By Shannon Carlin
Meghan Trainor is bringing booty back at a rate we haven’t seen since 2001 when Destiny’s Child insinuated the world was not ready for this jelly. So it was only fitting that when the 20-year-old got on the phone with Radio.com earlier this week she was on her way to a dance rehearsal where she planned to channel Beyoncé‘s bootylicious moves.
“Oh, I watch Beyoncé videos every day with my friend at home,” Trainor told Radio.com over the phone from Los Angeles. “That’s the one performer I study a lot. I’m not saying I am her though, she’s perfection.”
The Nantucket, Mass. native who now calls Nashville home is getting ready for a daytime appearance on Live with Kelly and Michael, which is set to happen in the next few weeks. Her excitement over her TV debut has translated into her spending as much time as possible rehearsing. “They got me dancing,” she said. “I’ve never danced before. So it’s like, ‘Oh man, I’ve gotta learn to be Beyoncé for a second.'”
Trainor is in high demand since her body-acceptance anthem “All About That Bass” took the internet by storm earlier this month, thanks in large part to its pastel painted video featuring women and one man — Sione Kelepi, better known as Vine star SioneMaraschino — with all the right junk in all the right places getting their groove on. The track has since crashed onto the chart, earning the No. 54 slot on the August 2 Billboard Hot 100, an impressive 30-spot jump since it debuted at No. 84 just a week ago.
For most music fans, Trainor seemed to come completely out of nowhere, but in actuality she’s been making music since she was 13, producing her self-penned tracks with GarageBand on the Mac she begged her dad to buy her. By 18, she landed a deal with the Nashville publishing house, Big Yellow Dog, a pleasant surprise for the young songwriter. “I got to be a pop writer on a country publisher,” she said, before noting that her most notable songwriting credit is a country song, “DJ Tonight” by Rascal Flatts.
But even though she’s been hard at work, this newfound fame is completely unexpected since Trainor didn’t plan on pursuing a singing career until she turned 25. “I told my father, ‘I’m going to be a pop star, but not yet. I gotta get in good shape and get sexy, because sex sells. I’ll wait until I’m 25 and can handle it,'” she remembers. But she got a little ahead of schedule.
Trainor’s debut track came out of a writing session where she decided to stop thinking about what would be right for the artist and simply write something honest. “That’s your first song to say, ‘Hey, I’m a little chubby, but I love myself,’ that was a scary thing to do,” she said. “I got a lot of support from a lot of people and it’s really helping me and my confidence.” One of those people was L.A. Reid — head of her label, Epic — who heard the song and immediately told Trainor it was hers, and only hers, to sing. The track has since become an anthem for all those who don’t feel like they fit the perfect beauty mold. “I tear up all the time when I see young girls write about it,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
Trainor sings about not being a size 2 and gives any guy who’s looking for a “stick figure, silicone Barbie Doll” the brush off. She even pokes a little funny at “skinny b–ches,” which has led to a bit of backlash that her label warned was bound to happen. “I’m just going off on myself. I’m not writing a song to bash skinny people,” she said in defense of her lyrics. Trainor also shares a bit of advice from Mama Trainor, who lets her baby girl know “boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
“She always is telling me, ‘You’re gorgeous,'” Trainor said of her mom, who she calls her “bestie.” “Girls just destroy themselves in front of the mirrors, ‘I don’t look as good as everyone else, I can’t wear this,’ but she’s like, ‘You need to stop, you’re gorgeous.’ So I stopped.”
Trainor is quick to say her parents are the only reason she’s gotten this far. Her mom is currently in charge of her Facebook page, while her dad is the one who taught her about jazz, advising her if she could write jazz she could write any genre. Now she prefers to write in the style of doo-wop and reggae, which she was first introduced to at seven years old by an uncle who grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and wanted to teach her about his culture. “That’s my pop music – reggae, soca, kaiso,” she said. “That’s what I listen to every morning.”
For Trainor’s full length debut, which is currently in the works, she also wants to make songs that are as honest as “All That Bass,” finding that sweet spot between Ariana Grande’s sweetness and Kesha’s party girl antics. “I don’t want to come off like a sweet Disney princess or a crazy party girl, I just want to be like, ‘Hey, I’m 20. We all have fun sometimes, so let’s talk about it,'” she said. “But I’ll be 21 in half a year, so don’t even worry about it.”
Since one goal Trainor swore she’d accomplish by the age of 25 is coming true a little earlier than expected, the singer has already come up with a few new benchmarks she’d like to hit in the next five years.
“I want to write a song for Rihanna. Like everybody else, I want to collaborate with Bruno Mars. I want to meet Stevie Wonder. Even just shake his hand and then I can die happy,” she said before bursting into laughter. “My driver just gave me the thumbs up.”