Meghan Elizabeth Trainor was(born December 22, 1993) is an American singer-songwriter and talent show judge. She rose to prominence after signing with Epic Records in 2014 and releasing her debut single "All About That Bass", which reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and sold 11 million copies worldwide, and drew criticism for its lyrical content. Trainor has released three studio albums with the label, and has received various awards and nominations, including the 2016 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
Trainor became interested in music from a young age; she wrote, recorded, and produced three independently released acoustic albums, Meghan Trainor (2009), I'll Sing with You, and Only 17 (2010). She began writing and producing songs for other artists in 2013. In 2015, Trainor released her pop and hip hop major-label debut studio album, Title, which included the top-10 singles "Lips Are Movin" and "Like I'm Gonna Lose You", and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200. The single "No" led her follow-up album, the R&B Thank You(2016), both of which reached number three on the respective charts. Trainor created her third album with Epic, the electronic dance music-influenced Treat Myself (2020), as an attempt to adapt to ongoing musical trends.
Womanhood, body image, and personal empowerment are frequently occurring lyrical themes in Trainor's music, which is influenced by the popular music of the 1950s, and blends the genres pop, R&B, doo-wop, and blue-eyed soul. Outside the music industry, she has had voice roles in animated films Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017) and Playmobil: The Movie (2019), and has served as a judge on the television talent shows The Four: Battle for Stardom (2018) and presently on The Voice UK (2020). Trainor's accolades include a Grammy Award, 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, in Nantucket, Massachusetts, to jewelers Kelli and Gary Trainor. Trainor has an older brother named Ryan and a younger brother named Justin. She began singing at age six, initially at a Methodist church with her father, who was also a music teacher and organist. Trainor's family encouraged her to pursue her musical interests, when she told her father she wanted to become a recording artist. She began writing songs and recording them using the digital audio workstation software GarageBand. Trainor started with her own arrangement of the song "Heart and Soul" (1938). According to her mother, Trainor "did a lot [of playing] by ear", and played music without formal training. Her father wanted her to explore every musical genre. At the age of 12, Trainor began performing as part of the cover band Island Fusion, which also included her aunt, younger brother, and father; they performed soca music alongside her own compositions. Trainor was in the group for four years, singing and playing piano, guitar, and bongo drums. They would play Bob Marley covers in bars and even opened for the Jamaican singer Beenie Man. By age 13, Trainor had written her first original song, "Give Me a Chance".
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 and studied guitar, played trumpet and sang in a jazz band for three years, and was a substitute cheerleader. While a teenager, Trainor's parents nudged her to attend songwriting conventions, taking her to venues at which production companies were searching for new artists and songwriters. At 15, she took guitar lessons from former NRBQ member Johnny Spampinato. 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.
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, performed and produced. She enrolled in the Summer Performance Program at the Berklee College of Music during the mid-year months of 2009 and 2010. Her debut album Meghan Trainor was released on December 25, 2009. Trainor released the song "Take Care of Our Soldiers" on April 16, 2010, all the proceeds from which benefited the United Service Organizations (USO) and Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops. The following year, Trainor released the acoustic albums I'll Sing with You and Only 17.
At a music conference in Nashville, Trainor introduced herself to former NRBQ member Al Anderson. He was impressed by Trainor's songwriting and referred her to his publisher Carla Wallace of Nashville-based music publishing firm Big Yellow Dog Music. 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 Music in 2012. She began her career as a songwriter-for-hire because of her ability to compose in a variety of genres, publishing songs for other artists but being unsure about becoming a recording artist herself. Her father said, "She thought she was one of the chubby girls who would never be an artist". Trainor graduated from Nauset Regional High School in 2012. She released her song "Who I Wanna Be" for digital download on April 24, 2012.
Throughout 2013, Trainor traveled to Nashville, New York City and Los Angeles, where she wrote and helped produce country and pop songs. She sang lead and background vocals on demos for other artists and her vocals were occasionally used on the final recordings. Trainor co-wrote the song "In the Sun", which was released as a single by Danish artist Aya Katrine in May 2013. In June 2013, Trainor met producer Kevin Kadish in Nashville via Wallace and a mutual friend. Both Kadish and Trainor liked retro style music and began recording together that month. 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 so in November 2013, Trainor decided to relocate to Nashville instead. There, she wrote songs for a number of acts, including Hunter Hayes, Rascal Flatts, R5, and Sabrina Carpenter.
