and Unpacked. christopherjbeale.com

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Christopher J. Beale

Independent radio host, journalist and producer in San Francisco. Covering LGBTQIA issues, arts, transit and culture.