Music

How Tate McRae Became a Budding Pop Star Before Graduating High School

Welcome to On the Rise, a BAZAAR.com series featuring the breakout talents everyone will be talking about. Get to know these fresh faces on the verge of stardom.

Tate McRae is a name you’ll want to look out for. In a short span of time, the 17-year-old singer, songwriter, and dancer has collaborated with Billie Eilish and FINNEAS on “Tear Myself Apart,” dominated TikTok and the Billboard charts with her lead single “You Broke Me First,” and landed spots on both the Forbes 30 Under 30 and Billboard’s One To Watch lists. In this episode of On the Rise, she talks starting out on YouTube, managing newfound fame while still in high school, and working with Eilish.

Watch the music video for McRae’s latest single, “r u ok,” below.

On starting her YouTube channel…

Though McRae says that she always knew she wanted to be a performer, she started taking it seriously once she started her YouTube channel at 13 years old. There, McRae posted a video of herself singing a song that she had written, citing the moment as her “first-ever breakout as a singer.” The song, titled “One Day,” ended up going viral, leading to a deal with a music label.

On finishing high school amid her newfound fame…

“It’s been really crazy over this entire experience because I’m still in high school,” she says. “So, I’ll be back and forth from writing an essay to doing an interview to filming an award show.”

McRae notes one particularly telling incident. “I remember as the EMAs were on TV, I, at the same time, was studying for my social midterm because it was the next day,” she says. “It was the lamest thing ever.”

On working with Billie Eilish and Finneas…

McRae’s first recorded song with RCA Records, “tear myself apart,” was written by the Grammy Award-winning sibling duo, Billie Eilish and Finneas.

“I’m a huge fan of both of them,” the 17-year-old says. “I got to meet Billie and Finneas at a show in LA and we talked about it. It was a really cool experience overall.”

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A post shared by tate mcrae (@tatemcrae)

Watch the full On the Rise episode above to hear McRae reflect on her journey so far and look ahead to what next.

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