Meghan Trainor
Meghan Trainor singing into a microphone onstage
Trainor performing in 2015
Background information
Birth nameMeghan Elizabeth Trainor
Born (1993-12-22) December 22, 1993 (age 24)
Nantucket, Massachusetts, U.S.
OriginNorth Eastham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • bass
  • ukulele
  • guitar
  • keyboards
  • percussion
  • piano
  • trumpet
Years active2009–present
LabelsEpic
Websitemeghan-trainor.com

Meghan Elizabeth Trainor (born December 22, 1993) is an American singer-songwriter known for her singles "All About That Bass" and "Lips Are Movin".

Interested in music from a young age, Trainor wrote, recorded, performed, and produced three independently released albums between ages 15 and 17. In 2011, she signed a publishing deal with Big Yellow Dog Music as a songwriter, before she was offered a deal with Epic Records. Her debut single, "All About That Bass", was released in June 2014 and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately selling 11 million copies internationally. Her Epic debut, Title (2015), was supported by three other singles: "Lips Are Movin", "Dear Future Husband" and "Like I'm Gonna Lose You". She followed this up with Thank You (2016).

Trainor is influenced by 1950s and 1960s music and is known for her throwback style. Her lyrics frequently refer to modern womanhood, body image, and empowerment. She has received several awards and nominations including a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2016, four ASCAP Pop Music Awards, and two Billboard Music Awards.

Life and career

1993–2008: Early life

Meghan Elizabeth Trainor was born on December 22, 1993,[1] in Nantucket, Massachusetts, to Kelli and Gary Trainor. Her parents were both jewelers.[2][3][4] Trainor has an elder brother named Ryan, and a younger brother named Justin.[5][2] She began singing at age six, initially at church with her father, a music teacher and organist.[4][6][7][8]

Trainor became interested in music at an early age and was influenced by her family.[6] At age 11, Trainor told her father that she wanted to become a recording artist and began writing songs, recording them using the digital audio workstation software GarageBand.[6][9] She started with her own arrangement of the popular song "Heart and Soul".[10] Her mother recalled that Trainor "did a lot by ear", and picked up music without formal training.[7] Her father encouraged her to explore every musical genre.[7] Aged 12, Trainor began performing as part of the cover band, Island Fusion, with her aunt, younger brother, and father, performing soca music alongside her own compositions.[4][5] Trainor was in the group for four years, singing, playing piano, guitar and bongo drums.[5][11] By age 13, Trainor had written her first original song, "Give Me a Chance".[10]

Trainor and her family left Nantucket when she was in the eighth grade, temporarily relocating to Orleans, Massachusetts before moving to North Eastham. She attended Nauset Regional High School[7] and studied guitar, played trumpet and sang in a jazz band for three years, and was a substitute cheerleader.[4][11][3][7][12]

While a teenager, Trainor's parents encouraged her to attend songwriting conventions, taking her to venues where production companies were searching for new artists and songwriters.[10][9] Aged 15, she took guitar lessons from former NRBQ member Johnny Spampinato.[13][4] During this time, Trainor used Logic Studio to record and produce her compositions, and later worked independently in a home studio built by her parents.[7][9]

2009–2013: Career beginnings

Trainor singing "Take Care of Our Soldiers" at Nantucket United Methodist Church, July 2010

Between the ages of 15 and 17, Trainor independently released three albums of material she had written, recorded, and performed.[6] Her eponymous debut album, Meghan Trainor, was released on December 25, 2009,[14] receiving airplay from local Massachusetts radio station WCIB.[7] Trainor enrolled in the Summer Performance Program at the Berklee College of Music during the summers of 2009 and 2010, reaching the finals of the program's songwriting competition.[11] She released "Take Care of Our Soldiers" on April 16, 2010, a charity song in support of American troops abroad.[9][15] The following year, Trainor released two acoustic albums, I'll Sing with You and Only 17.[7]

At a music conference in Colorado,[5] Trainor was introduced to former NRBQ member, Al Anderson.[4] He was impressed by Trainor's songwriting and referred her to his publisher, Carla Wallace at Nashville-based Big Yellow Dog Music.[4][7] Though Trainor had been offered a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, she decided to pursue her songwriting career and signed with Big Yellow Dog.[6][16][3][2][9] She began her career as a songwriter-for-hire because of her ability to tackle a variety of genres.[4] She began by publishing songs for others and was unsure about becoming a recording artist. Her father said, "She thought she was one of the chubby girls who would never be an artist".[4] Trainor graduated from Nauset Regional High School in 2012.[12] Her second promotional single, "Who I Wanna Be", was released on April 24, 2012.[17]

