TOO YOUNG TO BE SAD is out on RCA Records
With her highly-anticipated debut album on the way, multi-talented Canadian artist Tate McRae will soon solidify her place as one of the biggest names in music.
McRae is a triple threat – an expert on the dancefloor equipped with a stunning voice and the emotive lyrical genius to help craft hit after hit. Widely known for her skills as a dancer, she found her first musical success in 2017 with “One Day,” an original song performed in a viral vlog that caught the attention of RCA Records.
Accumulating a swelling fanbase, by 2019, the young star dropped the Billie Eilish and Finneas co-written “tear myself apart,” the slow-burning, “all my friends are fake,” and the pop bop “stupid,” eventually leading to a staggering 200 million+ streams and her debut EP, all the things i never said, which features “that way.”
“You broke me first,” however, would change everything for Tate McRae. Written in early 2020 during her last in-person, pre-pandemic session with Blake Harnage and Victoria Zaro, the moody, dark-pop scorcher immediately struck a deep chord with listeners to the tune of nearly one billion global streams to date.
Her first platinum hit in eight countries, including the U.S., U.K., and Canada, McRae followed the song with multiple releases, notably “r u ok,” “slower,” and “rubberband,” releases that landed on her recent 2021 smash EP, TOO YOUNG TO BE SAD.
Now, as the world reopens, McRae finds herself in a newly minted position in music with performances secured at major festivals, her most extensive tour in 2022, and a laser focus on her debut album. Read on for my Lolla interview with Tate McRae.
Hi Tate! You are taking the stage at Lollapalooza today. How are you feeling?
I’m so excited but nervous because this is the first big festival I’ve ever done. I’m really curious to see what it’ll be like.
Lollapalooza is an early stop for you ahead of your headline tour. Where else are you playing, and how long have you been in rehearsals?
I’m playing more U.S. festivals in September and my tour starts in January. We had like a week of rehearsals, so it’s been long days and definitely crunch time, but we’re ready, and I’m so pumped.
You’re an expert dancer, so you must already have the work ethic to do that.
Totally. I also think as a dancer, you’re literally trained not to procrastinate at all. So, as an artist now, I feel that I’m good at grasping things quickly, like new choreography and getting into rehearsals. That’s definitely been to my advantage for sure.
You’ve mentioned wanting to be more involved with your choreography. Have you been able to with these new live shows?
Yes, totally. Me and my choreographer Michelle Dawley, who I’ve been working with forever, collaborated on my recent performances and these upcoming shows. It’s been a crazy process leading up to today.
It’s one of the first times you’ll perform your new EP, Too Young To Be Sad. Is there a song you’re excited to perform?
I haven’t really performed “you broke me first” that much, so I’m so excited for that one. Also, “Bad Ones” is fun to play, so I can’t wait for that one.
What was your first indication “you broke me first” was taking off globally in a different way?
I think when I started going on TikTok, and it was every second song. That was definitely a shocker to me. My fans also were just obsessed with it. Like my core fans, they were really obsessed with it, which meant it was relating in a certain way from the beginning.
Did the song going viral during the pandemic give you time to reflect on your path forward?
Totally. I mean, it definitely was interesting because I was supposed to be traveling all around the world as the song was taking off, and I was instead stuck in my house. So there were a lot of things that I couldn’t do, but then I was able to get a bigger perspective on my EP and everything coming up.
You made the music video for “you broke me first” with friends and your iPhone! Will you be involved with future visuals?
Yeah! I’m pretty involved in all of the treatments and ideas for videos. With this album that I’m writing, I’m going to be a lot more involved with the videos, too.
The EP shows your powerful songwriting, especially on “Slower.” How has the song evolved from “ew, feelings” to now?
It’s interesting because I wrote that when I was like 14. Bringing it back to life and completely re-recording it and re-producing it made me also go through a process of feeling like ‘I can’t sing this, I absolutely hate this song,’ to ‘I really love this,’ so there’s a lot of different emotions going into that song.
You’ve talked about this EP sharing one side of your songwriting. Will we see another side on your upcoming debut album?
Totally. I have a lot of different things that I’ve been going through in my life, especially as I’m turning 18 and moving out of the house. A lot’s changing right now, so I think my album definitely has a lot of concepts I’ve never tapped into before. This next chapter is all fresh material I’ve been working on for the last few months.
Do you feel pressure to outdo yourself now that you have a megahit in the world?
Yeah, I feel like my worst critic is myself because I’m the biggest perfectionist in the world. So with this album, some days, I love every single song on the album, and then other days, I despise them all and want to scrap them all, which is a lot to go through.
Are there any past unreleased songs that might make it onto the album?
I think I’m going to start straight from scratch and have it be a whole new part of my life.
You’ve recently released collabs with Khalid, Regard and Troye Sivan, and blackbear. Will we get anything from you soon?
I’ve released a few songs recently, and the thing is they weren’t entirely my songs, so I feel like a part of me wants to take a break, and when my album starts, it’s going to be the best material I’ve ever written. That’s exactly what I want to happen when we start in September.
Have you started working on what will be the follow-up to “Working” with Khalid?
I definitely have ideas of what I want. I’m in the process of finalizing that, but I definitely have an idea of what I want the first couple of singles to be.
What are three items in your festival survival kit?
In-ears, obviously, my inhaler and a humidifier! It works. I have terrible asthma.
What is one personal goal you want to accomplish?
I’m trying to be as present as possible in all of this because I tend to get really focused on what I can do better. I just want to be happy with what I’m doing!