The Voice rocks harder than ever because of Todd Michael Hall (Interview)
SEATTLE, WA — Every now and then, competitive TV shows get someone that’s very special to the show. Todd Michael Hall is that person for this new season of NBC’s The Voice. Todd hails from Saginaw Michigan where he’s the President of his family’s manufacturing company. Finding his passion for heavy metal music at the age of 15, Todd has had a love for singing that spans several decades.
Now at age 50, his future looks brighter than ever due to his national exposure on The Voice.
Todd is the current lead singer for a metal band called Riot V. They’re a touring band, however, it’s not his sole livelihood.
Hall is active as a husband, father, and leader at his day job. In addition to this, Todd owns a climbing gym that he offers to the public, free of charge.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Todd and get an idea of who he is, what makes him tick and get some insights of his thoughts on music, family and of course, being on The Voice:
CDN: At what age did you start singing?
Todd: I’ve been singing all my life. The first solo performance I can recall was “Tomorrow” the theme from Annie when I was 12 years old. I performed it at an academic track meet. The next year I performed “Open Arms” by Journey. I performed with a band for the first time when I was 15 years old.
CDN: At what age did you know you wanted to sing professionally?
Todd: I started thinking that way around the age of 14, but never made it my sole focus. I graduated high school, went on to the University of Michigan to earn a BBA, and then started working full-time, all while still performing with my band Harlet. Within a few years of graduating from college, I started thinking of my singing as just a hobby.
CDN: How did you learn to sing? Born with it? Lessons?
Todd: I was born with the ability to sing in key. I learned how to sing in the higher ranges by singing along with many of the great heavy metal singers of the ’80s. My brother Rick was part-owner of a record store and he introduced me to a lot of great singers from bands that were not very well know.
CDN: Many have seen your YouTube videos of you singing with bands like Riot V and perhaps even your solo songs which aren’t metal. What are your favorite styles of music to sing and would you like to branch out on The Voice (assuming Coach Blake lets ya?) 😊
Todd: I like music with memorable melodies and a beat that makes you want to move. I tend to lean toward music that has a rock vibe, but I like pop, country, and R&B also. I think hard rock and heavy metal are my favorites to perform live, because they have so much energy and I get to hit some really high notes.
CDN: Your family started a company back in the 60s – how do you think working for the family business has helped shape your discipline as a singer?
Todd: Working in a family business helped me learn how to interact well with others, which is helpful when you are in a band. I think it also showed me what can be accomplished when you work hard.
CDN: What were your go-to musical influences as a youth?
Todd: It depends on the age. I remember liking Bread, Barry Manilow, and Lionel Richie, but then moved on to REO Speedwagon, Styx, Foreigner, Queen, Van Halen, and then on to lots of different heavy metal bands (Queensryche, Dio, Iron Maiden, TNT, Warrior, Malice, Shy, etc.), during the 80’s when I was in my teen years.
CDN: Did you come from a musical family at all?
Todd: Not really. My mom loved to listen to music and we would all sing along to 8-track cassettes in the car on long trips. My brother Jon is the most musical. He has a great ear and can play songs on the guitar by just listening to them. He is the main reason I became a rock singer. I can play guitar and piano enough to write music, but I prefer not to play an instrument when I am singing.
CDN: How does it feel to be the first, true “rocker” we’ve seen on any singing show, for quite some time?
Todd: It is hard for me to keep track of who has been on all the shows, but it does seem as though I am a bit unique. I think that is because rock singing, especially the higher variety that I do, has not been mainstream for a while.
CDN: Who have you heard others compare you to, vocally?
Todd: Most people just say that I remind them of the ’70s and ’80s, which sounds about right because if you search top rock songs of each of the decades, the ’70s and ’80s is where you will hear the people that I sound the most like. In the ’90s, people started singing with more rasp and got away from singing high. Not everyone, but most everyone it seems.
CDN: On The Voice, we got a glimpse of your beautiful family – you’ve said on social media that you met your wife over letters. Where is she from originally and how does she (and your kids) feel about your new-found fame?
Todd: My wife is from a state called Nagaland in the beautiful and mountainous part of Northeastern India. She and my three kids are very supportive, but none of them feels very comfortable in the spotlight. They just let me do my thing and to them I am still the same person they have always known.
CDN: What are your personal goals as a singer?
Todd: I would like to write and sing songs that touch millions of people. Music becomes the soundtrack of your life. I have been touched by many bands and singers over the years and I would like to be able to do the same for others. It would also be nice to have enough demand for me to perform live that I get to play some shows performing my own music on a regular basis.
CDN: What do you hope to gain by being a contestant on The Voice?
Todd: I would like to have fun and bring joy into the lives of others. It would also be nice if being on The Voice would lead to more people paying attention to and enjoying my music.
CDN: If you do win, do you plan a solo career or would you have more of an interest in forming a band?
Todd: I plan to continue my solo music whether I win or not, but I also like being in a band. I will continue with Riot V and see if any other opportunities arise. I don’t think I want to put the pressure on myself to make a living from music, so I won’t quit my job running our family business.
CDN: If you do form a band, would it be named after you? (as we saw Chris Daughtry do with “Daughtry”).
Todd: I think it depends on the project. I like being a solo artist, but I like working with others also.
CDN: Have you thought that, perhaps, you’re a great influence for many arm-chair rockers to never give up on their dreams and passion for singing?
Todd: I think passion is a better word than dreams. I think the goal of life is to be happy – to experience joy. Once we achieve this for ourselves, it is nice to share it with others. A strong sense of purpose helps someone achieve happiness. I think pursuing your passions is important also. So in my case, it is not so much the dream to be a rock star, but more the passion to write and perform music. I think it would be great if my being on The Voice would encourage others to pursue their passions.
CDN: Who are some vocalists, of any genre, that you look-up to?
Todd: I can only “look up to” people that I know personally and I don’t know personally any of the singers that have been major influences on me. Some influential singers for me were – Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Eric Adams (Manowar), Brad Delp (Boston), Tommy Shaw (Styx), Freddie Mercury (Queen), Ronnie James Dio (Dio), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Tony Harnell (TNT), Tony Mills (Shy), and the list goes on and on.
CDN: If there’s anything you’d like your fans out there to know about you, what would that be?
Todd: Wow! That is a tough one. I know how to ride a unicycle. Does that sound interesting?
CDN: Thank you, Todd, for your time – We’re pullin’ for ya bud! Sure hope you win! 😊
Todd: Thank you very much, Duane. I appreciate the opportunity to do this interview.
See Todd’s Voice audition: