Meghan Trainor's Confidence Got A Boost From 'That Bass'
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
MEGHAN TRAINOR: I've never, ever, ever sang this in front of people.
TRAINOR: Never, ever.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Last summer, a slightly nervous 20-year-old picked up a microphone in Nashville to perform a song that she'd written for someone else. She wound up recording it herself and it's been on the top of the charts almost ever since and watched on YouTube almost half a billion times.
TRAINOR: (Singing) I'm all about that bass, about that bass, no treble. I'm all about that bass, about that bass, no treble. I'm all about that bass, about that bass, about that bass, bass, bass, bass, bass. Yeah, it's pretty clear - I ain't no size two but I can shake it, shake it, like I'm supposed to do. Because I got that boom-boom that all the boys chase - all the right junk in all the right places.
SIMON: "All About That Bass," one of the songs from Meghan Trainor's new album. It's titled "Title." Meghan Trainor joins us now from New York.
Thanks so much for being with us.
TRAINOR: Thank you for having me.
SIMON: Where does the phrase come from?
TRAINOR: My co-writer had a title "All Bass No Treble," and I told him we should say "All About That Bass." And he said, I can't compare it with anything in real life. And I said, what about like, a big bass - like, a big booty or volume? Having thickness on your body and being proud of it. And he loved the idea, and we wrote this song in 45 minutes.
SIMON: You know, this is NPR. We don't hear the word booty a whole lot on this network.
SIMON: No, thank you. Can you tell us who you wrote it for, or who was in mind?
TRAINOR: Well, at the time, my job - I was signed by a publishing company to be a songwriter for other pop stars. But while writing this song, we knew no one would be able to cut it because you had to be a rapper and a singer who was also not a size two. So we kind of knew right away this would probably never see the light of day. But then I got signed for it, and now it's everywhere.
SIMON: Yeah. And did you write it out of your personal experience?
TRAINOR: Absolutely. I wrote it because I was very uncomfortable with myself and I wrote it as like, I wish I was this confident. I wish I was all about the bass. And now, singing it a hundred times and seeing the reaction of the crowd, I actually am very comfortable now. And the words have helped myself, along with other fans, which is incredible.
SIMON: Let's listen to another track from your new album. This one is called "Bang Dem Sticks."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BANG DEM STICKS")
TRAINOR: (Singing) Looking so good when he bang dem sticks. He can do the favorite diddle with a little bit of samba. And all the girls, I want your drummers number. But wait a minute - what the [bleep] is going on? You' re here to see M-Train because you love my songs. But there we go again with the double stroke - and I ain't talking dirty. I ain't making no jokes.
SIMON: You've talked, I think in interviews, about the influence of Caribbean music, soca.
TRAINOR: Yes, I love soca.
SIMON: That comes from your childhood?
TRAINOR: At the age of 7, my parents - we went on a family vacation to Trinidad and Tobago. And my aunt came as our babysitter, and she fell in love with a soca star. And so since 7 years old, I had a Trinidadian uncle.
SIMON: How did you connect with that music?
TRAINOR: I noticed that it was all upbeat, all very positive. And I thought that was so cool. Like, over here, we have to do some ballads and talk about heartbreak and everything, but they can still continue with hits with just happy upbeat songs.
SIMON: Let me ask you about what I think has become my favorite track, "Dear Future Husband." Let's listen.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND")
TRAINOR: (Singing) Tell me everything's all right. Dear future husband, here's a few things you need to know if you want to be my one and only all my life. Dear future husband, if you want to get that special loving, tell me I'm beautiful each and every night. After every fight, just apologize...
SIMON: So were you influenced by '50s, '60s doo-wop?
TRAINOR: Yes, absolutely.
SIMON: I just wondered if this was just new to you at the age of 20.
TRAINOR: (Laughter). No, I listen to a lot of "Runaround Sue" and those old-school songs.
SIMON: Oh - "Runaround Sue." Oh, my gosh, yeah.
TRAINOR: Yeah. And then I respected the Beach Boys, how they could have big choruses that weren't like, melodically up very high. And I wanted to do a very catchy one that everyone could sing, like, the (singing) "Dear Future Husband," so that everyone could sing along to it.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DEAR FUTURE HUSBAND")
TRAINOR: (Singing) If you want to get that special loving, tell me I'm beautiful each and every night. Oh, future husband better love me right.
SIMON: I've got to tell you - you're very thoughtful, you speak from experience, and you're 21 years old, right?
TRAINOR: Yeah, I just turned 21 in December.
SIMON: How long have you been doing this?
TRAINOR: When I was 13, I got a MacBook and I was writing before then but I started producing on my own. I always listened to the top 100 songs on iTunes to see like, what's very popular, and how can I do something like that?
SIMON: So you hear what's popular and try and figure out something you can do to fit in?
TRAINOR: Yeah, but then I want to be different. So that's why I brought the old-school back and then mixed in a little urban and Caribbean.
SIMON: I want to end, if we can, where this new album starts. Let's listen to the very first song, "The Best Part."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BEST PART")
TRAINOR: (Singing) I've got a heart for the rhythm that beats with no pain. I've got a head full of melodies stuck in my brain. But the best part of being a singer at all is singing to the world my songs, I said, singing to the world my songs.
SIMON: And that's it, right?
TRAINOR: (Laughter). Yeah. That's the best part.
SIMON: Yeah. No one ever said to you, you need another two and a half minutes?
TRAINOR: (Laughter). No, that was my cute little intro.
SIMON: You know, it's so tempting to call you an overnight sensation, but I wonder if it feels overnight to you?
TRAINOR: The crazy parts are, like, the fact that I just did "Ellen" yesterday and today I'm doing "Jimmy Fallon" and then I fly back to LA to do...
SIMON: We don't get a mention in there?
TRAINOR: ...And you (laughter), of course, and this. This is ridiculous. I listen to this all the time.
SIMON: That's all right. That's OK, go ahead.
TRAINOR: (Laughter). But the schedule, I guess is pretty crazy. But, yeah the pop star life is definitely different than the songwriting life. It's night and day.
SIMON: But you've been working at it a long time in your own way, haven't you?
TRAINOR: Yeah, I've been working in my bedroom for a very long time.
SIMON: Meghan Trainor. Her new album, "Title." The title - that's it, "Title."
It was nice talking to you. Good luck, OK?
TRAINOR: It was very nice talking to you. Thank you for having me.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIPS ARE MOVING")
TRAINOR: (Singing) I know you lie because your lips are moving, baby, don't you know I'm done? Come on, sing. Your lips are moving. Your lips are moving. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.