Tate McRae: 14 Facts About The Canadian Pop Singer

Tate McRae has always been destined to become a star. When she was a teenager, she wowed crowds with her dance moves, making difficult choreography look effortless. But dancing isn't the only thing McRae is good at; she's also got a killer voice. While she initially thought dancing would become her career, the universe had other plans.


McRae hails from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and her mom is a dance instructor. McRae used to train in her mother's basement studio when she was a kid, but she says she wasn't a natural at first. "I started off as one of the worst dancers ever. But I put my head down and improved," she told DIY. It seems this has been her approach to everything she's tackled since. She trained 40 hours a week, barely managed to make any time for her friends, found herself feeling isolated and lonely, and had to deal with bullies who thought she was uncool for enjoying things like dancing and singing. McRae taught herself piano and started writing her own songs to deal with these feelings, and a star was born.

Despite enduring bullying from some of her peers, McRae started sharing her original songs online during the pandemic, and they gained traction. Die-hard fans will remember her breakout hit, "You Broke Me First," which went viral and changed her life forever. "I'm really grateful that I always had a mentality of not really giving a f*** about what other people thought," she told DIY.


Tate McRae has an older brother

If you wondered why Tate McRae's sophomore album, "Think Later," features the singer wearing hockey pads, you're about to get an answer. If you're not a die-hard fan, this might be news to you, but McRae has an older brother, Tucker McRae, who plays hockey for Dartmouth College's Big Green. It's likely her album cover is an homage to her brother and his achievements. He's made plenty of headlines on the hockey rink. Before Tucker played for Dartmouth, he was making a name for himself in the Alberta Junior Hockey League while playing for the Okotoks Oilers. He scored 38 points over the course of 58 games in the 2021 to 2022 season and was named defenseman of the year for the Oilers as a result.


While it might appear that McRae and her brother don't get along that well because of the lyric "still tryna get my brother to like me" in her song "Calgary," it appears the two are, in fact, pretty close. Aside from giving a subtle nod to her brother's achievements on the hockey rink on her album cover, McRae was also featured in one of Tucker's Instagram posts, which he captioned "#proudbrother."

McRae's music video for her hit "Greedy" also features a hockey rink. Speaking to Vevo for its "Footnotes" segment, McRae explained that growing up in Calgary and having a brother who is a hockey player meant that the sport had always been a part of her life.

She has done some voice acting

Aside from her killer music vocals, Tate McRae also has a talent for voice acting. An opportunity to voice a character for the Nickelodeon animation series "Lalaloopsy" presented itself the day McRae signed with her first agent. The children's series takes place in a fantasy world known as Lalaloopsyland and follows the lives of the dolls who live there. McRae got to voice Spot Splatter Splash and did such a great job that she was asked to work on some of the spin-off videos that followed.


McRae credits her voice acting skills to her experience in music. "I love musical theater and had to learn to develop characters for my songs," she told International Film Review in 2015. "It is hard recording voice-overs," she explained, "You are the only one in the recording booth and there are lots of people online from the States directing you. I usually got a 30-page script one to two days before we recorded, so you have to go through it and figure out how your expression is going to be." Luckily, McRae has always loved a challenge.

Tate McRae got to dance at one of Justin Bieber's shows when she was 12

Thanks to her dedication to honing her dancing skills from a young age, Tate McRae was a standout performer by the time she was 12. When Justin Bieber's team put out a casting call for four kids to dance during his performance of "Children" at each of his shows, McRae submitted an audition tape, and she was one of the lucky four who got selected to perform at his Calgary show.


This was a very special achievement for McRae, who before that night had never attended a live show. "That was just so exciting. He's one of my all-time favorite artists, so it was pretty surreal to be on stage dancing beside him," she told CBC. "I've been so excited and grateful for the opportunities that have come my way so it's been pretty incredible," she added.

