Meghan Trainor is speechless. It’s not that her song, “All About That Bass” is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for the fifth straight week in a row, nor is it that she’s still at the No. 1 position on Billboard’s Top 40 charts for the third consecutive week. She is speechless because she’s been singing her song so much that she blew her voice out. We were supposed to talk about “Bass” on the phone with Trainor, but her doctor made her go on strict vocal rest and cancel all interviews and performances until she got her voice back. But we emailed the Nantucket-born and raised singer, and she seemed happy to answer our questions that way.
Congratulations on another week at No. 1. And more than 130 million people have viewed “All About That Bass” online. 130 Million! Were you prepared for this song to be this huge of a hit? What’s the biggest adjustment in having a song that everybody knows?
I was not prepared at all. Never thought it would be this huge. It’s unbelievable though and I’m so grateful that people are reacting to it so well. I’m just glad others could relate to it. The best thing is hearing the crowd sing every word, it gets me all emotional every time.
The song is so much fun, and it’s obviously a great message, but did any of the reactions surprise you? I’ve seen a few long think-pieces on where the song fits into the message of feminism. Was it important to you to put that line in about “skinny bitches” and how even people who could be character-ized as such probably also think they’re fat?
I have plenty of skinny beautiful friends that people would assume are confident “bitches” but I know in the privacy of their mirrors they destroy themselves because they still don’t feel perfect enough in society’s eyes. All I did was write a song about loving my size and I’m glad most people can relate and see I didn’t set out to shame skinny people.
And now I have a few less serious questions about that song: Firstly, since you are all about that bass, what are a few of your favorite basslines?
Any bassline by Earth Wind and Fire, Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder. “Let’s Groove” [by Earth, Wind and Fire] is my jam and has an amazing baseline.
Did your mama really tell you that “boys like a little more booty to hold at night”? I’d like to know a little bit more about the context of that conversation.
She always tells me “don’t worry about your size” and that I’m beautiful. My dad might have said the booty line.
I was sorry to hear that you lost your voice and you had to cancel conversations and performances. What happened? Is it due to the number of performances? Is this current schedule the most back-to-back performing you’ve ever done in your life?
Because the song is doing so well, a lot of opportunities have come up and we hate saying no to any so I think with all the traveling and performances I might have overdone it a little but I’m back and ready to work!
I had read somewhere that your parents were especially encouraging about you pursuing your dream, rather than forcing you to go to college. How did that conversation go, or was it just understood right from the beginning of your music career?
It was always understood. I got a [songwriting] publishing deal when I was 18 years old so I was still in high school. Yes, I applied to college and got in but my father said “you will learn way more by doing it than going to school to learn about it”.
When Entertainment Weekly referred to you as a Nashville starlet, you were quick to put a hashtag on your post that you’re a Nantucket native. Did you get to hang out on the island at all this summer? Did you get to orchestrate a surprise secret performance at the Muse or anything?
No, I wish!!!!! I miss Nantucket so much. I miss my family most of all. We are all so close and it kills me that I don’t get to see them as much but someday I will get to see them backstage at a big show, hug them all, and it will be worth it!
How drastic of a lifestyle adjustment is it from island life to being a jet-setter?
It’s a huge adjustment. I’m getting good at it though. I got to go to Australia! I’m so lucky! I love traveling and I’ve tried to collect a key chain from every state I’ve performed in.
Rascal Flatts, JT and Stevie Wonder
The music on most of the songs from Trainor’s EP, “Title,” seems rooted in both doo-wop and hip-hop. What kind of music did she grow up with in the house?
“I grew up listening to soul/R&B/funk/’50s,” she writes. “So all over the place! I didn’t know who The Beatles were until I was 15. I love them as well, but my childhood was mostly Earth Wind & Fire, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.
Trainor has also written songs for several artists, such as Rascal Flatts [see her “so all over the place” comment] for whom she wrote “DJ Tonight.” But does Trainor perform that song live now?
“No,” she writes, “but I would LOVE to when I eventually get a band!”
Trainor also paraphrases Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback” in “Bass” when she sings the line, “I’m bringing booty back.” Has she heard from JT?
“Only in my dreams,” she writes. “But yeah, I’m still waiting for that shout out!”