Story by Brianna Willis, Staff writer
When Todrick Hall – YouTube and MTV star – came to Murray State last week, cellphone glows lit up the room when the lights went down. Students taking selfies were spotted throughout the room before Hall came onto the stage. Hall has tapped into a generation who finds amusement in the instant.
“Living in 2015 is a cool experience,” Hall said. “You can pick up your phone and be an instant success. You don’t have to wait for a Hollywood producer to knock on your door and make you a star.”
Hall touched on his rise to fame via the Internet in his show last week, something that resonated with students in the audience. When he mentioned YouTube success, the audience cheered. During his performance students recorded on Snapchat, took selfies with Hall, and even live tweeted their experiences.
“I tried to retweet as much as I could before coming,” Hall said.
One female student was called out by Hall for posting a picture on Instagram when he told the audience to take notes.
“I have been taking notes on my phone!” she yelled back from the crowd.
It is not surprising then that stars such as Hall have gained popularity in this generation of technology users.
His engagement with students throughout the show and students’ participation in songs such as “Twerking in the Rain,” show that they aren’t just glued to their phones. Students joined in to dance, sing and respond to his questions. Rather, the Internet and instant availability of entertainment has given rise to more specialized entertainers, and personal interactions with artists.
Hall discussed collaborating with other YouTube stars such as Pentatonix, an acapella group that covers hit songs as well as writing their own.
Hall and Pentatonix are incredibly different in terms of the videos they make, yet they were able to work together and collaborate.
By finding a special section to make a name for yourself, the Internet allows for the creativity and personality of each artist to shine, while fostering a communal atmosphere. Artists such as Hall utilize the Internet and social media to create a personal connection with fans.
Ashlyn Smith, student from Henderson Community College, drove two hours to see Hall. She recounted a story of how she bought a pink doughnut onesie at a local Walmart. She tweeted a picture that ended up in Hall’s hands. He then posted the picture on his Instagram. Smith replied and got his address. She mailed her onesie to Hall who has now worn it, and gave her a shoutout out at the performance.
This illustrates the fast paced nature of the Internet, and how artists can now better connect with fans than ever before.
“I love how he never gives up,” Smith said. “He’s just incredible.”