Performing onstage with Justin Bieber wasn't the first time McRae brushed shoulders with artists in the music industry. Prior to that performance, she got cast in a music video for Walk Off the Earth's song "Rule the World," in which she also showed off her incredible dance skills.

She competed on So You Think You Can Dance

Given her killer dance moves, her performance with Justin Bieber, and her appearance in Walk Off the Earth's music video, it should come as no surprise that Tate McRae aced auditions for "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" when she was just 13 years old. Despite her natural talent, she had to work hard to earn her spot on the show. "I've been watching the show for forever, and the fact I was able to audition and show my solo to those three judges was absolutely amazing. I felt like my hard work had really paid off," she told CBC.


McRae wowed the judges and became the first Canadian to make it to the U.S. show's finale. One of the judges, Paula Abdul, couldn't praise McRae's performance enough. "I wish there was a word to describe how much you touched me. That was perfection. Watching you move, it's like a ripple effect in the lake ... it is seamless from start to finish. You are a gift from God," she said after one of McRae's routines. For McRae, competing on the show was surreal. "I was just dancing my heart out and just doing what I love onstage," she later said of her breathtaking performance. While she wowed the judges and the audience alike, McRae didn't win the competition, but just making it to the finale already defied her wildest dreams, as she told CTV News.


Tate McRae and Olivia Rodrigo are besties

Tate McRae has made no secret of the fact that it's hard to make friends in Los Angeles. The entertainment industry is incredibly competitive, which can make friendships challenging. While it took a while, McRae finally found a true friend in fellow musician Olivia Rodrigo. "Time always tells who's going to stick around," McRae said during an interview while discussing her friendship with Rodrigo. She said that, after spending over two years in LA, she and Rodrigo's friendship only grew stronger. "She's just become one of my best friends, and I feel very fortunate to be around such talented women," she said, adding that the two of them always support and encourage each other in their respective careers. "She's an absolute angel," McRae told Bustle.


One way to show off your BFF to the world is by casting her in one of your music videos, and Rodrigo did just that, asking McRae to appear in the music video for her song, "Bad Idea, Right?" McRae told SiriusXM that Rodrigo texted her and asked if she wanted to be in the video, and she responded with an enthusiastic yes. "I adore her. I think she's so talented and so beautiful," McRae said.

Shooting the music video turned out to be incredibly fun, with McRae telling Bustle, "All of us had a blast on set. It was just like friends hanging out, shooting a little video."

She writes her own music

Tate McRae doesn't believe in writing hits; she wants her music to speak from her soul, and that's why she prefers to write all her own songs. She does, however, collaborate with other writers, like OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. Her hit song "Greedy," which took music charts by storm, was co-written with Tedder.


While "Greedy" was a fast hit, McRae isn't interested in making all of her songs instant sensations. "If I'm being super honest, I feel like whenever someone walks into a room, like a songwriter, and they're like, 'We need to make something that's going to catch on TikTok,' it fully kills it for me," she said while making an appearance on Q With Tom Power. "I think that is the death of art. If we're basing a song off of a 15-second clip, I just don't think that's real music." She explained that 15 seconds isn't nearly enough to get a meaningful message across. Amen, sister!

McRae told Numéro that she draws inspiration for songs from her own life and experiences. "I always say that I'm really bad at explaining myself and explaining my emotions. So the only way that I can actually feel like I get a weight off my chest is if I write it down and put it into my notes or my journal or into some sort of song. And that's also how I solve situations in my head," she explained.


She ran a successful YouTube channel

Had it not been for Tate McRae's YouTube channel "Create With Tate," which she launched in 2017, she might not be the pop sensation she is today. She told Billboard that, initially, she wanted to use the channel to share song covers and choreography, but it quickly morphed into something else.


When she was 14, McRae shared her first original song on the channel titled "One Day." The heartfelt piano ballad quickly amassed over 37 million views (it now has over 40 million, as of this writing), and before McRae could wrap her head around that, she started getting calls from several record label execs. Fans can still find a discography of the songs she wrote before she got signed to RCA Records on this channel, which has since been renamed to "Tate McRae."

