In 2024, international pop star Tate McRae’s youthful congeniality harkens back to a golden era of pop music, when entertainers truly entertained in every facet of their existence.

Tate wears bodysuit GOOD AMERICAN / Helmet CONRAD MUSCARELLA / Necklace talent’s own / Boots BUERLANGMA

There’s no denying that Tate McRae has all the trappings of an icon. She’s charming and easy-going in interviews—in her chat with Apple Music’s resident DJ and host, Zane Lowe, she exudes self-awareness, noting that she only started songwriting because she didn’t know how else to communicate her feelings. She’s incredibly dedicated, as most competitive dancers are; at age 13, McRae was on the thirteenth season of So You Think You Can Dance? and made it farther than any non-American participant ever had on the show. She’s also pretty pragmatic. Over email, she tells GEN V that she approaches her stage work much like an athlete would her sport, adding, “Someone once told me it takes ten thousand hours to become an expert at something. I keep this in mind when practicing singing, dancing, or any part of my show.”

It’s fascinating that someone who’s not yet a year into her twenties (21 in July!), has garnered hundreds of millions of views on YouTube, and is in the middle of the European tour tied to her sophomore album THINK LATER (playing some of her biggest shows to date) appears to be totally, utterly grounded. Writing to us after her show in Stockholm, Sweden, McRae shares, “I just feel so grateful. I think I always hoped this would be my life—I knew I wanted to dance, perform, and entertain. But getting to sing my songs to an audience of people singing the lyrics I wrote in my bedroom back to me is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Perhaps it’s the Canadian effect, since McRae is from Calgary and the Canadian psyche is a complete mystery to the American writing this piece, but McRae’s balanced, affable coolness– one might suspect—is not so much a Canadian thing as it is the confidence that comes from dedicating most of your life to perfecting your craft, one that largely involves being on stage. In other words, McRae has probably far surpassed her ten thousand hours. And thus her perceived effortlessness—in the way that she moves, stands, and talks—is merely a reflection of all that hard work.

McRae comes by her drive honestly—she inherited a competitive streak from her parents. “My family is very competitive and loves sports. This has definitely influenced the performer I am and how I treat rehearsals,” she says. Tucker, McRae’s older brother (in McRae’s song “calgary ‘’ she jokes that, though she is 20, she’s still trying to get him to like her), is currently an ice hockey player at Dartmouth College. Tanja Rasner, McRae’s mother, was her dance teacher for “many years’’ and is the owner of the YYC Dance Project, a dance team that partners with the prestigious Alberta Ballet School (a photo of McRae doing a standing split is on the YYC’s landing page). Honing a physical skill to the point of going pro is kind of McRae’s family’s thing. And it seems to be really working for them.

When it comes to McRae’s future, the world is hers. She can sing, she can dance, she can write, she can hold her own in a high-profile interview, and she even wants to act. “When I was younger, I used to dream of being on Broadway,” she shares. “Acting is definitely something I am interested in—should the right role come around, I would be very game.” So, if you don’t catch her in one of her upcoming tours (she will be performing across North America, Australia, and Asia in the next few months), perhaps you might next catch her on the big screen.

This story appears in the pages of GEN V5: now available for purchase!

Photography Daniella Midenge

Fashion Nicola Formichetti

Creative Director Stephen Gan

GEN V Editor-in-Chief Mathias Rosenzweig

Editor Kevin Ponce

Makeup Lilly Keys (A-Frame)

Hair Chad Wood

Manicure Sarah Chue (Exclusive Artists MGMT)

Executive Producer Dana Brockman (viewFinders)

Producer Frank DeCaro (viewFinders)

Photo Assistants Mike Allen, Kimberly Hunt

Fashion Assistants Arut Arustamyan, Frankie Benkovic, Vance Medeiros, Lokela Blanc

Makeup Assistant Elaina Karras

Production Assistant Justice Beverly

Location Studio Daniella Midenge

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