2014–2015: Breakthrough with Title
Kadish and Trainor co-wrote "All About That Bass" in November 2013. The song was inspired by Trainor's struggle to accept her appearance and her feelings of insecurity about looking at pictures of herself. The duo offered the song to several record labels, all of which rejected the doo-wop song because it was not "synth-y, pop-y" enough. Trainor later met Paul Pontius, the A&R agent for Epic Records, and performed "All About That Bass" for him. Pontius arranged a meeting with label chairman L.A. Reid, during which Trainor performed the song for Reid, who signed her 20 minutes later. Subsequently, Trainor hired Troy Carter as her manager and released "All About That Bass" on June 30, 2014.The song reached number one in 58 countries, its music video went viral, and it sold 11 million units worldwide. It spent eight consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100and was certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Media outlets including Vice, The Fader and Complex accused Trainor of cultural appropriation in "All About That Bass", The Seattle Times' Paul de Barros commented that Trainor affects an accent akin to that of a "young, urban, African American woman" in the song, while its lyric "bringing booty back/Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that" was criticized by Vox's Kelsey McKinney for dismissing people of smaller body types. Trainor justified her use of the lyric by stating "just kidding, I know even you think you are fat" right after it.
Trainor performing in Philadelphia during the Jingle Ball Tour 2014
Trainor's debut extended play (EP), Title, was released on September 9, 2014. Trainor and Kadish composed its songs. The EP peaked at number 15 on the US Billboard 200 and at number 17 on the Canadian Albums Chart. Stereogum and Out noted the EP proved Trainor could outlast the success of her debut single. Music critics including McKinney and Slate's L.V. Anderson wrote that the EP's title track and "All About That Bass" are anti-feminist; Anderson stated that the songs send the message that "a woman's worth is defined by men" and set a negative example for Trainor's young female audience. Trainor responded to the anti-feminism claims by commenting, "I don't know, man! I just wrote a fun song about loving your booty and loving your body!" She released her second single "Lips Are Movin", a retro song in a similar vein to its predecessor, on October 21 that year. The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100, also reaching the top 10 in Australia,Canada, and New Zealand. In November 2014, Trainor appeared as a guest mentor on the seventh season of American series The Voice.Billboard ranked her as the fourth Top New Artist of the year, and placed her 12th on their annual list of the most powerful people in music under the age of 21.
Trainor's three self-released albums were removed from sale in the build-up to the release of her major-label debut studio album Title, which replaced her EP of the same name on the iTunes Store, and was released on January 9, 2015. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, it received an average score of 59 based on 13 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, earning a triple platinum certification from the RIAA. It was the ninth best-selling album of 2015 worldwide, with 1.8 million copies sold according to IFPI. The album's later singles "Dear Future Husband" and "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" reached the Hot 100's top 20, and the latter reached number one on the Australian Singles Chart. The music video for "Dear Future Husband", which depicts Trainor scrubbing a kitchen floor, drew criticism and online critics labeled it as "sexist" and "anti-feminist" for its portrayal of traditional gender stereotypes. She responded to the criticism by saying; "but no, I don't believe I was [being sexist]. I think I was just writing my song to my future husband out there, wherever he is". Trainor performed a duet with Charlie Puth on his debut single "Marvin Gaye", which was released in February 2015.
Trainor began her first headlining concert tour, That Bass Tour, on February 11, 2015, with Australian band Sheppard as the opening act. The album was also promoted through the MTrain Tour, with Puth and Life of Dillon as opening acts. The tour was set to begin on July 3 but Trainor was diagnosed with a vocal cord hemorrhage that month and her medical team ordered her to undergo complete vocal rest, delaying the first two dates of the tour. In July, she announced that she was writing the song "Better When I'm Dancin'" for The Peanuts Movie soundtrack (2015). On August 11, 2015, Trainor announced the cancellation of the remainder of her North American tour and said she would undergo surgery "to finally fix this once and for all". On September 1, 2015, she confirmed that she had successfully gone through the surgery and would need a six week recovery period before performing again. Trainor appeared as a musical guest on the third season of the American television sitcom Undateable. In late 2015, American singer Who Is Fancy released the single "Boys Like You", which features her and Ariana Grande. Trainor won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.
