Q&A with Meghan Trainor
We catch up with Meghan Trainor about her whirlwind year…
You signed your record deal just last February so in just over a year you’ve gone from being a successful, but relatively unknown songwriter, to being a Grammy nominated global star…
M: Grammy nominated…that’s me!
What was it like finding out you were nominated for two Grammys?
M: Epic. A person who makes music only dreams… Dreams in life are to get Grammy’s. And I’ve done that at 20 years old, now I’m 21. But, to win it is a whole other game but, just to be nominated for the rest of my life, I’ll be introduced as ‘Grammy nominated Meghan Trainor’. That’s fricking epic!
It’s an incredible achievement, especially considering that you are only 21. It’s been such a whirlwind year for you, as you’ve been writing for other artists, now you have one of the biggest selling songs ever (‘All About That Bass’ has sold over 6 million copies), that’s your own.
M: Yeah! I lived… all my friends are songwriters and producers and I’ve lived all their dreams. They all tell me that, they’re like, ‘you accomplished what we try to do every day’! ‘Cause as songwriters like, yes our goal is for other popular singers to sing our songs, but the real goal inside is like, we want to be singing these.
You get to do both though – Sledgehammer (that Meghan wrote for Fifth Harmony) is getting massive too.
M: Yes – thank you! I wrote that with Michael Keaton’s son. Isn’t that mind blowing? Sean Douglas, he’s a fantastic writer. He also wrote Glow by Demi Lovato. He’s crazy, he’s great. I love Demi.
You’ve also had artists like Beyoncé saying that they’re fans of your music.
M: Yeah, that, that was huge for me!
And Michael Buble did a cover of ‘All About That Bass’ on Instagram.
M: I’m obsessed with him. One of my goals in life, like off my bucket list, is make sure Michael Buble knows I exist and like the fact that he sang my song I died. I saw it on Instagram and I was just, I remember I was laying in bed and I just got up and was like ‘MUM did you see it?’ she was like ‘I SAW IT, I SAW IT!’. Like I’ve went, I’ve been to like five concerts maybe, and his was one and I cried. I was like ‘oh he’s so good on track, he’s probably terrible live’. And he was better live. He’s so funny.
‘All About That Bass’ was so big in the States and has consequently gone global. Quite often with artists, they’ll launch in their own countries first and they’ll break there, and then focus on other countries, but with you, it all just happened all at once…
M: Yeah, this is my first time being here and my song has – I already have two songs that are like, huge. Which is crazy.
‘All About That Bass’ has become a global hit and was #1 here for 4 weeks. Did you have a bit of an inkling that it was going be so successful when you were writing it?
M: As a songwriter, I went to my favourite songwriters and they said ‘how do you know you had a hit?’ and I said ‘it’s the ones you never guess, it’s ones you never know’ and I, we did ‘All About That Bass’ and we shelved it and we were, I was like ‘cool song, whatever. No ones gonna hear this. No pop star can sing this ‘cause they’re all fricking size zero’s and no one can rap and sing’. So the fact that this was probably my biggest song of life, it was one of those, I had no clue. And what you here today is what the demo is. No auto tune or nothing, I walked out of the studio and that’s what I heard and that’s what’s plays everyday.
The feedback of the song was great, especially that it’s become rather an anthem for body confidence. It’s just a fun positive song.
M: Oh it’s the jam. And the only time, and I still didn’t like it I didn’t understand it. I didn’t get why it was bumpin’. But I heard it on an Instagram video like in the background and I was like ‘Oh I get it. This s**t bumps like… this is the jam! I get it now’.
Have you ever like been anywhere and it’s come on?
M: Yeah, it’s weird. I remember, the only part, the only time that I got really weirded out was, I was home on my island and I went to a sushi place. I walk in and ‘Lips Are Movin’ is playing and five minutes later ‘Bass’ plays, and then ‘Lips’ plays again. And I was just like ‘damn I’m famous. Like it’s real’.
Do you remember where you were the first time you heard your song on the radio?
M: Yeah, ‘All About That Bass’. I was with my producer we were in Nashville. And I was just balling ‘cause, not because it was the first time, but ‘cause it sounded good! And I was like ‘Ah I thought it as gonna sound so bad on the radio, ‘cause distortion and no like eight ‘o eights’. But sounded great!
I guess it’s one of those things that when you’re so involved in a song, you do go into a bit of a bubble as you hear it so many times, and then if you hear it in a situation that’s completely removed from that you can almost look at it from an outsiders perspective.
