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YouTube Creator Tate McRae

6 questions with ‘Artist on the Rise’ Tate McRae

Singer-songwriter Tate McRae tells us what drives her musical work.

YouTube “Artist on the Rise” Tate McRae was born to light up the stage. By the age of 16, the Canadian singer-songwriter had amassed 114 million views on YouTube through her emotionally raw lyrics, intimate instrumentation, and dynamic delivery. We recently caught up with Tate to get a look into what drives her musical work.

Your official video for “you broke me first” has gotten more than 16 million views on YouTube since it premiered in April. Did you ever think a video shot on your cell phone during quarantine would take off like that? How did you come up with the concept and was it hard to execute?

Tate: I never expected that video — let alone that song — to do as well as it did. Quarantine happened and I still had to film a music video, so I had to work with the circumstances. I was actually really happy with how it turned out because it felt so raw and real, especially for such a vulnerable song. We ended up taping my iPhone to the front of my mom’s car, stacking it up with tissue boxes, and shot one take off of Video Star. It was quite the process. I sent it in and then after adding visual effects, it actually turned out pretty sick. 

You’ve danced your whole life and are also a musician. How would you say your dancing has influenced your music, and how has your music influenced your dancing? 

Tate: I feel like dancing is so hardcore that it can prepare you for a lot. Dancing in front of cameras, on stages, under pressure are all little things that I think help me with my music and performances. In my opinion, music and dance definitely coincide. They are both two different ways of expressing yourself through music, but pretty similar when it comes to connecting to the audience. 

You have done some co-writing and said that you love working with others because it helps you tell stories from other perspectives. Is there anyone would you love to co-write with — past or present — and why?

Tate: I would love to write with Julia Michaels or Post Malone. I have an obsession with Julia’s writing and have always. She knows how to pinpoint stories and emotions to the T, and I feel like working with her would open up my perspective. I’m also just a huge fan of Post and would be interested in what his writing process is like. 

Music videos and video in general seem to play an important role in your craft. How has your approach to creating and uploading videos evolved over the years?

Tate: YouTube has always been my favorite platform to spread music. It’s always been my safe place for posting songs. I used to post a new original song every single Friday, and it was crazy to see how many people my songs connected with. As an artist now, for my listeners to follow my journey and watch me grow is the coolest thing. They get older with me and experience me evolving into new chapters of my life. 

Tell us a little bit about what it’s been like to be a YouTube “Artist on the Rise.”

Tate: It’s been super cool. I’m so grateful and honored to be working with such an influential platform. Watching all the past “Artists on the Rise,” it’s crazy to think I am living through it. To be able to share my music and dance all whilst collaborating with YouTube... it’s a dream.  

You’re stuck on a desert island and only have enough memory on your cell phone to download one song to listen to. (Don’t worry, you have wifi, and more importantly, a rescue team is on the way.) Which song do you download and why?

Tate: “Up Up and Away” by Juice Wrld. I have no idea why, but I can never get sick of that song. It’s so catchy and fresh, and keeps me going throughout the day.  

For more insights from Tate, go here.