Throughout 2013, Trainor traveled to Nashville, New York City and Los Angeles, where she wrote and helped produce country and pop music. She sang lead and background vocals on demos for other artists, with her vocals occasionally being used on the final recording. She earned her first songwriting royalties by writing for Italian artists.[6][18] In June 2013, Trainor met producer Kevin Kadish in Nashville via Wallace and a mutual friend.[7][19] Kadish and Trainor both liked retro style music and began recording together that month.[19] Trainor later became frustrated with commuting from Nantucket to Los Angeles for songwriting sessions. Her parents did not want her to relocate as it would be expensive. In November, Trainor decided to relocate to Nashville instead.[4][7] There, she wrote songs for a number of acts, including Hunter Hayes,[2] Rascal Flatts,[7] R5,[20] and Sabrina Carpenter.[21]

2014–2015: Title

Meghan Trainor performing on stage with blue stage lighting shining upon her
Trainor performing in Philadelphia during the Jingle Ball Tour 2014

Kadish and Trainor wrote "All About That Bass" in 2013, a year before she performed it for Epic Records chairman L.A. Reid in February 2014,[22] which led to her signing with the label.[10] Trainor hired Troy Carter as her manager.[16] "All About That Bass" was released on June 30, 2014,[23] and its music video became a viral hit.[24] The song reached number one in 58 countries and became one of the best-selling singles of all time,[25] with worldwide sales of 11 million units as of December 2014.[26] "All About That Bass" preceded Trainor's debut extended play, Title, released on September 9, 2014.[27] It was composed entirely by Trainor and Kadish,[28] and peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200 and number 17 on the Canadian Albums Chart.[29][30] Trainor released her second single, "Lips Are Movin" on October 21.[31] The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100,[32] making her the fifth female artist to follow up her chart-topping debut hit with another top 5 single.[33] "Lips Are Movin" also reached the top 10 in Australia,[34] Canada,[35] and New Zealand.[36]

In November 2014, she appeared as a guest mentor on the seventh season of American series The Voice.[37] Billboard ranked Trainor as the fourth Top New Artist of the year,[38] and placed her 12th on their own 21 Under 21 2014 list.[39] Trainor's three self-released albums were pulled from circulation in the build-up to her major label debut studio album, Title.[7][40][41] It replaced her EP of the same name on the iTunes Store,[42] and was released on January 9, 2015.[43] The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200,[44] making her the 13th female artist with a debut number 1 song and album.[33] On March 3, 2015, Trainor released "Dear Future Husband" as the album's third single,[45] which reached the Hot 100's top 20.[32] Trainor was featured on Charlie Puth's debut single, "Marvin Gaye", which was also released that month.[46] Her next single, "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" featuring John Legend, became her second number-one on the Australian Singles Chart[47] and third top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.[48]

Trainor's first headlining concert tour, That Bass Tour, began on February 11, 2015, with Australian band Sheppard as the opening act.[49] The album was further promoted through the MTrain Tour, with Charlie Puth and Life of Dillon as opening acts. It was set to begin on July 3.[50] However, Trainor was diagnosed with a vocal cord hemorrhage that month, and was ordered by her medical team to undergo complete vocal rest. This led to the delay of the first two dates of the MTrain Tour.[51] On August 11, 2015, Trainor announced that she was canceling the remainder of her North American tour and would get surgery "to finally fix this once and for all".[52] In July, it was announced that Trainor was writing a song for The Peanuts Movie soundtrack, entitled "Better When I'm Dancin'".[53][54] In October 2015, Trainor appeared on Undateable as the musical guest, and made a cameo appearance.[55] In late 2015, American singer Who Is Fancy released the single "Boys Like You", featuring Trainor and Ariana Grande.[56] Title was the ninth best-selling album of 2015 worldwide, with 1.8 million copies sold according to IFPI.[57] Trainor won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.[58]

2016–2017: Thank You

Meghan Trainor performing on stage with a rainbow flag
Trainor performing in Washington, D.C. during Capital Pride in June 2016

