Interview: Dancer and Singer Tate McRae

Tate McRae is a dancer, singer, creator, and role model to watch.

At just 14 years old, the Canadian performer has built an impressive and authentic career path.  From winning Best Dancer at The Dance Awards, to competing in So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation, to releasing original music, Tate McRae is a talented, sweet, and genuine role model.

Teens and tweens love to watch Tate’s dancing and admire her creativity, kindness, and intelligence in the dance fandom community.   In February 2018, our Everly Mag Ambassadors chose Tate as their top-voted role model for the teen community.

Everly Mag talked to Tate McRae all about dance, singing, inspiration, and what’s next for the teen star.

Everly Mag: How did you start dancing?  When was the moment when you knew that dance was your passion?

Tate: I started dancing around the age of 6.  It began as a hobby that I was definitely not seriously interested in.  I loved performing, but hated when I actually had to do what I was told.

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Tate McRae, 14.  Image: Amy J. Gardner

I only started getting serious when my mom took me to New York at age 8.  I was extremely inspired and motivated!  It gave me something to work toward and was the moment when I realized I wanted to dance for the rest of my life.  From then on, I have been training nonstop and am always pushing myself to my greatest potential.

Everly Mag: You’ve had a long dance journey in the past several years.  Tell us about some special moments in your dance career.

Tate: I do not even know where to begin!  A moment that was incredibly special to me was being awarded both Mini and Junior Best Dancer at The Dance Awards, and then touring after each one.  I learned so much and that’s when I began to create and establish relationships with other dancers, teachers, and choreographers.

So You Think You Can Dance was also an amazing opportunity.  Getting to live in Los Angeles for 2 and a half months, doing what I love, was a dream come true.  I [was] exposed to so many new things and I tried to absorb as much knowledge as I could.  Choreographing in general has been quite a journey so far.  I have always choreographed my own solos, from a young age, but now I was given the opportunity to choreograph a music video.  I have been hired to set work on other dancers, and was able to teach my first online class to my own song at CLI Studios.

At my age, I am so grateful to travel around the world and experience so many things that 14-year-olds don’t usually get to experience.

Everly Mag: What was it like being on So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD)?  What did you learn from the experience?

Tate: It was amazing and surreal to be on SYTYCD!  Every day was different.  When we were learning the choreography, most of the day was in the studio.  Then, a couple of days before the show, we would be on set rehearsing onstage.  There were costume fittings, lots of interviews, pre-taped segments, and then in August, we had to add school to the day.

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Tate McRae.  Image: Chehon

It was weird because I never really watched the actual show until it was all over and I was back at home again.  It was amazing to work with all the different choreographers and learn so many different styles.  My goal was to stay until the end, so I could learn as much as possible and work with the most people.  I was super happy I achieved that.

I learned so many amazing lessons from the show and Kathryn [McCormick, Tate’s mentor on SYTYCD].  She is so inspirational and was an incredible mentor.  She really taught me to do what I love and stay true to [myself].

[I learned that] you need to find the motivation and inspiration within yourself to be truly happy.  You need to be happy with YOU.

Everly Mag: Our Everly Ambassadors identified you as one of our top role models for February 2018.  What does it feel like to be a role model to others?  What’s the best advice you could give to teens today?

Tate: Wow, that is crazy to hear.  I am just like everyone else!  I work hard and try to be the best me that I can be.  I have great days and I have bad days – some days, I feel super confident, and [on] others, I question everything!

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Tate McRae.  Image: Cassi Lee Productions

It is hard being a teenager, with things like social media making it even harder.  The best advice I can give anyone is to find things that inspire you and fulfill you.  Surround yourself with people that motivate you, and don’t let yourself be consumed with toxic energy.

Everly Mag: What advice do you have for aspiring dancers?  What are the biggest challenges of becoming a successful dancer?

Tate: Keep working hard and find your own path.  Do not try to be anyone else.  Success will come when you are doing what is right for you.  The professional dance world is actually really small, and there are so many amazing people in it!

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Tate McRae.  Image: Dan Krauss

The challenging thing is that you can never “make it.”  No award or job defines you.  As soon as one project is finished, you are back in the mix working to achieve the next step.  You just have to stay humble and keep pushing yourself to keep growing.

Everly Mag: Outside of dance, what’s your personality like?  How do you like to spend your time?

Tate: I am quite a goof in real life.  I am always forgetting things and I am actually really clumsy!  I love to be around people at times, but then I am an introvert most of the time.  I spend a lot of my free time alone, creating and writing.  I am very picky with [whom] I surround myself, as I value trust and honesty so much.

Everly Mag: Tell us about how you got your start in singing and creating original songs.

Tate: I have actually always [been singing].  I started singing lessons at age 6, and have been writing since then.  At that time, I would put together songs on GarageBand, but they never really made sense.  I used to sing at local Music Festivals and compete in vocal competitions.

Recently, I started a YouTube channel called Create with Tate.  Every week, I choreograph a dance or write/sing a song.  It is constantly pushing me to get my creative juices flowing, as I put something out every single week.  It definitely is a challenge for me on top of my jam-packed schedule, but it is so much fun at the same time.

Everly Mag: What should fans expect from your singing and dancing career in the future?

Tate: I’m actually not sure myself what lies ahead.  I just want to keep growing and exploring new ways of being creative, whether that is through dancing, singing, or acting.  I am constantly evolving and [my] goals are always shifting.

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Image: Maesie Kostynuik

Everly Mag: Who is your dream dance duet partner?  Who is your dream singing duet partner?

Tate: My dream duet partner would probably be Chantel Aguirre or Travis Wall.  I think they are so incredible and [they] give me chills every time I watch them dance.

My dream singing partner would be someone like Shawn Mendes, Alessia Cara, or Khalid.

Everly Mag: What are the 5 things that are most important to you?

Tate: First, family is important to me.  They help keep me grounded and always [have] my back.  Second, following my passion.  Do what makes you happy and do it as best as you can.  The rest will take care of itself.

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Image: Sean Lew Visuals

Third, pushing myself to grow as an artist – try new things constantly, and take risks.  Fourth, surrounding myself with positive energy.  It is not easy to take the high road, but negative energy is wasted energy.

Fifth, [to] always stay humble and kind, no matter what.  You want to be known as the hardest worker in the room, with the greatest presence.

Everly Mag: What are some of your favorite things?

Tate: Favorite song is anything Khalid, Consequences by Camilla Cabello, and NF songs at the moment.  But, my favorite songs change every day!  Favorite movies [are] The Greatest Showman and La La Land.  I love anything that combines singing, dancing, and acting.  I don’t usually watch a lot of TV, but when I do, I’m obsessed with cooking shows.  My favorite food [is] Brussels sprouts or dark chocolate.

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Tate McRae.  Image: Jayna Photography


Everly Mag: What can fans expect from you in the coming months?

Tate: I just finished choreographing and dancing in a music video for a band called Nothing More.  [The video] will be released in March!  I am [also] heading to Cabo in March to perform at Gala De Danza!  This is my second year and I am so excited.  Dancers from all around the world take the stage.  I am so honored to be invited again.

At the end of March, I am heading to NYC to go to Camp Protege.  This is a camp put on by Stacey Tookey – one of my favorite teachers and such a huge mentor of mine!  It is a contemporary workshop with amazing faculty.

Everly Mag: Lastly, any final words of advice for our readers?

Tate: Dream big and never give up.  It sounds cheesy, but it’s true!

Want more Tate McRae?  Find Tate on her website, Instagram, and YouTube.

Read more Everly Mag interviews with dancers, singers, role models, and influencers, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Feature Image Credit: Tate McRae


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