Taylor Swift’s new single “Look What You Made Me Do” wasted no time breaking records on Vevo and Spotify over the past few days. With 68 million YouTube views and counting, the numbers are impressive. But according to singer, actor, and YouTube star Todrick Hall, who features in the video as one of Swift’s backup dancers — “I would like to refer to myself as a front-up dancer. I was in the front of the back-ups, you know what I mean?” — what was just as impressive was the pop star’s ability to get the music video made without a word of it leaking.
“It was the hardest secret ever to keep, but I know how I am as an artist and when I’m creating stuff, even if it’s just on my YouTube channel, I don’t want anyone to tell anything, I don’t want anybody to post a Snapchat or a picture,” Hall tells EW’s sister company INSTANT about the video, which was shot in May. “I think it speaks volumes of what type of a person Taylor is as a human being, as an artist, that she was able to get all of these people on a set, shoot an epic — what I don’t even want to call a music video because it’s more of a movie at this point — and get them to not say anything. People just really were excited and I was more excited to see the reaction of people online than to tell people. So I didn’t even tell people that were very, very close to me; my own family didn’t know.”
An American Idol alum, Hall, who earlier this year wrapped up his Broadway debut as drag queen cabaret performer Lola in Kinky Boots, recently partnered with Positively Fearless to help educate and empower black and Latinx gay and bisexual men living with HIV. Directing and choreographing many of his own videos, which can be seen on his popular YouTube channel, he’s definitely no stranger to working with superstars, having choreographed the video for Beyoncé’s “Blow.” Still, “it was just like Christmas morning couldn’t come fast enough” waiting for this latest video to debut, he says.
As for what they “made her do” to write this song, Hall says Swift didn’t divulge anything to him, but he thinks the explanation is pretty simple. “I’m assuming what she means by that is, You made me break every record, you made me out-sell everyone,” he explains. “You made me hire the best backup dancers in the world, you made me come out of a grave, you made me tilt a bunch of tombstones at one time — that choreography was like a flashmob of tombstones; it was really, really cool. That’s what they made her do.”
Watch more of Hall’s interview with INSTANT above to find out if he managed to hold on to that “I ❤️ TS” shirt he and the other dancers wear in the video.