Meghan Trainor Talks “All About That Bass” And Her Upcoming Album & Offers Up A Cotton Candy Giveaway: Interview
Upon meeting her, it becomes clear very quickly that Meghan Trainor is one of the most personable individuals walking among us. Idolator premiered the video for her instant smash hit “All About That Bass” in June, and when she breezed into New York for a recent performance on Live! With Kelly & Michael, we scheduled a little one-on-one time with the soulful 20-year-old.
That’s right — she’s only 20, which is something you forget when you hear her powerful vocals at work or take in the vintage aesthetic of the Fatima Robinson-directed “All About That Bass” video. “My whole life I wanted to be an artist, and the fact that this is my first opportunity and [‘All About That Bass’ is the] first [thing] I get to say to the world, I couldn’t be happier about it,” Trainor, who cut her teeth writing songs for others, says while we talk about her seemingly overnight success and her upcoming album in lobby in the lobby of the Ace Hotel.
Head below to catch Idolator’s full interview with the on-the-rise singer, and to enter our contest to win an autographed bag of exclusive Meghan Trainor cotton candy. (Yes, that’s right — cotton candy!)
First of all, congratulations on cracking the Top 10 on the Hot 100 so quickly with your first single. Did you ever think something like this could happen — especially so fast? MEGHAN TRAINOR: Never ever. I knew a lot of girls would react to it, but I didn’t know it would be like [this].
When Idolator premiered your “All About That Bass” video in June, I wrote that you were throwing the whole Song of Summer game a curve ball — and it looks like you did! Who has your own favorite song this summer? MT: Ariana Grande. I love everything she does. “Problem.” “Break Free” is my new jam. It’s so good!
Let’s talk about when you were a kid. What led you to music? MT: My dad was a music teacher on Nantucket, so I grew up playing keys by ear. He reads everything, but I grew up watching him, being like, “I could do this,” and I sat there learning it. Then, he doesn’t know guitar, but he gave me a guitar and said, “Here’s three chords. Go learn it.” I came back in an hour and was like, “Look — I got a song!” So, he provided me with anything I needed, got me all my production stuff. I started producing at 13, and it was like [makes rocket noise] off.
What music really clicked with you at that age? MT: Yeah, here it is. You ready? The Tarzan soundtrack. That was in my car for school, our car as a family, for two years. We never got sick of that. Phil Collins taught me harmony, and he taught me rhythm and all that fun stuff.
I think he won an Oscar for that single off the soundtrack. MT: He should’ve! Everyone’s like “Eh, Phil Collins.” but I’m like “PHIL COLLINS! What do you mean? Dude’s a god.”
I’m assuming you left Phil Collins behind once you were a teenager for… MT: Christina Aguilera! She had a great voice. I love that she had a big voice but is like this little girl. *NSYNC — I also learned harmony from them. They had it down, but I grew up listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, too. We’d have disco parties at my house. We had a pool and we had the lights going, and we would play Earth, Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder a lot. Jackson 5 was in my car for like a year. So, I have a lot of different genres, and then my uncle is Trinidadian. He came into our family when I was seven. From seven years old, I’ve been studying soca and calypso and reggae. So with that, with the disco, with the old-school, with the pop — I think that’s what you got right now.
“All About That Bass” has a retro vibe to it, down to the sound of the song and your outfit in the video. What other styles of music can we expect from your album? MT: That’s been the difficult part because I’m trying to get some soca in there. I’m trying to get some pop and stuff, and a lot of people are like, “You should keep it all retro.” But, I think we’ve got a good combination of mostly retro, but I’ll throw in some Caribbean drums randomly in a song, and you’ll be like, “Huh? That’s cool.” So, I threw in as much as could. My favorite parts are the lyrics and the melodies — very catchy, very relateable, very honest. A lot of people can relate to it — girls and boys; young and old.
You’ve written for other artists over the years and now you’re finally doing stuff for yourself. MT: That helps — the training of learning how to write songs and learning what people want to hear. Like. I had to write and know “I need teenagers to like this, but I also want 40-year-olds to like this.” That kind of helps.
What was it like working with the legendary Fatima Robinson on the “All About That Bass” video? MT: Girl is a queen! She walks in like 15 feet high. She’s amazing. Everything she says, I’m like, “Yes, of course.” But, she had it down. She knew from the beginning what it was going to look like. She makes me feel really confident… and she had the whole vision. She’s amazing. She turned me into a pop star over night. That’s what I’ll forever tell people.
