tate mcrae is the teen dance star turned future pop idol
Look out world!
Tate McRae’s debut single “Tear Myself Apart” is -- to put it simply -- a big old emotional banger. The accompanying music video is pretty much what happens when life gets too much and you sad-dance around your room. If your dancing was internationally renowned and you were ridiculously flexible, that is (seriously, some of those moves seem to defy gravity, Matrix style). You see, 16-year-old Canadian dancer Tate first high-kicked her way into the public consciousness back in 2016 when she auditioned for American TV talent show So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation. Naturally, she killed the audition, soon became one of the main competitors and ended up appearing alongside fellow dance prodigy Maddie Ziegler on Dance Moms.
Not content with simply being a talented dancer, Tate can also sing. “I've always written songs and sung in front of my family,” she explains, “but I guess I’d never really told anyone or shared it with the world until the end of 2017, when I started my YouTube channel. That's when it really became a priority and a focus at the same level as my dancing.” Her channel -- boasting almost 2 million subscribers -- is full of covers of Billie Eilish, some very impressive choreography and original songs about teenage love, her parents and, well, her beloved VSCO. Yeah... she’s totally a VSCO girl.
When we catch up with pop’s young dream, she’s fresh from dropping the video for “Tear Myself Apart” and already planning a meeting about her second video -- likely, we’re willing to bet, also self-choreographed. “I'm so excited,” she says, careful to not give anything away. So, before she totally blows up, hold tight to discover the story behind her debut single and what she got up to in Vegas for her 16th birthday.
Hi Tate! Firstly… where did you grow up and what was it like?
I've lived in Calgary, Canada for the majority of my life, but for three years when I was super young I lived in the Middle East. It barely feels like I live here though, because I'm constantly in New York and Los Angeles.
And what's your best childhood memory?
Probably travelling the world. I was so lucky to go to so many places at a young age.
You just released your first official single! When people ask what kind of music you make, what do you tell them?
I honestly have no idea what kind of music I make. I guess you could say it's alternative pop, but I never walk into a writing session with the intention of writing something in a specific genre. If anything, I think the lyrics are the most important part. If they don't connect with me, then no one else is going to feel anything when they listen.
What's “Tear Myself Apart” all about then?
“Tear Myself Apart” is about how when a relationship falls apart, we tend to blame ourselves. It's when you feel so much for someone, and then in return take it out on yourself, even when you're not in the wrong.
How about the self-choreographed music video?
It takes place in a house; we lit the rooms all different colours and I pretty much got to dance from room to room. There's this masked man who shows up in little glimpses throughout the video and he represents the person I'm referring to in the song. I wanted him to wear a mask so that you couldn't identity who he was or put a face to the story.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote? How’d you find your sound?
I swear when I was younger I wrote about a million songs of pure gibberish, so I don't think they had titles. But the first song I put out online was called "One Day". I still feel like I haven't genuinely found my sound though. I started to discover that I loved writing songs in my room, so right now it's just about transitioning my songs into recording studios, working with producers and taking my music to the next level.
Have you started planning your live shows yet? Will you be dancing?
Yes! It's crazy. I’m actually going on tour at the beginning of next year to seven places. Nothing huge, but it's still exciting to get to connect with people and start working on a show I'm proud of. I'll probably be dancing a lil' on stage, but nothing crazy just yet.
You just turned 16! How old do you feel? Did you do something special on the big day?
I mean, I feel 16... but most people I meet say I'm a 25-year-old trapped in a 16-year-old’s body. On my birthday I was at dance nationals in Las Vegas and my friends actually surprised me at midnight -- they came into my hotel room and took me out. It was so fun, there were 15 of us and we stayed out until like 3am.
Fun! Now, can you try to put into words how it feels when you're dancing?
It's kind of an indescribable feeling. Sometimes it can be the most frustrating thing in the world, but other times, nothing in the world could come close to it. It's a surreal feeling when you're just lost in it.
Tell us something not many people know about you...
People probably don't know that I never stop laughing -- like, ever. I think it's getting to be a problem. But for real, people assume I'm super serious and intimidating because of my songs and dancing, but I'm honestly the clumsiest, dorkiest person ever.
We don’t believe it! Tate, you must’ve received a lot of advice in your career so far. Tell us, what're the best words of wisdom anyone ever gave you?
Probably to just trust your gut no matter what. Don't listen to the good or bad feedback, get out of your head, and remain true to yourself no matter what.
- Tate McRae