You Broke Me First

Album: yet to be titled (2020)
Charted: 3

Songfacts®:

  • Calgary, Alberta native Tate McRae gained prominence when at age 13 she became the first Canadian finalist on the US reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance, finishing third. She also performed with Justin Bieber during the Calgary date of his 2016 Purpose World Tour.

    McRae first started uploading a stream of primarily dance videos to her YouTube channel at age 9. In 2017 she launched a Create With Tate series, focused on showcasing original songs written and recorded in her bedroom. Her tune "One Day" caught the attention of RCA Records, which signed her in August 2019. This hard-hitting ballad is the lead single from her second EP.
  • "You Broke Me First" finds McRae showing no sympathy for her former boyfriend following their toxic relationship. She told NME it came from the heart.

    "It's such a real song. Someone tried to come back in my life after leaving me with a lot of pain and damage and I decided 'I'm not letting you back in my life, no matter how badly I want you to'. I wrote this song and it became about self-worth. I was definitely feeling empowered. Those real emotions are why people can relate to it because it's genuine and authentic. It's not just made up lyrics that I threw together; it's a very personal song to me."
  • McRae wrote the song in the studio with:

    Singer-songwriter Victoria Zaro, whose other credits include Ryan Riback's "Kinder Eyes" and Justin Caruso's "Talk About Me." She also supplied uncredited vocals for the 2015 Chainsmokers single "New York City."

    Producer Blake Harnage, who has also helmed singles for PVRIS ("Anyone Else," "What's Wrong") and All Time Low ("Dirty Laundry," "Good Times").
  • Tate McRae first released the song on April 16, 2020. It gained momentum after being used to soundtrack emotional POV videos on TikTok and became the Canadian teen's breakout hit worldwide.
  • Tate McRae wrote the anguished lyrics despite never having personally experienced heartbreak. She recalled to Billboard that she penned it during her last in-person writing session before the COVID pandemic hit.

    "I was in an emotional mood that day but had a lot of ideas going through my head," McRae added. "I had written down: 'I don't really care how bad it hurts because you broke me first,' and shaped it into a toxic relationship story. I took experiences from multiple people, friendships and any feelings I've had in the past. The crazy part is that I've never been in a relationship or had my heart broken."
  • McRae was all ready to film a dance-based video until the pandemic ruined her original plans. The singer's label told her to improvise, so she shot the clip on her iPhone. "I drove up to this rooftop [in Calgary] with my friends, taped my phone to the front of my mom's car and propped it up with tissue boxes," McRae recalled. "I pointed the phone towards the sky with a bit of me in the frame. Then, my friend drove backwards down the rooftop as I sang. We got it in one take. The label added some special effects and it ended up being the real thing."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Zac Hanson

Zac HansonSongwriter Interviews

Zac tells the story of Hanson's massive hit "MMMbop," and talks about how brotherly bonds effect their music.

Joe Elliott of Def Leppard

Joe Elliott of Def LeppardSongwriter Interviews

The Def Leppard frontman talks about their "lamentable" hit he never thought of as a single, and why he's juiced by his Mott The Hoople cover band.

When Rock Belonged To Michelob

When Rock Belonged To MichelobSong Writing

Michelob commercials generated hits for Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood in the '80s, even as some of these rockers were fighting alcoholism.

Booker T. Jones

Booker T. JonesSongwriter Interviews

The Stax legend on how he cooked up "Green Onions," the first time he and Otis Redding saw hippies, and if he'll ever play a digital organ.

Dave Edmunds

Dave EdmundsSongwriter Interviews

A renowned guitarist and rock revivalist, Dave took "I Hear You Knocking" to the top of the UK charts and was the first to record Elvis Costello's "Girls Talk."

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat WorldSongwriter Interviews

Jim talks about the impact of "The Middle" and uses a tree metaphor to describe his songwriting philosophy.