What We Know About Tate McRae: The So-Called ‘Next Britney Spears’

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Dec 13, 2023

Tate McRae is becoming a notable pop star, taking notes from pop icons as she prepares for her “Think Later” world tour. The 20-year-old pop singer draws inspiration from princess Britney Spears’s performance style.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stones, McRae gushes about Spear’s choreography and iconography, which has helped shape McRae’s style. Some have called Tate McRae the next Britney Spears, but who is this up-and-coming pop sensation? Let’s get into it!

Who Is Tate McRae?

Born Tate Rosner McRae, the pop star was born on July 1, 2003, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her family moved to Oman, a country in West Asia, where she attended The American International School Muscat. At 6 years old, McRae began dance training.

English: Central portion of Calgary skyline, taken from the northeast.

Source: AceYYC/Wikimedia Commons

McRae rose to prominence as the first Canadian finalist in “So You Think You Can Dance” when she was 13 years old. In 2019, the singer caught the attention of RCA Records in 2019 after her songs gained traction online.

Tate McRae’s First Big Hit

McRae’s 2017 song, “One Day,” gained virality on YouTube and TikTok. McRae, who was 14 years old at the time, uploaded the video of her original song to YouTube for her series, “Create With Tate.” The video reached 40 million views.

Tate McRae preforming "One Day"

Source: Tate McRae/YouTube

“I’d always been a big fan of writing poetry and stories, and then one day I locked myself in my room and wrote a song and it kind of went viral overnight,” McRae said during a June 2022 appearance on “Lorraine” (via US Weekly).

How Many Albums Has Tate McRae Released?

The virality of her song caught the attention of RCA Records. In 2019, McRae signed with the recording label and has released two EP’s (“All the Things I Never Said” in 2020, and “Too Young to Be Sad” in 2021). McRae also released two studio albums (“I Used to Think I Could Fly” in 2022, and “Think Later” in 2023).

"Think Later" sequencing written on a white board

Source: Tate McRae via Instagram

McRae gained wider recognition after her 202 single, “You Broke Me First,” became an international hit.

Tate McRea’s Biggest Hit to Date

However, McRae’s biggest hit came from a one-week collaboration with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, songwriter Amy Allen, and producer Jasper Harris. “Greedy,” which became the lead single for her recent album, found inspiration from old 2000s references.

A still of Tate McRae on a zamboni in "Greedy" music video

Source: Tate McRae via YouTube

“On the last day, we’re like, ‘OK, let’s do something totally different,” says McRae to CBC. “Just see what we can do in a really short amount of time and [with] no f–ks given.’ So then we started going back to old 2000s references, like Nelly Furtado and old Britney [Spears] songs.”

You Probably Have Heard "Greedy" Thanks to TikTok

If you’re chronically online, then there is a pretty big chance you’ve heard McRae’s biggest hit “Greedy.” Whether you’ve heard it from Tube Girl on TikTok or the countless videos of people replicating McRae’s choreography from her music video, which sits comfortably at 50 million views on YouTube, the song is a bona fide hit.

Tate McRae @ Fonda Theatre

Source: Justin Higuchi/Wikimedia Commons

The viral song from McRae is a catchy and relatable pop song that serves as a girl power anthem. It also helps that the song’s nostalgic beat, which is reminiscent of fellow Canadian singer Nelly Furtado, is so easy to dance to.


Tate McRae’s Approach to Songwriting 

McRae’s fame has been largely thanks to the virality of her songs on TikTok. However, McRae says that she doesn’t approach songwriting through the lens of creating the perfect 15 seconds. “If I’m being super honest, I feel like whenever someone, like a songwriter, walks into a room and [goes], ‘We need to make something that’s going to catch on TikTok,’ it fully kills it for me,” McRae says to CBC.

Tate McRae @ Fonda Theatre

Source: Justin Higuchi/Wikimedia Commons

McRae mentions that she draws inspiration from her everyday life and the stories of close friends and families. Her introspective lyrics and her ability to connect with her audience through nostalgic pop make her an instant sensation.


McRae Finds Inspiration From the Biggest Pop Stars 

The “Greedy” singer has often mentioned that one of her biggest influences is Britney Spears. In an interview with Billboard, McRae said, “When I look at my favorite icons or videos or performances, it’s always the biggest pop stars, so I think that’s always a goal.”

Britney Spears in her flight attendant outfit in "Toxic" music video

Source: Britney Spears via YouTube

“I think what defines a pop star is how iconic [they are]: Madonna, Britney [Spears], Christina [Aguilera]; they would put on these shows and blow everybody away and make timeless art,” McRae says.


How Tate McRae Balances Her Two Biggest Loves

As you can see, McRae is influenced by singers that have a powerful performance presence. “I’m a songwriter deep down inside, and this is my therapy,” she tells Q. “But I’m also a dancer, and I just had no idea how to put those two worlds together. I was going to the studio every day being like, ‘I want to write a song that I can dance to.’”

Tate McRae dancing

Source: Tate McRae via Facebook

While McRae’s discography has several slow songs, some of her best make you want to dance no matter where you are.


Tate McRae Is Already Making Big Transitions in Her Career

McRae’s first album was a bit of a sleeper among the general public as it contained a lot more slow songs that were deeply introspective. “I was like, god, writing sad songs and being depressing, no one has ever seen a different side of me,” she says in an interview with Variety. “All they’ve seen is victim, depressed Tate.

Tate McRae singing at Fonda Theatre

Source: Justin Higuchi/Wikimedia Commons

Ready to dance again, McRae is shifting gears with her sophomore album. “I want to switch this up, but it feels perfect because I think it’s fun to take a jab at yourself sometimes and your older self,” McRae says.


Is Tate McRae an Industry Plant?

McRae has been facing accusations of being an industry plant, which is an artist who has been manufactured and promoted by the music industry, often lacking genuine talent or an organic fanbase. This theory is based on McRae’s seemingly random explosion in popularity and her age.

Tate McRae performs onstage at the 2022 iHeartRadio Wango Tango at Dignity Health Sports Park on June 04, 2022 in Carson, California.

Source: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

“I’m like, I’ve been grinding since I was 13 years old! I’m probably the furthest thing from an industry plant for how long I’ve been doing this,” McRae says in an interview with Variety.


The Future Is Bright for the Up-and-Coming Pop Star

McRea has already collaborated with big names in the industry and made features on other pop girlies’ music videos, like Oliva Rodrigo’s “Bad Idea Right?” Where is she going from here? For McRae, she is focused on one thing: staying true to herself.

Tate McRae posing for a photo with three girls, including Oliva Rodrigo

Source: Tate McRae via Instagram

McRae is focused on being fully in control of the narrative the public is presented about her, protecting herself, her music, and her fans. “If you’re not hands-on, someone else is going to have to be hands-on,” McRae says to Billboard during an interview for her cover story. “I don’t want to not have a say in any part of this. I want to be on every phone call, I want to be on every creative meeting, I want to be the one giving all the ideas for these music videos. And also because I have fun doing it. I just genuinely love it.”