2016–2017: Thank You
Trainor performing in Washington, D.C. during Capital Pride in June 2016
Trainor told E! Online on January 7, 2016, she had almost finished working on her second major-label studio album Thank You. She told MTV News the album was influenced by the music of Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, and Bruno Mars, and includes a collaboration between her and R. City. The album's first single "No" was produced by Ricky Reed and was released on March 4, 2016. The R&B song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Shortly after the release of "No", Trainor released the promotional singles "Watch Me Do", "I Love Me", "Better" (featuring American rapper Yo Gotti), and "Mom", on which Trainor's mother appears. The second single from the album, "Me Too", was released on May 5; the accompanying video was released four days later but removed the same day because of unapproved digital manipulation of Trainor's body. An unedited version of the video was released the next day. The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. A performance of the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon drew attention when Trainor fell to the floor while trying to catch hold of a microphone stand.
Thank You was released on May 6, 2016. The album received mixed reviews, resulting in a Metacritic score of 60 based on 10 of them, and debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200; it was certified platinum in the US for sales in excess of a million units. In July, Trainor embarked on The Untouchable Tour in support of it, with Hailee Steinfeld and Common Kings as opening acts. "Better" was released as the album's third single in August 2016, and received a music video that includes a cameo from Beau Bridges. Trainor appeared on three other artists' songs in 2016, "Forgive Me Father" from DJ Khaled's album Major Key, "Someday" from Michael Bublé's album Nobody but Me, and "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from Brett Eldredge's album Glow. She co-wrote multiple songs that year, including Jennifer Lopez's "Ain't Your Mama" and "You Gotta Not" from Little Mix's album Glory Days. On February 24, 2017, Trainor released the single "I'm a Lady", which she recorded for the film Smurfs: The Lost Village, in which she also voiced a character called Smurfmelody.
2018-2022: The Love Train and Treat Myself
In December 2017, Fox announced Trainor as one of the judges on the show The Four: Battle for Stardom, along with Sean Combs, DJ Khaled and Charlie Walk. The program's first two seasons were broadcast in 2018. Trainor competed against singer Shania Twain in an episode of TBS's show Drop the Mic, which aired in January 2018; both were declared winners. Trainor's third major-label studio album, Treat Myself, was scheduled for release on August 31, 2018, but was delayed because Trainor wanted to write and record more songs for it. Its lead single "No Excuses" was released in March 2018 and peaked at number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100. The songs "Let You Be Right" and "Can't Dance" were released as singles two months later. "All the Ways" was released on June 20, 2018, and the title track was made available on July 20, 2018. The same year, Trainor appeared on Jason Mraz's song "More than Friends".
In collaboration with Sigala and Ella Eyre, Trainor released the single "Just Got Paid", which features American rapper French Montana. The song reached number 11 on the UK Singles Chart, number 7 in Scotland, and number 12 in Ireland. Trainor and Sean Paul appeared on a remix of CNCO's song "Hey DJ" later that year. Trainor launched The Salvation Army's 128th annual Red Kettle Campaign on November 22, 2018, performing at a Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins game. Treat Myself was later given a January 2019 release date but was not released until January 31, 2020. "All the Ways" was released to hot adult contemporary radio in February 2019 as a single. That month, Trainor also released an EP, The Love Train, which was promoted through music videos and includes "All the Ways". She was a headliner, along with Years & Years, for the 2019 Los Angeles Pride festival.
