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Meghan Trainor

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Alice Gee | 07/06/2024

Meghan Trainor is Mother, and she's here to serve! Ten years ago Meghan made her entrance with her catchy pop bop 'All About That Bass', gaining iconic stardom - for many it was a cultural moment establishing conversation for all those who felt ‘other’ in their bodies. With little positive conversation around the ‘other’ and what was deemed ‘unacceptable’ sizing or for those simply with a little more bass, Meghan proudly threw out shame, empowering and encouraging self love and pride where identity and body perception were concerned.

As Meghan reflects celebrating the ten year anniversary, she’s never been more proud of where her musical journey has taken her - pouring even more of herself into her new album 'Timeless'. Eager for the world to hear, 'Let's go already, ' she exclaims as she gets comfortable telling me everything from her New York hotel. Meghan explains that fans have shown so much love for new music, especially on social media. "They've been asking for more, and I'm here to deliver." Having started ‘Timeless’ 10 days after her C-section with her second baby boy, Meghan tells me why getting back to it was on her mind. "Recovering from birth, you have to learn how to love your body from scratch all over again. You're there thinking, where is my body? Which body is this? There's essentially a whole different you in front of you. Songwriting helped me a lot with that at the time alongside the positive love online."

Although I haven't any children and have had difficulties with body image and food, I know, on some level, it can be all too difficult to find a stable space and equilibrium when feeling content with not only what you see in the mirror but the way you perceive yourself. Having made waves with her single "All About That Bass", Meghan's no stranger to speaking publicly about body image and confidence; it's something that has only felt natural when championing and embracing who she is and her identity. I'm curious whether writing pop bobs and anthems that shine a light on body confidence was originally more for her benefit than those around her. She tells me of a little girl she recently met, no older than 13, who asked whether she writes for fans or herself - Meghan confesses that it made her cry when she thought of the answer. "It's for both", Meghan explains confidently. "But when I write each song, I always try to remember how to talk to myself. When I perform, it's a form of therapy where I sing to myself, feel good in my body and love myself. It's the best therapy ever for me. When I saw "All About That Bass" helped so many strangers, I felt like I had my superpower."

Taking a mere 45 minutes to write All About That Bass seems easy, but for Meghan, it was always more about realising how each song could change someone's life, with the idea continuing to flow through every album. "I thought, let's keep going. (Timeless) is full of anthems about self-love and positivity, perfect to pump you up." Still, when considering Timeless, it's been more personal than ever, from how her children have inspired her, to spaces that make her feel powerful. "I'm in the gym a lot more nowadays. So I'm writing music for when I'm in the gym. I have this song called "I Want To Thank Me" and play it every morning in the gym. It's all about being a boss, working hard, and, more importantly, feeling good. I wanted to tell myself I'm proud of you. I want to recognise that I care for myself and do a good job. Sometimes, that can be hard to do." Having blared "Been This", "Mother' and "Made You Look" enough myself when spinning, I can confirm the songs hit a little differently when I hit that 'cycling high' and have a good beat to move to. After all, it's all about those happy chemicals.

I love Meghan's conversational nature in her music. Having grown up with a mother who's a speech therapist and a singer, communication has always been encouraged. Whether it's talking across the table at dinner, writing, or singing, it's important to remember the power music has, from how you carry yourself to those moments of clarity when you hear lyrics vocalising something you've been unable to say. But in the public eye, with every move and word being scrutinised, it comes at a cost and with fear, something I guess Meghan has experienced. "My best friend once told me she was proud of me saying things that terrified me, the things she’s wanted to say for so long and saying them so loudly. It has to be the best compliment I've ever received. It's important to say the things you want to say and to be kinder to yourself. I found that in music. I've found my place in the world." Having championed body positivity and confidence throughout each album over ten years, especially growing up in an era where self-worth was equated to size, and small ones at that, Meghan explains how naturally coming up against these pillars has made her want to shout even louder even when against trolls online.

"Sometimes I'm like, wow, things are changing. And then, other times, I feel like we're going backwards. I've gotten to a place where I feel able to talk to my therapist about how I am in my body and how I control my thoughts. She always hits me with 'don't let them have everything' and 'be careful how much power you give their voices'. That one got me hard. I realised I'd give so much power to others who shouldn’t have it. I care so much, and I care about what everyone thinks. So, I'm learning to find balance. I remind myself I'm only here a short time and will not waste time giving power and energy to those who don't deserve it.

Talking of boundaries and balance, when it comes to what’s important to Meghan, happiness remains the priority. Dance remains at the forefront when it comes to her own happiness and the joy others feel when consuming her music. As we talk about the new research and profound effects dance can have on the nervous system, I tell Meghan how mortified I'd felt when doing dance therapy before I realised the effects it has when benefiting my anxiety. Similarly, growing up, Meghan was also no stranger to feeling shy when putting herself out there through dance. "Growing up, I was always too shy to dance in front of people. But now I care a little less about perception. I want to dance more. It was always a huge dream of mine to dance. Growing up, I would be terrified on the sidelines. It took a lot for me to get up there, but by the night's end, I'd finally be brave enough to go out and dance. It was a big thing I had to overcome. I think that's why I love the TikTok world. It's all about fun, doing those dances, and feeling like I'm a star."

