At 20, Rising Pop Star Tate McRae Has Already Traveled a Long Road

Based on her rigorous resume, it seems like Tate McRae’s path was always leading to stardom. At the ripe age of 20, the Canada native has already racked up a two EPs and a pair of albums, making a name for herself with hit singles “You Broke Me First” and “Greedy.” But it was a long road she took to get to where she is now. Below, we look at the journey of the rising pop superstar.

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A Whole New World

McRae was born and raised in the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, and entrenched in dance culture throughout childhood, as her mother was a dance teacher. Her family spent a three-year stint in West Asia when her father’s job landed in the country of Oman. The relocation allowed her the opportunity to be exposed to different cultures and countries; the family traveled to a vast array of places, including Thailand, Egypt, Vietnam, and all over Europe. “Be open-minded and take everything in,” she told the Chicago Tribune about what traveling taught her as a child. “Cultures are all so diverse and different and you can learn so much from the people.”

The family returned to Canada when she was 8 and there she became further immersed in the dance world. She was exposed to all types of dance styles while a part of the YYC Dance Project, and she later attended the School of Alberta Ballet.

Dance Fever

McRae is as much a dancer as she is a singer. Her childhood days training as a dancer turned into a highly successful career. At the age of 10, she was named Best Female Dancer in the mini category at the 2013 Dance Awards in New York City. She graduated to winner of the junior category in 2015, the same year she earned a two-week scholarship at the Berlin State Ballet company in Germany.

She crossed a career threshold in 2016 when she became the first Canadian finalist on So You Think You Can Dance during Season 13 and landed in third place. That same year, she shared the stage with Justin Bieber, performing during his Calgary show on his Purpose World Tour. She also appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “It was amazing to work with all the different choreographers and learn so many different styles,” she told Everly Mag about performing on SYTYCD. “My goal was to stay until the end, so I could learn as much as possible and work with the most people.  I was super happy I achieved that.”

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Music Breakthrough

In 2017, McRae started showing off her music skills by performing original songs she wrote on her YouTube series, Create With Tate. With her videos amassing millions of views and earning certifications for her independently released songs, she released her debut EP All the Things I Never Said in 2019—its lead single, “Tear Me Apart,” co-written by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell. She quickly followed with her second EP, Too Young to Be Sad, that marked another career breakthrough. The lead single, “You Broke Me First,” went viral on TikTok. It became her first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 17. It also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart and No. 2 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart. It earned McRae the feat of being the No. 2 most-streamed song in 2020. Among her other credits are a hit collaboration with Troye Sivan, “You,” and starring in Olivia Rodrigo’s “Bad Idea Right?” video.

Since then, McRae’s success has shown no signs of slowing down. She dropped her debut album, I Used to Think I Could Fly, in 2022 and it reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200. It set the stage for “Greedy,” the first single from her 2023 sophomore album, Think Later, and the song that has catapulted her into superstardom. “Greedy” followed a similar path to “You Broke Me First,” as it went viral on TikTok before crossing over to the Billboard charts, where it peaked at No. 11 on the Hot 100. It was also a hit around the world, reaching No. 1 in Austria, Malaysia, the Netherlands, among other territories.

“We started writing this really sassy song about the feeling of having utter confidence being like, ‘Yeah, it takes a lot to really get me to open up,'” she explained to People about “Greedy.” “And it ended up feeling like this really cool female empowerment song, which I loved.”

McRae is set to embark on the Think Later World Tour in 2024.

Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

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