Trainor recorded the songs "Badass Woman" and "Run Like the River" for the 2019 films The Hustle and Playmobil: The Movie, respectively. She also voiced a fairy godmotherin Playmobil: The Movie. In September 2019, BBC announced Trainor would join will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones, and Olly Murs as a coach for the ninth season of The Voice UK, which premiered in 2020. She released "Wave" as the second single from Treat Myself, on September 27, 2019. The album was further promoted with the promotional singles "Workin' On It", "Evil Twin", and "Blink". Trainor wrote enough material for four albums while trying to adapt to new trends in the music industry, Treat Myself was released on January 31, 2020, along with its third single "Nice to Meet Ya" which features Nicki Minaj, to mixed reviews which resulted in a Metacritic score of 51 based on four of them. Treat Myselfdebuted at number 25 on the US Billboard 200 and "Nice to Meet Ya" debuted at number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100. Trainor released a deluxe version of the album in July 2020, preceded by the single "Make You Dance" (2020).
2022-Present: Takin' It Back
On June 21, 2022, Trainor announced the release of the single, "Bad for Me" (with Teddy Swims), which was released on June 24, 2022. On June 23, 2022, Trainor took to her Instagram to reveal the album cover of her upcoming fifth studio album Takin' It Back, which will be released on October 21, 2022.
During her childhood, Trainor's father introduced her to 1950s music, doo-wop, jazz, and the work of James Brown. She grew up listening to soca and Caribbean music, and credits 1950s music, soca, and the music of Frank Sinatra for influencing her blend of hip hop and pop music. Trainor had been introduced to soca at the age of seven when her aunt married Trinidadian soca singer Burton Toney. As a songwriter, she has been influenced by Sinatra's repertoire, saying, "No one writes like that anymore, because it's hard".She has described Stevie Wonder and Phil Collins as inspirations, and has cited Bruno Mars as one of her biggest influences. Trainor considers doo-wop the "catchiest stuff" and has stated that she wants to write a song in the vein of The Chordettes' "Lollipop" (1958). She has credited Beyoncé as "the one performer [she] stud[ies] a lot". Trainor has cited artists like Ariana Grande, Jason Mraz, and T-Pain as influences on the "upbeat and happy" nature of her music. Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley were influences on Thank You, whereas its lead single "No" draws inspiration from Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, and NSYNC.
Musical style and themes
Trainor is a singer-songwriter. Her music incorporates elements of pop, R&B, doo-wop, and blue-eyed soul. Her debut EP Title is composed of throwback-style sound and "1950s doo wop-inspired songs that straddle the line between modern R&B and melodic pop". Her hook-laden songwriting style has been likened to that of Brill Building composers such as Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Ellie Greenwich, and Jeff Barry; while the sound of her debut EP has been compared to that of American indie popsinger-songwriters Jenny Lewis and Neko Case, and the "retro-girl-group" sound of her debut single to that of 1960s singers such as Betty Everett and Eydie Gormé. The album Title is a fusion of girl group pop and old-school hip hop and Thank You is an R&B album with dance-pop elements, while Trainor incorporated electronic dance musicinfluences and funk on Treat Myself. Trainor plays a variety of instruments: bass, guitar, ukulele, keyboard, trumpet, percussion, and piano. According to Trainor, a song's melody is more important than its lyrics. Other genres she composes in include country, hip hop, reggae and soca, but she prefers doo-wop and reggae.
Trainor's lyrics frequently refer to womanhood, body image, and personal empowerment. Billboard's Ashley Lee wrote that since receiving controversy for the lyrics of "All About That Bass", Trainor began writing "more inclusive" songs about body positivity, citing "Me Too" and the Thank You track "Woman Up" (2016) as examples. The album Title explores themes like heartbreak, one-night stands, relationships, and sex. According to Slant Magazine's Alexa Camp, Trainor continued to peddle a "myopic, commercialized brand of feminism" with Thank You. Trainor incorporated empowerment as a lyrical theme on Treat Myself, and also continued the theme of feminism with its lyrics; the latter drew criticism from PopMatters' Jessica Brant.
Trainor is a contralto, her vocals have been described as "soulful" and "highly resonant", and "a reedy cross" between those of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. Chris DeVille of Stereogum said Trainor is "a very capable singer" and that she "project[s] lots of character and emotion within a relatively limited range". Writing for Canadian Business, James Cowan compared the harmonies in Trainor's music to those of 1960s female groups. MTV News' Carvell Wallace wrote that the singer has charismatic vocals, her relatability is part of her appeal, and that one can "imagine a drunken bachelorette party having a transcendent sing-along to [her music] in the back of a rented stretch Hummer". He also criticized Trainor for using African-American English. Trainor has said that her accent is "the Gary Trainor thing", and that her father is "very soulful" and emulates Brown sometimes.