Trainor revealed to E! Online on January 7, 2016, that she was almost finished working on her second major-label studio album Thank You.[59] She told MTV News that the album was influenced by Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, and Bruno Mars, and features a collaboration between her and R. City.[60] The album's first single, "No", was produced by Ricky Reed,[61] and released on March 4, 2016.[62] It peaked at number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and was certified double platinum in the country.[63] Shortly after, Trainor released four promotional singles, "Watch Me Do", "I Love Me",[64] "Better" (featuring American rapper Yo Gotti), and "Mom" which features her mother.[65] The second single from the album, "Me Too", was released on May 5. The accompanying video was released four days later but quickly removed because of unapproved digital manipulation of Trainor's body.[66] It was corrected to the unedited version and re-released the next day.[67] The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was eventually certified triple platinum in the US, indicating sales in excess of three million copies.[32][63]

Thank You was released exclusively on Apple Music on May 6, 2016, and saw a standard commercial release on May 13, 2016.[68] In July, Trainor embarked on The Untouchable Tour, in support of the album, with Hailee Steinfeld and Common Kings as opening acts.[69] "Better" was released as the album's third single in August 2016, and its music video featured a cameo from Beau Bridges.[70] Thank You was certified platinum in the US for sales in excess of one million units.[63] Trainor was featured on several other artists' songs in 2016, including "Forgive Me Father" from DJ Khaled's album Major Key,[71] "Someday" from Michael Bublé's album Nobody but Me,[72] and "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from Brett Eldredge's album Glow.[73] She co-wrote multiple songs during this time period including Jennifer Lopez's "Ain't Your Mama" and "You Gotta Not" from British girl group Little Mix's album Glory Days.[74][75]

On February 24, 2017, Trainor released the single "I'm a Lady" for the film Smurfs: The Lost Village. She also voiced a character called Smurfmelody in the movie.[76]

2018: Treat Myself

In December 2017, Trainor was announced as one of the judges on Fox's television show The Four: Battle for Stardom, alongside Sean Combs, DJ Khaled and Charlie Walk.[77] In 2018, she appeared as a judge on both, season one and season two.[78]

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight in February 2018, Trainor stated that her third major-label studio album had been completed, and added that "it's really special, my entire family sings on every song and Daryl sings on every song. My father plays the piano and organs on one song".[79] Its lead single, "No Excuses", was released in March, and peaked at number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100.[32] The respective second and third singles, "Let You Be Right" and "Can't Dance", followed two months later.[80] The album, titled Treat Myself, was originally scheduled for release on August 31, 2018, but has been delayed until January 2019.[81][82] The song "All the Ways" was released on June 20, 2018, along with the pre-order of the album.[83] She released the title track to the album on July 20, 2018.[84] That year, Trainor was featured on Jason Mraz's song "More than Friends".[85] In collaboration with Sigala and Ella Eyre, Trainor released the single "Just Got Paid", which featured American rapper French Montana. The song reached number 11 on the UK Singles Chart,[86] number 7 in Scotland,[87] and number 12 in Ireland.[88] Trainor and Sean Paul appeared on a remix of CNCO's song "Hey DJ" later that year.[89][90][91] She kicked off The Salvation Army's 128th annual Red Kettle Campaign on November 22, 2018, by performing at a Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins game.[92][93][94]

Treat Myself is scheduled for release on January 25, 2019.[95] Trainor will voice the character of a fairy god-mother in the upcoming film Playmobil: The Movie.[96]

Artistry

Influences

Growing up, Trainor was introduced to 1950s music, doo-wop, jazz, and the work of James Brown by her father.[7][97] She grew up listening to soca and Caribbean music,[62] and credits 1950s music, soca, and Frank Sinatra for influencing her blend of hip hop and pop music.[98] As a songwriter, Trainor has been influenced by Sinatra's repertoire, saying "No one writes like that anymore, because it's hard".[99] She is inspired by Stevie Wonder and Phil Collins, and has cited Bruno Mars as one of her biggest influences.[99][3][98][100] Other musicians she has cited as influences include Christina Aguilera, The Andrews Sisters,[101] Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin,[60] The Chordettes,[97] Ray Charles, Earth, Wind & Fire,[98] Britney Spears, Destiny's Child,[102] NSYNC,[103] Ariana Grande, Jason Mraz,[100] T-Pain[3][100] and Beyoncé.[104]