The dancing in the video is quite memorable. Were you much of a dancer before this? MT: I mean, like no. I never danced in front of people, but I didn’t know if I was good or not. I knew if I had one lesson, though, I would get through it, and I just wanted to know where to put my arms. But, Charm is [Fatima’s] prodigy that she grew up with, and Charm made up most of those dance moves, and taught me how to perform and “make sure you smile!” Fatima would come in and be like, “Okay, fix this,” or “It looks good.”
Both your song and Colbie Caillat’s “Try” contain the message in the lyrics that it’s okay to not look perfect. Did you see her “Try” video? MT: I was the first one out of everyone that heard “Bubbly.” Yeah, I saw the “Try” video, and it’s beautiful. At first, when it came on and she was gorgeous, I was like, “Well, that’s not right. What’s going on?” And then [I watched] and I was like, “This is amazing.” She tweeted my song! I died.
Who else have you been surprised to find is a fan of “All About That Bass”? MT: Becky G reps the song. She loves it! She keeps tweeting about it and posting it, and I am obsessed with her, so that’s just like — holy cow. I love “Shower.” I love Becky G. I was like “I want to be sassy like her!” I tried to write for her — she actually took one of my songs that is going to come out and they put it on hold. I don’t know if she knows that, but they were like, “Becky G loves it!”
Are there any other artists out there that you’re into right now? MT: That “Break Free” song — me and my girl have dance parties to [it]. We like to listen to all the old stuff though….like Destiny’s Child, TLC. We bump the hits.
You know what’s crazy? This year the TLC Fanmail album turned 15, and so did Destiny’s Child’s The Writing’s On The Wall. You must have been about 5 when those songs came out. MT: Yeah, but I remember being 12 and 13 and my friends and I would make dance moves to it. We would sing in little girl groups and wanted to be them. [My friend] was like, “You gotta listen to this album,” and I was like, “A’ight, what is it?” It was amazing.
We need more really good girl groups right now. MT: I know, man. All this stuff that’s happening, I’m always like, “Man, I just wish I could have sisters to bounce off with.” Like doing interviews, I’m like “It’s just me? A’ight, that’s fine.” It’s so cute when you got your girl-power band like Fifth Harmony. They’re adorable in interviews! I haven’t met them yet. I’m such a fan.
So, we’re getting used to seeing you in retro outfits, but in looking at your Facebook, you’re also into leather jackets and black hats. MT: Yeah, I used to rock black on black on black on black and leather, leather. Love that. I usually do that because I like the look. Back at home, Nantucket is so preppy. Everyone wears white pants and light blue shirts, and I would walk in like leather black pants and like a jacket. Everybody would be like, “You’re so L.A.” My brother would always tell me, “Don’t be discouraged by these girls. You’re an artist. You can wear whatever you want.” And I’d be like, “Alright, cool!”
I think we tore through all of my questions at this point. MT: Do you want to make some stuff up?
Yeah, why not. What did you have for breakfast? MT: Not a lot! A couple of apple pieces and strawberries. You know when you go to the set, and you get the fruit and stuff. But, I don’t like to eat before I sing because then I just burp, and that’s not cool.
Last thing: what’s the rest of your summer like? Will you be working more on the album? MT: There was a meeting actually today discussing it —what they wanted it to look like and everything, because I’ve got songs. That’s the big point we’re trying to get across is that [I’m] so diverse, and [I’m] an artist. “She’s not a one hit wonder!” It’s doing so well, but it’s almost scary. Like, “Can she follow it?” I think my other songs are better. I’m like, “‘All About That Bass’? Wait, I got this one though!” They’re all anthem-y. All of them have that feel. Lyrically, there’s nothing like you’ve ever heard, which is very cool. It’s awesome.
Are you all about that bass too? Well, good! Meghan appreciates her fans so much, she came to us with a specially signed sweet treat for a few of our lucky Idolator readers.
1 package of pink and blue cotton candy, signed by Meghan Trainor
HOW TO WIN
1.) “Like” us on Facebook, if you haven’t already. 2.) Leave a comment below telling us why you’re all about that bass! (Do you listen to it in the shower? Did you and your friends choreograph a special dance to the song? Just tell us why you love it.)
Note: You must live within North America to win. And please remember to use your e-mail when leaving a comment — that’s how we’ll notify you if you win!
The contest ends on Wednesday, August 20. Good luck!