Public image and personal life
Rolling Stone described Trainor as 2014's "Most Unlikely Pop Star". Following the release of "All About That Bass", Billboard's Andrew Hampp reported that Trainor had "become a model of self-acceptance for kids across the globe". The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan called Trainor "the poster girl for the larger woman" and "pop's emblem for self-acceptance". Billboard included her in its list of "14 Musicians With Body Positive Messages" while MTV Australia stated she has "always stood by what she believes in and attempted to promote body positivity for all women". 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. According to Billboard's Jada Yuan, Trainor's image is defined by her "curves" though she is not "curvy" like Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian but "she's not model-thin like many other stars". The author has described Trainor's use of social media as "upbeat to goofy, with little soul baring or soapbox lecturing".
Some critics have described Trainor as anti-feminist and said she seeks self-worth based on the opinions of men. Trainor initially did not identify as a feminist in a 2014 Billboardinterview but two years later she had changed her views. In a 2020 interview, Trainor said she was "just ... stupid and young", and did not identify as a feminist due to her mother's advice that she should not claim to be something if she did not understand the word, and thought feminists were "those people that hate [her]".
Trainor met actor Daryl Sabara in 2014 at a house party in Los Angeles, and began a relationship with him in July 2016. The couple got engaged on December 22, 2017,and married exactly one year later on Trainor's 25th birthday.
Trainor has partnered with the American Cancer Society and made public appearances in charity events such as We Day California and The Hollywood Reporter's 24th annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast. In 2018, the British media company Global's in-house charity Make Some Noise invited Trainor to present a £77,200 check to the charity Reach. During the 2019–2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Trainor donated funds to feed healthcare professionals in Greater Hartford and pledged money for restaurants in Connecticut to provide 50 lunches to local hospitals daily for five days. She also held a Live At-Home concert series to raise money for Feeding America. In May 2020, Rolling Stone reported the tour had raised over $225,000 for the nonprofit organization.
In 2016, Trainor said she had never voted in a United States presidential election and did not intend to do so in the future. However, she said she preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 election. She is outspoken about LGBTQ rights and gun control, and was among the 200 artists and music executives to sign Billboard's open letter to the United States Congress demanding an end to gun violence. In 2017, Trainor publicly supported the legalization of same-sex marriage while denouncing an Australian anti-marriage equality campaign. A year later, through Billboard, Trainor published a "love letter" to the LGBTQ community, in which she described the community as "some of [her] biggest fans since [she] came onto the scene".
Awards and accolades
See also: List of awards and nominations received by Meghan Trainor
During her career, Trainor has won four ASCAP Pop Music Awards, two Billboard Music Awards, a People's Choice Award, and a Grammy Award. Trainor was awarded Best Female Artist at the 2009 International Acoustic Music Awards and the Grand Prize at the 2010 New Orleans Songwriter's Festival; she has also won the 2011 Tennessee Concerts Song Contest and the John Lennon Love Song Songwriting Contest. She was named the "Breakthrough Artist of the Year" by the Music Business Association in 2014.
Among her achievements, Trainor became the 21st woman whose debut single peaked at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and the fifth female artist to follow up her chart-topping debut single with another top-five release. On the Billboard Year-End charts for 2015, Trainor was listed seventh on Top Artists and second on Top Female Artists. Billboardranked her at number 40 on their list of the top artists of the 2010s. Title was placed 98th on the magazine's "Greatest of All Time Billboard 200 Albums by Women" list, with "All About That Bass" ranking at number 69 on the all inclusive list for singles. As of October 2015, "All About That Bass" was the only debut single by any artist to accumulate a billion views on YouTube.
Main articles: Meghan Trainor discography and List of songs recorded by Meghan Trainor
- Title (2015)[a]
- Thank You (2016)
- Treat Myself (2020)
- A Very Trainor Christmas (2020)
- MT5 (2023)
- That Bass Tour (2015)
- MTrain Tour (2015)
- The Untouchable Tour (2016)