Meghan Trainor has come a long way since the release of her curvy girl anthem “All About That Bass” two years ago. She's released a platinum-selling album, won her first GRAMMY and has written singles for big-name divas. With her sophomore Thank You LP, the singer remains humble but continues to expand her ever-growing confidence.
I chatted with Meghan about the musical flexibility of the album, writing empowering songs dedicated to women, an adorable obsession with Britney Spears and why having family support is so important to her.
FUSE: Your “I Love Me” song with LunchMoney Lewis premiered last night, and I wanted to know how that collaboration came about.
Meghan Trainor: He’s a genius. Him, Ricky Reed and J. Kash wrote this, and they sent it to me a while ago before I even started writing this album. They wanted me to sing it, so I said “Okay, use the second verse and post-chorus. Then I’ll write something new.” So I did it in my bedroom with my crappy [recording] rig and sent them the file. They all loved it. Later when we started writing the album, we knew it had to be on there. It was too good.
There’s so many different sounds coming from this
album—from the down-home funky vibes of “I Love Me” and the ‘90s pop vibes of “Nø.” Was it a challenge to keep all of these sounds authentic?
No. As a songwriter, doing different genres is too easy for me. It’s harder to make them all sound similar, really. And they all came at random, like, “I Love Me” was one of the first songs we did, and “Watch Me Do” was one of the last. But I like that everyone has something unique for themselves. If someone doesn’t like the ‘90s throwback, they’ll like another song.
We’re both ‘90s babies, which is probably why I can’t stop
bumping to “Nø." What were your favorite moments from that era?
My family wasn’t into every award show, but I would make sure we popped it on when Britney was on! She was my queen, and Christina Aguilera too. *NYSNC was huge for our family. My brothers would dance in front of the TV just to be like them, and I would sit there and laugh because I was too embarrassed to dance. I swear I learned how to harmonize because of *NSYNC. I remember singing along with my headphones on and my brothers would be like, “You’re singing it wrong!”
You have this huge army of female dancers in the “Nø” video.
So if you could be a part of a girl group, which would you choose?
I could never fit in Destiny’s Child because they’re all too good! I guess I’d be a dope edition to Spice Girls [Laughs]. I would just be the American one; that would be a dream.
Since “All About That Bass,” you’ve definitely grown more into your artistry and have become more confident. It’s all coming out in your new music.
It’s this whole experience from growing from a songwriter to the face of the music and running this big company—I’m the CEO. I’m realizing that communication is key, and I’ll be going into a meeting with my entire team after this to discuss plans for the album. It’s weird because I feel like a businesswoman. So I grew up really fast, which is dope. I know some people don’t like that, but I do. I know how to communicate better because of it.
Are there any lyrics or songs from the album that have that empowering theme?
The entirety of “I Won’t Let You Down” is my “Man in the Mirror” song. It sounds like talking to my parents or something, where I say “I won’t let you down / I’ll make you proud.” You have no idea that I’m actually talking to myself. But I love that, and I wanted that for myself because everyone has something they want to improve about themselves.
It seems like you’re a very family-oriented person. I watched your snapchat with your dad jamming to “Dance Like Yo Daddy,” and you have a song on Thank You called “Mom.”
They’re great! My mom is braiding my hair as we speak for my big meeting, and my dad is playing with my new chess set [Laughs]! We’re big family peeps; we have dinner every day. I think that’s the key to having a close family, even if you didn’t want to go downstairs. They’re great and they’ve sacrificed everything for us. They even closed their jewelry shop for four months to be a part of the GRAMMYs and all this stuff happening to me. It’s amazing to have that support because I know a lot of people and artists don’t. I’m very lucky.
Well I was going to ask you about Mother’s Day plans since the album drops a few days after it, but I don’t want to spoil it for your mom!
I’m sad because she goes back soon. They’re leaving to head back to work for the summer, so I’ve been dreading that every day. But she knows that song is hers…for every Mother’s Day.
“Feminism is a big deal and we’re talking about it more.”
Along with being a singer, you’re also a great songwriter. Have you found any differences with writing for yourself compared to doing it for other people?
Yeah, definitely. Yesterday I wrote a song because I was bored. I didn’t have to, but I did it because I got sent a really cool track. This is the first song that I know can be sung by other people, and I don’t have to put it out. But all my family and friends want me to do it, but it’s so different and it can be cool as a single for someone else.
Are there any artists you’d love to work with?
[Sings] Bruno Mars, Bruno Mars, Bruno Mars! I want to write with him, I take just one song. I’ll just force him!
You’ve always been outspoken, and I think there’s a lot of female empowerment with songs like “Nø.” Sometimes people look at feminism as a commodity but it's a real thing that we go through.
It’s a huge issue. I got asked when I was 19 if I was a feminist, and I didn’t know the full definition so I just said no. Then I got attacked. I googled it and realized that I actually am, and all my songs are based on that. They’re big women anthems—that’s all I promote. And I see the [support] with artists. Like Ariana Grande is all about that female empowerment, she’s really good at that. Feminism is a big deal and we’re talking about it more, which is good. I think Twitter helps that.
The album is titled Thank You—was that dedicated to your fans?
It’s a big one for the fans. I wrote a song for them called “Thank You,” and I thought it was perfect for the album because I had all my dreams come true with my first album. I got the GRAMMY award and a lot of success—I wasn’t just a one-hit wonder. I wanted to thank my fans for pushing my music out there, and also thank my label, my management, the radio stations, magazines, my family…everyone. All I want is for people to hear my songs, so this is a big one for them.
We’re still in the early stages of 2016. Do you have any goals you want to accomplish this year?
I’d love to be an actress one day, but there’s just no time. I want to do a little bit of both comedy and drama. Comedy would be easy and fun, but I can cry on the spot! I discovered that in a photo shoot the other day. They also put mascara on my face that burned my eyes, so that might have helped. But I can do it. I’m going to take acting classes soon, but for now we’re promoting the album and traveling the world. Then hopefully I’ll have a tour this summer, we’ll see.
I wrote an article last month about this awesome “Nø” mash-up with Britney Spears’ “Overprotected.” Have you seen it?
Of course, I’ve been bumping it. I love it! I freaked out when I saw it, that’s like my dream. God, I want to meet her so bad and just tell her that she’s my everything.
Watch our classic 2014 interview with Meghan Trainor when she was fresh on the scene from our Fuse Favorite series: