Tate McRae holding her hand to her face while wearing a blue outfit


Pop Singer Tate McRae Used To Talk To Ghosts

The 18-year-old singer and summer’s breakout star takes on the NYLON 19.

One of NYLON’s favorite song of the summer contenders this year is a bit of a dark horse. “You” by DJ Regard, Troye Sivan, and rising singer Tate McRae may not be the season’s biggest chart topper, but the underrated pop banger is dangerously addictive in another way. With its dark but breezy pulsing dance beat, the song is exactly what you want blasting through the club when you’re messy drunk and trying to take your mind off that failed summer romance.

Alas, some of the best summer bops are the saddest — a fact that McRae can attest with her own angsty pick: “My Spotify song of the summer would have to be WILLOW’s ‘t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l,’” she tells NYLON. “I think it is an absolute summer smash, and I've been listening to it on repeat lately.”

McRae, 18, stepped into the music scene back in 2017 when an original song of hers went viral on YouTube, and she has been having a bit of a moment the past year and a half. After her ballad “you broke me first” heavily made the rounds on TikTok in 2020, she released her debut EP Too You To be Sad and followed that up with a couple of high-profile collaborations, including the aforementioned bop and “Working” with Khalid. Earlier this month, the breakout star became the face of Spotify’s new Summer Breakouts playlist, and even headlined its corresponding concert attended by A-listers like Dixie D’Amelio and Madison Beer.

Ahead of the show, NYLON caught up with McRae as she took on our NYLON Nineteen questionnaire, where she talked about everything from her experiences with ghosts, dancing with Justin Bieber on stage when she was 12, and why her beauty routine will always be “less is more.”


What’s your astrological sign (and do you believe in it)?

My sign is Cancer and I am way too involved in astrology and every single article written about it. I think it is so accurate, but I think people need to be careful about not relying on it for their relationships.


Do you believe in ghosts, (and have you ever seen one)?

I do believe in ghosts... When I was younger I think I was super open-minded and my parents said that I would always talk to them and stuff. I would be absolutely terrified if I saw one at my age right now.


What’s your go-to drink order?

At the moment, I am really into matcha lattes with almond milk.


Who would be the three headliners of the music festival of your dreams?

Probably Post Malone, Justin Bieber...and who else? Someone like Avril Lavigne. That would be amazing.


What's the weirdest snack that you make?

I make a lot of weird snacks, but usually this is the worst one: I will take a rice cake and just put a plain piece of turkey on it. I eat it all the time.


What's a bad habit of yours that you've been meaning to fix?

I bite my nails when I get nervous... so my acrylic nails always chip and fall off. I also twiddle with my rings a lot and then they end up flying across the room and I end up losing them all.


What was the last internet rabbit hole you went down?

Oof, the last internet hole I went down. I think it was a Cody Ko compilation. I think he is hilarious.


Describe your worst date in three words.

Honestly, just awkward, forced, and...boring. I want to go on a very adventurous date and do something that's fun and not just a sit-down awkward encounter that you can't really get out of.


If you could be in any music video, what would it be?

I would love to be in a Lil Nas X music video. His music videos are some of the most iconic videos we're seeing this year. He definitely has the coolest concepts ever, and I'm obsessed with every single one of his videos.


What was your first concert, and what are your memories of it?

My first concert was actually Justin Bieber on his Purpose tour. It was funny because he did this thing where he would pick a couple dancers to perform one song with him in each city. So I got to watch the show from the pit and perform and dance on stage with him when I was only 12. I still get that first-time excitement every time I hit the stage, like this past week when I performed at Spotify’s Summer Breakouts Playlist event in Los Angeles.


What was your favorite movie as a kid?

I think this is just a Christmas classic, but Elf. I will never, ever, ever get sick of it. I think that movie is iconic. No matter what time of the year.


What's your favorite meme/internet joke and why?

Honestly, I don't look at a lot of internet memes and jokes because I'm literally just the worst at scrolling through social media. I never ever scroll through my Instagram, but I tend to look at Cancer astrology pages and relate them back to my life, a thousand percent.


What's your go-to breakup song?

I feel like I change it up quite a bit, but Lewis Capaldi is always a great one. Same with Jeremy Zucker and Chelsea Cutler... their collaborations make me want to die when I am going through anything. They are definitely the cure.


What is your favorite red carpet look of all time worn by someone else?

Usually when Zendaya wears a suit, I literally am obsessed and will stare at that photo for days. So definitely Zendaya, she has iconic looks.


What is one thing everyone should buy that is under $10?

Probably Connect Four because it's a really fun game, and me and my friends play it all the time.


What is one question you never want to be asked again?

The one question that I hate is “Who is Tate McRae?” because I have no idea and I don't think I will ever know who that is. So it is very difficult to put into words.


What reality show would you most like to appear on?

I would love to just appear in one of the episodes of RuPaul's Drag Race. It would be a very, very fun show to be on.


What is your best beauty tip or trick?

Always less is more. When I try to do too much to my face or have too much time, I end up butchering everything and it looks splotchy and dirty and gross. So the cleaner and simpler, the better.


What is your favorite fast food place, and what’s your order?

If I'm gonna hit a fast food restaurant I would probably just go to McDonald's and get chicken nuggets and fries.