M: Yeah, yeah. I finally just, and when I perform it is when I’m like ‘oh this is the jam, everybody sing and dance’ and it happens.
What’s your personal favourite track on your debut album ‘Title’?
M: It changes everyday, but today it’s ‘Bang Dem Sticks’.
You’ve got the duet with John Legend on there.
M: Yeah and I produced that! I was very proud of my self and I was like ‘I need one song on here that I’ve produced because I’m been a producer since 13, give me somethin’! And yeah, I got a lot of crap for putting like ‘Bang Dem Sticks’ and ‘3am’ on there because they’re like, ‘it’s not Doo Wop’ and I was like I don’t care! I’m a songwriter, and these are my favourite songs and I’m a fan of this so I’m gonna put this out. And its been reacting amazingly… like ridiculous. My management manages him so I sent them the song with just my vocals on it and they played it for him without telling me and he said I would love to be a part of that. I was like ‘oh who? John? Sure, fine, let him have it’.
The album was also co-written and produced by Kevin Kadish, who has some amazing songs in his back catalogue. ‘Stuck’ by Stacie Orrico, for one.
M: Ahhh! Listen, I was his biggest fan as a songwriter and he did Jason Mraz too. He did ‘Geek In The Pink’ and he did ‘It’s all about the wordplay’, that one, Dude! So I walked in there trying to be cool and was like… ‘I listen I rap’, he was like ‘okay’, I was like ‘and I like Doo Wop’ he was like ‘cool’, and I was like ‘and I’m not a size two’!
And then we wrote about it and we were like ‘do you like it?’ he was like ‘I like it dude’ I like it. But I was such a fan, like to the end of the album I kept telling him ‘I’m still star-struck by you’.
It’s crazy and no one gives him enough credit and that’s why this is a big moment for him too like, I’m just so happy he’s on this. It’s just amazing to see his face at these number one parties; it’s just like what the hell.
Any songs that you listen to and think ‘damn I wish I could’ve written that’?
M: Got it! ‘Halo’ by Beyoncé. What. A. Song. I was thinking about this morning like damn, those lyrics. ‘Remember those walls I built, baby they’re tumbling down’. Also ‘Mistletoe’ by Justin Bieber. Thought that was one of the best Christmas songs I’ve ever heard!
That whole Christmas album though, I love it.
M: That’s where my favourite, my Justin Bieber fan is. I tell, his people keep coming to me like ‘we need songs for him’. I said put him with an acoustic guitar stop doing this gangsta stuff. Show his vocals. I said he’s got the fan base of Elvis, he’ll never go away, but make them respect him again. Give him those songs.
So how’s it been flying around the world and visiting loads of different countries?
M: It’s amazing. It’s one of those things that at 20 years old, I could, I can say I’ve been Australia, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK. And a lot of 20 year olds can’t say that. They can say they’ve studied abroad but in one place.
Have you got a favourite country that you’ve visited so far?
M: This ones the prettiest, and I’m not saying that ‘cause you’re here! This one reminds me of Germany for some reason, my view was exactly the same. But the food in Germany was outstanding.
Have you had any food here yet?
M: No… I mean I’ve had like hotel food, it was great.
For some reason we always seem to get quite a bad rep for not having the best food here.
M: Really?! Nando’s kills it.
You’ve got to love Nando’s
M: All I’ve eaten was chicken from the hotel, which was bomb, and then Nando’s chicken. I’ve only eaten chicken since being here.
Do you bring any home comforts with you to have on the road?
M: I have a stuffed animal named Paddles that I recently got it’s a Penguin. He’s kinda famous on Instagram. I bring him everywhere. He’s great.
Also, my mums jewellery, ‘cause they can never come with me, but I love looking at these to remind of them. She designed them and everything, and [POINTS TO GOLD RING, WITH THREE JEWELS] its of me and two brothers so its like symbol. Then my father made this one [POINTS TO BRACELET].
He was a musician forever, and then he was just like ‘I want to be a jeweller’.
He must be very proud of you, especially considering he was a musician.
M: Yeah, he was a band teacher at one point but he has always said ‘make sure whatever job you choose, just be the best at it’, so he’ll always win like ‘the best jeweller on Nantucket’ and then getting the Grammy’s I’m kinda like, best song of the year, best. Did it!
Will you do the Sketches for SNL?
M: Oh imagine! My buddy Blake Shelton’s about the host it and he’s like ‘do you wanna come do a skit?’ I was like yes call me.
Meghan Trainor’s debut album ‘TITLE’ is out now.