VMA Push Nominee Tate McRae Reveals How Songs ‘Vicious’ & ‘You Broke Me First’ Are Connected

Tate McRae is up for Best New Artist at the 2020 MTV VMAs, and after watching her 'vicious' video, it's easy to see why. She shares the song's inspiration behind the track and more.

Marvel’s Black Widow may be delayed until November, but for those who need a superhero fix, look no further than Tate McRae‘s new video for “vicious.” The animated visual, released on Aug. 10, sees the rising music star channel her superhero alter-ego to help move on from a heartbreak. One part revenge fantasy, one part empowerment anthem, and ultimately – as she puts it – “badass,” the track shows why Tate is one of the fresh, new voices nominated for Best New Artist at this year’s MTV VMAs.

In fact, looking at the Video Music Awards’ category for PUSH Best New Artist is like gazing into the future of music – and the future looks good. Tate is nominated alongside Roddy Ricch, YUNGBLUD, Doja Cat, Lewis Capaldi, and Jack Harlow. While only one can take home the Moonperson trophy, the real winners are– as cliché as it sounds – the fans, since these superstars-in-the-making have just gotten started when it comes to their careers. Tate herself released her debut EP in January – all the things i never said, on RCA Records – and she followed that up with tracks “vicious” and “you broke me first.”

“I really had no words. I was in shock,” she tells HollywoodLife about the VMA nomination. “It’s so cool to be nominated in this category with those artists, and I never thought it could happen to me.” Fans can cast their vote in the category here.

The teenage So You Think You Can Dance finalist talked with us about the connection between her two latest tracks. She also touched upon her past work as a voice actress, if she’s going to trade her native Canada for Los Angeles, and how she’s stayed grounded during the past months of quarantine.

Tate McRae, one of the future supestars of music (Fiona Garden)

HollywoodLife: Your song with Lil Mosey has been out for a bit now. How have fans reacted to this track?

Tate: “vicious” is a totally different direction from anything I’ve ever done. So far, my fans have been super supportive of this track, and a lot of my friends have been hearing it on the radio. A lot of them also freaked out that Mosey was on the track.

What inspired this song? 

I think after the release of “you broke me first,” I wanted to change my perspective up. I have a lot of songs that recreate heartache and that painful feeling you get after, whereas ‘vicious’ is the opposite. It’s the badass, power feeling you get when you finally move on.

“vicious” could be interpreted as the continuation of the previous single lyrically, with the singer of “you broke me first” getting over their heartbreak. This might be reading into something that isn’t there, but is there a connected narrative with these songs?

Yes, I definitely think it’s a connected narrative. I want all my songs to be a continuation of each other, which is why I write about everything I go through in my life. People always experience a rollercoaster of emotions when they fall in love (or out of it) — that’s why I try to write and sing from both sides of it.

You went animated for the “vicious” lyric video, which was a subtle callback to your work as a voice actress. Are you still interested in pursuing voice work? And – if you could land a role on any show, be it SpongeBob, something on Adult Swim, or an anime series, what would you pick?

I love animated shows and voice-over work. I did my first ever voice ever show when I was 7, and continued to do it for the next 3 years. Being in front of my mic, in the studio has always just been a very comfortable space for me.

You just completed a sold-out tour in support of your debut EP. How was that? Was there one part of touring that surprised you – like, I’ve heard some musicians speak of how they’re amazed by how much downtime there is.

Touring was amazing. I’ve been traveling non-stop since I was 9 years old (for dance), which is why I was kind of used to all the flying and moving around. The shocking part for me was the adrenaline you get when you’re onstage. It’s a totally different feeling from dancing onstage, because it’s a very internal thing, whereas for singing you’re connecting, singing, and performing with the audience.

Basking in her accomplishments (Courtesy of Ashey Osborn)

Are you still planning to move to Los Angeles? The recent pandemic has shown that a lot can be done remotely. If not LA, where would you like to call home?

I still am in high-school, so I have to finish that before I move anywhere. But before the pandemic, I was back and forth from LA and Calgary almost every two weeks, so I will definitely plan to move within the next couple of years.

You have a well-established dance background (a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance, winner of many national competitions). Has this helped in your music career – like, has it given you the discipline to keep at it? Or a boost in confidence – “Oh, I can do this show. I’m a boss. I can nail a perfect pirouette. This performance will be easy.”

The dance industry is hardcore, which is why I think it prepped me a lot for music. I’ve always been a pretty dedicated, motivated, and hardworking kid, so when I get into the studio or have to film/perform something, I’ll do it non-stop until I’m happy with it.

Finally, you’ve said that you “can’t go a day without doing something, or I will literally drive myself crazy in my own head.” With that said, how have you been keeping sane during the pandemic? Have you picked up a new skill or hobby?

I’m still recording, filming, and dancing even though I’m at home. I just finished all my online school work, so that definitely took a load off [laughs]. I’ve also been doing a lot of training and working out, which has been fun for me.

You can vote for Tate McRae in for PUSH Best New Artist in the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards here. Her song “vicious” is out now.

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