Meghan Trainor on songwriting, family and wanting to be like Ed Sheeran

The prolific US pop star Meghan Trainor had made three albums by 17, and has written for Jennifer Lopez and Fifth Harmony. She has songs for everyone, says Joe Nerssessian.

Meghan Trainor is used to collaborating with John Legend, Ariana Grande, and Charlie Puth, but for her upcoming album, she drafted in her father, brother, and fiance.

Some people might find it awkward to sing about needing sweet love in the morning, with your father on backing vocals. Not US pop star Trainor, who is a bundle of energy in a smart hotel in central London.

“It’s kind of weird,” she laughs. “But we all got over that.”

Meghan Trainor

“We’re not saying anything dirty, so a toddler could sing it and it’s just like a sweet song. A good brushing-your-teeth song, you know, featuring my dad,” the 24-year-old adds, beaming at her artful dodge.

It was 2014 when Trainor’s bubblegum-pop song, ‘All About That Bass’, littered with influences from hip-hop, country, soul, and rock, shot her to fame. Addressing positive body image, it was used by Vogue magazine to confirm that society is officially “in the era of the big booty”.

Trainor was just out of her teens at the time of its release, but had already written, recorded, performed and produced three independently-released albums, between the ages of 15 and 17.

Her upcoming album — she refuses to disclose the title — is not the first time she’s collaborated with family. As a youngster, she formed an all-purpose party band, alongside her aunt, younger brother, and father, Gary, on keyboards.

Then, there was her 2016 track, ‘Mom’, featuring vocals from her mother, Kelli, which she released as a Mother’s Day present.

Roping in her father, who also plays piano and organs on one track, was recognition for his support throughout the years.

“He is so proud of my first album, and when I was growing up, I decided I would produce myself and he

would help me ... it’s kind of like a big thank you.”

However, the presence of her family and fiancee, Spy Kids actor Daryl Sabara, didn’t stop Trainor barking orders.

“Everyone knows I was the buster there, everyone knows,” she says.

When I took over and I was like, ‘You can all come in and sing’ and there’s videos of me that you will see soon, I hope one day, or I am literally conducting them. They just became my choir.

She met Sabara after Chloe Grace Moretz introduced the two in 2016 and they were engaged after 18 months, when he proposed to her on her 24th birthday on December 22.

“We said ‘I love you’ in week one,” she says. “It took a minute; he did it first. He said, ‘I’m enamoured with you’. I was like: ‘What does that mean? Just say it’.”

After just a month, she wrote him a song, titled ‘Marry Me’, so Trainor definitely doesn’t do things by halves.

“We knew early. It’s that cheesy line: ‘when you know, you know’. It’s so weird, ‘cause I have never had anything like this with any other human. I never wanted someone ... I have been with him literally every day and I am never sick of him and I miss him when he’s not in my visual sight.”

Trainor began her career as a songwriter with credits for Jennifer Lopez, Fifth Harmony, and Jason Derulo, and sees Ed Sheeran as someone she wants to emulate as a prolific writer. Her songs are her “babies”, she jokes, and she has plenty left over from the album.

“We love them so much and we’re like, ‘Ohh, you’re gonna drop that one?’ My mum is on the mission: she’s looking at every artist, like ‘Zara Larsson needs to sing this, this is what needs to happen’. I hope everyone sings my songs. That would be my dream; to be like Ed Sheeran.”

Writing is her therapy and she wants the world to hear her music — particularly the new album, which includes a track reminding men of respect. It’s a timely theme, given the MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns.

“It wasn’t like I was reading the news and I was like, ‘We’ve gotta write a song for them’,” she says.

But she says of the women who are speaking out: “I’m very proud of them and I hope this song helps some of them, encourages them to keep doing what they are doing.”

She says she is surrounded by female peers “taking over the charts” and includes a special shoutout to Camila Cabello. Nonetheless, Trainor certainly thinks there are more revelations to come in the music industry, although she hasn’t experienced anything herself.

I can only imagine the stories that haven’t been told. It’s everywhere, and if it feels like it’s more in the movie business, that’s because it hasn’t come out in the music industry yet. I haven’t been disrespected in that way or gone through anything like that, fortunately, but I understand why, talking to an older generation, of like, ‘Uh, things are different for you, aren’t they?'

Never afraid to delve into her personal side, she’s been very open about her struggles with anxiety. “I think it’s ‘cause we have so many things to decide ... all day long, even down to what we are about to post online and I think that’s killing us.

“I think that’s giving us anxiety and I took a break from social media for a minute and got back to working on me and my health, and started thinking about only positive things and that really cured me.”

‘No Excuses’, the first single from Trainor’s upcoming album, is out now.

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