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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at George Mason University chapter.

How A Hockey Concept Captured Her Fanbase

On August 5, 2023, Canadian Singer/Dancer/Songwriter Tate McRae unveiled a snippet of her pre debut single “greedy” on TikTok. This song took the internet by storm, and once Tate McRae released the music video in September, fans were captivated by her vocal talent, dance skills, and ability to drive a zamboni. This hype continued following the release of her second music video for song “exes,” where fans compared her stage presence to legendary performer Britney Spears.

Finally on December 8, 2023, Tate McRae dropped Think Later, her second studio album where she was photographed wearing two goalie pads on the album cover. With the discography of both dance music and vulnerable tracks, Think Later has become one of my favorite albums of the year and has catapulted Tate McRae to viral popstar status.

One of the reasons that this album concept is so strong is because of its uniqueness and personal connection to Tate McRae. She was born in Calgary, Alberta where ice hockey is incredibly popular. Also, her brother Tucker McRae, plays hockey for the University of Dartmouth. So, from a concept perspective, adding hockey to her image not only distinguishes her from the rest of the pop world but makes sense for her. 

Another reason why the hockey concept works is that her athletic costuming for performances and music videos match the grittiness of songs on the album. Her jerseys in combination with longer sports pants, complete the entire look and aesthetic that Think Later was trying to achieve. Also, we haven’t seen similar outfits since the early 2000s with singer Sporty Spice.

Finally the last way that Tate McRae’s hockey concept has been able to skyrocket her career is by giving her the ability to make memorable appearances at events like the NHL All-Star game. Throughout the Think Later release, Tate McRae was able to perform her songs at a bunch of different events including Jingle Bell Ball, SNL, and Jimmy Fallon. Due to her natural star power, she was able to draw in a very captive audience and that is where a lot of her popularity for this album began to rise.

Then this led to her most recent event which was the NHL All-Star Game held on February 3, in Toronto, Canada. This event also had other popular Canadian stars including Justin Bieber and Micheal Buble. Tate McRae coached her All-Star team and had an incredible halftime performance that included all of her popular hits from the album and all of her typical dance moves executed in way colder conditions. Overall, what can be taken away from Tate McRae’s transformation is the power of visual branding and how it can positively affect an artist. A lot of times many musicians, especially women, have to be constantly reinventing themselves in order to stand out and stay relevant. Although this constant reinvention can be creatively draining, Tate McRae’s Think Later album proves that your concept does not only have to be unique, but it can also be personal to you.

Camila Rosales

George Mason University '26

Camila is a sophomore at George Mason University majoring in Business with a minor in English. Outside of being the Event Director and staff writer for her Hercampus chapter, she is a tour guide and participates in several sustainable initiatives in her area. She writes about fashion, pop culture, and sustainability.