mattyvogel_lead-press-photo .jpeg
mattyvogel_lead-press-photo .jpeg

Regarding her signature style, Meghan's moves are only a tiny cog in a much bigger, well-oiled machine. With her tenth anniversary from the start of her rise to fame, it felt important for Meghan to revisit her roots, where it all began when writing her new album. "I studied "All About That Bass", and I studied what works before asking myself ‘how can I bring that to 2024? How can I outdo myself? How can I push harder and be more creative?’ Some people say, "Oh, her songs all sound the same". But if you listen, it's because I found my genre, my lane, and who I want to be as an artist." Naturally, for Meghan, it's all about bringing old-school elements that are creative and hard to do with complex harmonies - and then bringing them to the club. "I haven't seen it done a lot. I love old-school music, and I love modern pop. I wanted to morph the two but also put my blend in there. I love challenging myself. Especially nowadays, with everyone's attention span being so short. My main goal for Timeless, which I've never done before, was by the chorus; I want it to feel like a whole new song."

In terms of identity, Meghan has captured the hearts of her fans with her personality and music, as well as lifting the lid on both her working and home life with her two sons playing a part in the open and honest look at her everyday life. However, the changes to her identity have brought her the most joy, having become Riley and Barry's mum. "That's my number one. They've changed everything for the better, and my life is way better and richer now than ever. My identity has changed now that my life's a little different. I get introduced to places when I do a show or something, so I hear my name a lot in a literal way. But when I was at an indoor playground the other day and I love being introduced as their mum; that's all I care about."

With an accolade of awards under their belt within the music industry, including a Grammy, Meghan took her hand to something creative and albeit a little different, her debut book ‘Dear Future Mama: A TMI Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood from Your Bestie’. The book is an honest take on the good, bad and difficult as Meghan opens up about her mental health experiences and motherhood. I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about how I'd cope when I take into account my mental health and having children, and I imagine so many others are too. Meghan's honesty provides a safe space for mothers, mothers-to-be and those who want an honest look into what you can expect when you take into account your mental health. For me, it acts as a comfort blanket. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be terrified of the practicalities of motherhood, but I also don't want to be alienated by the prospects of everything being perfect, something Meghan balances perfectly with practical optimism.

Meghan tells me how her initial mental breakdown and introduction to her panic disorder came before having her babies, all simply down to her chemicals being askew. "I was unfamiliar and uneducated, and most of my family, too. l was lucky I found support in my older brother, who had been suffering from this as well and had never told anyone. So when he came to me and told me to go to the ER and accept the support and the medication, he walked me through it. Seeing my hero say, " I know how you feel, " made me get help. I learned from that that I'm going to survive this panic attack, I'm going to live, and I'm going to get through this."

Amazingly, I exclaim to Meghan about the power of conversation, even saving a life. "Hearing other celebrities talk in interviews about it helped a lot. I knew I needed to figure this out. I needed to put my oxygen mask on first before I put someone else's on. When it comes to my babies, if I don't take care of myself, how will I take care of them? So, I stay in therapy, put the hours in and take my medication. I went on antidepressants, and I'm still on them today. I love my medicine. My life wouldn't be what it is without that medicine."

Having had fewer panic attacks through both of her pregnancies, Meghan explains how it all came crashing down following the birth of her first baby, Riley and why writing about reaching out for help in Dear Future Mama was crucial. "I remember one-night feeling like I was going to faint in bed. And I started crying. I remember saying to Daryl that the panic was back. I was terrified; I hadn't had it in so long. I called my doctor crying. The first thing first she asked was "Are you safe?" and I told her I'm safe. She asked if everyone else was safe. And I said everyone's safe. She called in for medicine, which helped. I talked to all my friends who have panic attacks. I FaceTimed them, and they made me feel a lot better. Them simply talking me through it was so helpful. I'm incredibly proud of myself for calling for help."

Having seen the positive effects being open has had from hearing of her experiences, I wonder what Meghan hopes her boys take from her speaking about her mental health experiences. "The first thing I want my children to learn is emotions and why they feel what they feel. I always try to level with them. What are you feeling? Are you feeling frustrated or angry? We have a chart at home where they can point out how they feel. I want them to know about it; I wish it were taught at a young age." As we chatter about childhood memories, I ask what brings Meghan joy when we reach the end of the interview. "My happiest place in the world is on our couch all together. Even before kids, we would have couch days where we would just cuddle and be cosy with no worries. We'd watch TV and escape. Now we do the same but with the kids, and they get to watch their favourite shows. My son loves to watch our wedding video on YouTube. It's magical."

From the very start Meghan has been an advocate for happier and kinder conversations. For all those teenage girls as an example like myself sat up worrying about their bodies at night, Meghan was more than happy to start the conversation telling us we were allowed to feel beautiful in the bodies we were in. And for the next ten years, Meghan has continued to champion all in feeling powerful and strong, all too often opening up about her own experiences in the hope that we may feel a little less alone in the struggles life can present. Whether it’s All About That Bass quite literally or being honest about her own mental health struggles, Meghan’s priority on happiness and all those things that light up our lives, remain key and her new album Timeless continues to be a testament to her ever positive and meaningful endeavours.

Timeless is out now!

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