McRae told Numéro that, before she created the channel, she had dreamed about becoming a singer. "In my head, from a young age, I was like, 'I want to be a pop star,'" she said. The YouTube channel gave her a way to give expression to her feelings through music and share them with fans. "I feel like once the music thing just naturally started to happen and naturally came into my life, it was all very in the moment. The exciting, surreal moments that were happening that I would have never really expected because I was just writing because it was fun for me," she said.


Tate McRae has an alter ego

This might be hard to believe, but Tate McRae is a very shy, reserved person. If you're struggling to connect that side of her with the persona you see at her shows, that would be because McRae has an alter ego that makes an appearance when she steps onstage. Meet Tatiana, who McRae described to Billboard as "ballsy, so loud and obnoxious." McRae credits her hit song, "Greedy," to her alter ego. She described the song as "pretty savage" and said it was a deviation from the music she typically makes, but she just allowed herself to let loose in the studio while writing it. "I was like, 'I don't really give a f***. I just want to say what I want to say and I want to be 20 years old," she said. Tatiana continued to make appearances throughout the making of McRae's sophomore album, "Think Later." She showed a bolder side of herself, and those who had her debut album on repeat will notice the difference.


McRae told People that, when it comes to performing onstage, Tatiana usually takes over completely. "I'm a pretty reserved Canadian who's pretty shy in big groups. But I get onstage, and sometimes I'll black out and be like, 'What the f*** is up, Boston?' And my mom's like, 'Whoa, where did this come from?' Just a totally different side of me. [Tatiana is] feistier and doesn't really give a s***."

She went through a bit of an identity crisis after moving to LA

Los Angeles might be dubbed the City of Angels, but it's not always heaven, and Tate McRae learned just how easy it can be to lose yourself in Tinseltown. Suddenly, she found herself bombarded with other people's ideas and opinions of who she should be as an artist.


"When I first moved to LA, I got put into a bunch of writing sessions with a lot of different people. And I was so confused because I was being fed so many different opinions on who I should be, how I should talk, what I should say, and what kind of music I should put out," McRae said during an interview with the Grammys. She credits the fact that she managed to find herself amid the chaos to her penchant for never listening to other people. 

"I mean, that sounds horrible," she quipped, explaining that she's someone who follows her gut and that it ultimately helped her to hone her sound and figure out who she wants to be as an artist. "[I]t was really confusing for a while, because I was like, 'Who the hell am I?'" she admitted. Music was once again the tool that helped her to figure it out. "I was having a full identity crisis. And then when I started writing music that was like, 'Oh, this is how I'm feeling,' that's when it started to settle down a bit," she said.


Tate McRae is a very private person

She might wear her heart on her sleeve, but Tate McRae is someone who likes to live a private life. "I'm kind of a loner," she told Numéro. "Even with my friends and stuff, I keep to myself a lot." This might be hard to believe when you listen to her music and watch her Instagram Stories, but McRae says she tries to find a balance between what she keeps to herself and what she shares with her fans. "I think you definitely have to pick and choose what moments you put out on the internet because once it's on the internet it stays on the internet forever and then you can't take it back," she explained.


When it comes to her career and her songs, she loves to share everything with her fans because it makes her feel connected to them. "I feel like they're my friends. They're people that are my age, I see them at concerts and that's cool, so I just get to share everything with them," she said. But McRae admits that there's a time and place for everything, and as much as she loves to share some aspects of her life on social media, she believes in putting away her phone every now and then when she spends time with friends and family. "There's so many moments when you're with your family or you're with your friends and you don't need phones out," she said.

