The Untold Truth Of Tate McRae

Every once in a while, a singer comes out of seemingly nowhere to take over the summer music scene, and in 2020, that singer was Tate McRae. The singer and dancer first came into the spotlight when she was on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" in 2016, with the entertainer becoming the first Canadian finalist at just 13 years old. Then in 2017, her song "One Day" went viral on YouTube, and she signed with RCA Records in 2019. She released her first EP in January 2020, and on August 30, 2020, she performed at the MTV VMAs pre-show. And that, friends, is how a pop star was born. She wasn't yet a household name (unless you were a teenager on social media), but many had a feeling that she would be. Hey, it happened to Billie Eilish, right?

McRae's song "You Broke Me First" began steadily climbing the charts upon its release in April 2020, per Official Charts, and it would be the first of many McRae hits to become popular among the TikTok set. It was also the start of something big — McRae has evolved a lot as an artist over the span of a few years, and making some major changes to her sound has done nothing to slow her momentum down. Instead, her star has shot into the stratosphere.

Tate McRae has an alter ego

Tate McRae's meteoric rise continued in 2021 when she was invited to perform "You Broke Me First" on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." The following year, she dropped her debut album, "I Used to Think I Could Fly," and announced that she was going on tour. McRae was also slated to perform at some huge music events, such as Lollapalooza. According to the "Feel Like S***" singer, she pulls a Beyoncé during live performances by adopting an alter ego with a personality that differs wildly from her own. Like the artist occasionally known as Sasha Fierce, McRae has also given her alter ego a name: Tatiana. In a 2023 interview with Billboard, McRae said Tatiana is "ballsy, so loud and obnoxious."

McRae's fans, who call themselves Tater Tots, were introduced to Tatiana when their idol went on tour for the first time. However, McRae didn't plan this — she didn't realize her alter ego existed until she stepped out in front of those massive crowds. This is how she discovered that she's in her element when she has the eyeballs and ears of thousands of fans trained on her. "When I get on stage, I'm a totally different person than when I'm at home," she told V Magazine. "I feel like I'm such an introvert, and then as soon as I get on stage I want to talk to every single person in the room and I never want to leave." 

Why Tate McRae's voice sounds the way it does

In "She's All I Wanna Be" and some of Tate McRae's other hits, fans might notice she sounds a bit nasally. Otherwise, her voice is clear and smooth when she sings — but she speaks with a noticeable rasp. She explained to Hits Radio in 2022 that this is because she has asthma. "I literally take my inhaler like every day, and I think that's how my tone was created," she said. A TikTok video of McRae puffing on her inhaler before a show and giving the camera a thumbs up with her signature hockey glove has received almost half a million likes as of this writing. Fun fact: McRae told W Magazine that a hockey glove became part of her tour wardrobe because her brother plays hockey and her family loves the sport. "And I'm Canadian, so I have to like it," she added.

McRae told Soundazed that she always brings a humidifier with her on the road because of her asthma, and we're guessing the condition might also have something to do with why she said to Stingray, "I can't live without throat coat tea on tour." Being able to breathe easy on stage while she sings and dances is of utmost importance to McRae, and she told Audacy's Bru that there's a particular exercise she does to help her prepare for her physically taxing performances. "Sometimes I'll jump on trampolines and sing," she revealed.

Greedy made a lot of Tate McRae's dreams come true

In 2023, Tate McRae found herself with a huge hit on her hands when her song "Greedy" climbed to the No. 3 slot on the Billboard Hot 100. It was a marked shift for the singer from the "sad girl" songs she was known for to a pop bop she could dance to. While the track would allow her to achieve her dream of melding her love of music and moving her body, she found experimenting with a new sound daunting at first. "It just really terrified me," she said on "Q with Tom Power." However, she overcame her fear and was rewarded with an invitation to perform "Greedy" on "Saturday Night Live." Of her reaction to learning that she would be on the show, she recalled, "I just started crying."

When McRae filmed the music video for "Greedy," she also got to cross an activity off her bucket list: driving a Zamboni inside a hockey stadium. However, it wasn't exactly a thrilling ride. "I was maybe going three miles per hour, max. I was going so slow. It's hard!" she told GQ. She got to move a little faster when she wasn't behind the wheel of her cubical ice rink ride. "I got to actually be a dancer and make a video that I was like, 'This is sick. I want to show my friends.' I never ever used to feel that way,'" she told Billboard.

The song Tate McRae completed in under two hours

"Greedy" wasn't the only hit from Tate McRae's sophomore album, "Think Later." Her song "Exes" also climbed to the upper half of the Billboard Hot 100, proving that she's a bona fide pop princess. She told People that the track was completed at a remarkable speed. "We wrote it in 30 minutes — finished the whole song in 60 to 90 minutes, had it fully produced and vocal tracked and everything," she recalled. In the song's music video, she pays homage to Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty," dancing in a grimy boxing ring. However, McRae's dance moves have been likened to those of Aguilera's rival from the era when bubblegum pop went bad in the best way: Britney Spears. Of being compared to the "Toxic" singer, McRae said, "It's obviously an honor. I mean, Britney's the queen."

While speaking with GQ, McRae revealed that the bales of hay and other Western elements in the "Exes" video are a nod to her Calgarian roots. She explained that it was an annual tradition for her family to attend the Calgary Stampede when she was growing up, so this is why the video has a rodeo theme. For her "Dirrty" tribute, she even dances in a small cattle pen. "A lot of my album campaign, we tried to draw a lot of inspiration from my roots and little Calgary-inspired things to try and make it a bit more of my identity," she said.

Tate McRae's love life was the talk of the NHL All-Star game

Before Tate McRae embraced the hockey aesthetic for her "Greedy" music video, she dated a professional hockey player: Cole Sillinger of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sillinger had previously revealed that he had a crush on McRae, which she joked about in a 2022 ET interview. "I was like, 'I can forever hold this to you 'til the day you die, that I was your celebrity crush,'" she said. Their relationship lasted from 2021 to 2023, and Sillinger became the target of a mean-spirited Instagram meme when McRae was asked to perform at the 2024 NHL All-Star Game. A post on the account @blind_ref_logic suggested McRae dumped Sillinger because he cheated on her, which resulted in Sillinger experiencing some karma of the humbling variety. As the meme creator pointed out, McRae was asked to participate in All-Star weekend while her ex was overlooked. "Potentially the greatest fumble of a female in human history," the caption read. But in the comments section, Sillinger denied being unfaithful. "All false my guy," he wrote.

McRae co-captained a team during All-Star weekend, an honor that was also bestowed on her fellow Canadian singers Michael Bublé and Justin Bieber. But it was the time McRae spent with Bieber's "Stay" collaborator, Kid Laroi, that got everyone talking. After the All-Star Game, McRae and Laroi were filmed walking hand-in-hand. According to Theyoungpaps TikTok account, they left a Toronto restaurant together and headed back to the same hotel.