Musical style and themes

Trainor is a singer-songwriter.[105][106] Her music incorporates pop,[107] R&B,[108][109] doo-wop,[10][110] and blue-eyed soul.[111] Her debut EP Title comprises throwback style sound, and "1950s doo wop-inspired songs that straddle the line between modern R&B and melodic pop".[108] Her work is reminiscent of the famous Brill building composers, such as Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry,[112] Neil Sedaka, Jenny Lewis, Neko Case,[113] and to 1960s singers such as Brenda Lee, Betty Everett and Eydie Gormé.[114] Trainor plays a variety of musical instruments: bass,[4] guitar, ukulele, keyboard, trumpet, percussion,[7] and piano.[99] She feels that a song's melody is more important than its lyrics.[7] She composes in a variety of genres, including country, hip hop, reggae and soca,[4] but prefers doo-wop and reggae.[104]

Trainor's vocals have been described as "soulful" and "highly resonant", and "a reedy cross" between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.[108][115] Chris DeVille of Stereogum opined that she is "a very capable singer", and added that Trainor "project[s] lots of character and emotion within a relatively limited range".[106] The harmonies in Trainor's music have been compared to those of the 1960s girl groups.[116] Writing for BuzzFeed, Naomi Zeichner noted that Trainor "pairs a throwback sound with lyrics that contemplate 21st-century womanhood".[117] When asked about the "absurd standards of thinness" promoted by the music industry, Trainor has said that she aims to "break those chains".[118]

A critic has stated that her music masks social issues such as sexism and body-shaming. "All About That Bass" has garnered criticism for having a sexist and faux-feminist message, and "Title" for portraying "retrograde beliefs about relationships".[119] The music video for "Dear Future Husband" garnered controversy for its portrayal of Trainor as a "'50s housewife", being opposite to the song which was described as a "women empowerment anthem".[120]

Image and personal life

Trainor with fans
Trainor with fans in Seattle in July 2016

In 2014, Rolling Stone deemed Trainor the year's "Most Unlikely Pop Star".[10] While promoting her first album, she was noted for serving as an inspiration to youth who struggle with body image and bullying.[16][24] Music writer Caroline Sullivan of British newspaper The Guardian referred to Trainor as "the poster girl for the larger woman" and "pop's emblem for self-acceptance".[121] Some critics have described her as anti-feminist suggesting she seeks self-worth based on the opinions of men.[119][122] Trainor stated that she didn't consider herself a feminist in a 2014 interview with Billboard.[123] However, in a 2016 interview, she referred to herself as a feminist, stating "I’d been told: ‘Don’t say you’re something if you don’t know what it is.’ So I was like: ‘Well, I’m not a feminist,’ because I didn’t really understand it and then I was like ‘Oh, s**t! Obviously I am a feminist. My songs are women’s anthems across the board.'"[124]

In another 2014 interview, Trainor said "I wasn’t strong enough to have an eating disorder…I tried to go anorexic for a good three hours. I ate ice and celery, but that’s not even anorexic. And I quit. I was like, ‘Ma, can you make me a sandwich? Like, immediately'",[125] prompting criticism from American singer Demi Lovato.[126][127] In March 2015, Trainor partnered with plus-size retailer FullBeauty Brands as a consultant for the creation of clothing for women with varying body types.[128][129] In July 2016, she began dating actor Daryl Sabara[130] with the couple becoming engaged on December 22, 2017.[131]

Awards and nominations

During her career, Trainor has won four ASCAP Pop Music Awards,[132] two Billboard Music Awards,[133] a People's Choice Award,[134] and received one Grammy Award.[40] Trainor received the accolade for Best Female Artist at the 2009 International Acoustic Music Awards, the Grand Prize at the 2010 New Orleans Songwriter's Festival, the 2011 Tennessee Concerts Song Contest, and the John Lennon Love Song Songwriting Contest.[6] She was named the "Breakthrough Artist of the Year" by the Music Business Association in 2014.[135] Among her achievements, Trainor became the 21st woman to land her debut single at the top of the Billboard Hot 100,[136] and the fifth female artist to follow up her chart-topping debut single with another top 5 release.[33] On the Billboard Year-End charts for 2015, Trainor was listed seventh on Top Artists and second on Top Female Artists.[137]

Discography