She has received various accolades

Tate Mcrae might've gotten snubbed at the 2023 Grammys, but she's got many other accolades to boast about. First of all, she was named as one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 candidates and was the youngest musician to make the list. She also landed a spot on Billboard's 21 Under 21 list, and Rolling Stone named her one of the top 10 biggest breakthrough artists of 2020. McRae also received two nominations for the Billboard Music Awards. Nominations aside, she's also picked up a few awards, including a People's Choice Award, an MTV Video Music Award, four iHeart Music Awards, and a whopping nine Juno Awards.


Even though McRae probably needs to put up a new trophy case by now, she told Numéro that her success still feels surreal. "[It's] really such a huge honor and I still can't even wrap my head around half the things that have happened in this year," she told the outlet in 2021. Of course, along with the disbelief, McRae has experienced giddy excitement. "It's such an honor to be amongst all those artists and recognized like that. I feel very blessed," she said.

With all the accolades comes more pressure too. "I think I've always been like that, if something happens it's all right, now I have to level up. And now I have to challenge myself even more in my writing and even more in my music," she admitted.


Tate McRae's success hasn't sunk in yet

When you skyrocket to fame during a global pandemic like Tate McRae did, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that you are, in fact, famous in the real world and not just a short-lived internet sensation. After her song "One Day" blew up on YouTube, McRae had a hard time believing the hype would last. "It's interesting because I think I have a really bad case of impostor syndrome where I feel like, 'I don't even know what that was. Maybe that was just a lucky accident,'" she told "Today." But it wasn't an accident; it was really happening.


McRae has been open about how she sometimes feels like she doesn't belong in the music industry. "I have this vision that I'm not supposed to be there. So I'll show up to a venue or something, and I'm like, 'No one will show up.' It's very hard for me to grasp," she confessed during a Grammy interview. The reality of her fame hit McRae when she started doing shows after the pandemic. She told People that her band laughs at her when she goes a little berserk with excitement before a show. "[A]t least once a week, when I'm at festivals, I'll be like, 'Wow, I sing!'" she told the outlet, adding that she still can't believe it when the crowd sings her songs with her. "It feels like a dream," she said.


She switched to new management in 2022

Tate McRae put her money where her mouth is and followed her gut when it came to deciding to switch to new management in 2022.

While working on her first album, McRae had a hard time finding her voice at first. She felt like she was working with "every producer on the planet," as she put it to Billboard. "I was getting songs from 10 different people and being like, 'OK, here's an album,'" she said. This wasn't what she wanted — her goal was to collaborate more and have her voice heard. She was still new to the process of making an album and didn't want to upset anyone. But as we now know, that is no longer how she rolls. "I was lost in the whirlwind of it all, and it got to a point where I was like, 'I don't feel like I'm being respected as a young woman, and I don't think I'm being heard in the ways that I want to be,'" she said of her former management. "I had to figure out who [in the industry] was actually on my side and who wasn't ... so a lot was shifting behind the scenes."


McRae ended up signing with Full Stop Management (which counts the likes of Harry Styles among its clients) and told Billboard that it was one of the best decisions she ever made. She wanted management that represented her values, and that's exactly what they do.

Tate McRae's asthma makes dancing and singing onstage extra challenging

Anyone who's ever watched Tate McRae live knows that you get both a music and dance performance in one. While most of us can't even speak coherently after a hefty cardio session, McRae somehow manages to dance and sing onstage, but it's not as easy as she makes it look.


While making an appearance on Etalk, McRae answered some questions from fans, and one wanted to know how she managed to sing and dance at the same time. "Guys, this has been a struggle," she admitted. "To catch your breath after moving and jumping around the stage is so hard. I feel like it's been a work in progress," she said. As with everything else, McRae is trying to better her ability to sing during dance routines, but she is facing some obstacles that are making it a tad harder. "I'm asthmatic," she explained, "I'm making my whole life a whole lot harder."

One would never be able to tell. If there's one thing we do know, however, it's that McRae will work on her ability to pull off intense dance routines while singing until she becomes a total pro at it because that's just what she does.