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Meghan Elizabeth Trainor (born December 22, 1993) is an American singer and songwriter.[7] Trainor's work has been recognized with several awards and nominations, including a Grammy Award, Music Business Association's Breakthrough Artist of the Year accolade and two Billboard Music Awards.

Meghan Trainor
Trainor singing into a microphone onstage
Trainor performing at The Today Show during Fleet Week New York in May 2015
Background information
Birth name Meghan Elizabeth Trainor
Born (1993-12-22) December 22, 1993 (age 23)
Nantucket, Massachusetts, U.S.
Origin North Eastham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • ukulele
  • guitar
  • keyboards
  • piano
  • trumpet
Years active 2009–present
Labels Epic
Website meghan-trainor.com

Trainor was interested in music from a young age, and wrote, recorded, performed, and produced three independently-released albums between ages 15 and 17. In 2011, she signed a publishing deal with Big Yellow Dog Music, and pursued a career in songwriting. After signing a record deal with Epic Records in 2014, Trainor rose to fame with the release of her major-label debut studio album, Title (2015). The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, went on to sell over one million copies domestically,[8] and produced three top 10 singles: "All About That Bass", "Lips Are Movin" and "Like I'm Gonna Lose You".

In 2016, Trainor won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Her second major release Thank You was released in 2016, preceded by its lead single "No" which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2017, Trainor released the single "I'm a Lady," which appeared in the animated film Smurfs: The Lost Village.

Prominently influenced by the 1950s and 1960s eras in music, Trainor's music has been noted for its retro style aesthetic. Common themes in her lyrics include subjects of modern womanhood, body image, and empowerment.

Contents

Life and career

1993–2008: Early life

Meghan Elizabeth Trainor was born on December 22, 1993[9] in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the daughter of Kelly Anne "Kelli" (Jekanowski) and Gary Trainor, both jewelers. [10][11][12] Trainor has an elder brother named Ryan, and a younger brother named Justin.[13][14] Trainor began singing at age six, initially singing with her father at church.[15][16] She began writing music at age 11, starting with her own arrangement of the song "Heart and Soul" (1938).[17] Trainor attributes her early career progress to being born into a musical family.[18] Trainor's father was a music teacher and musician, and plays organ in a Methodist church.[11][18] Her great-uncle Bob LaPalm was in a prior band with Al Anderson of the rock band NRBQ,[11] and Trainor's aunt and Trinidadian uncle, Lisa and Burton Toney, are soca music performers and songwriters.[10][18][19]

At age 11, Trainor told her father that she wanted to become a recording artist and began writing songs, recording them using GarageBand from her MacBook.[18][20] "She did a lot by ear," her mother recalls.[15] Her father encouraged her to explore various musical genres.[15] At age 12, Trainor began performing as part of Island Fusion, an "all-purpose party band" which performed covers, soca music, and Trainor's compositions.[11][13] The band included her aunt, her younger brother, and her father.[11] Trainor played piano, guitar, and bongo drum, and sang with the band for four years.[13][21] By age 13, Trainor had written her first original song, "Give Me a Chance".[17] When she was in the eighth grade, the family left Nantucket. They temporarily relocated to Orleans, Massachusetts before moving to North Eastham, Massachusetts, where the children attended Nauset Regional High School.[15] At Nauset Regional High, Trainor studied guitar and was a substitute cheerleader.[11][21] Additionally, Trainor sang and played trumpet in a jazz band for three years.[10][15][22]

While she was still a teenager, Trainor's parents encouraged her to attend songwriting conventions, and they took her to venues where production companies were searching for new artists and songwriters.[17][20] At age 15, she took guitar lessons from former NRBQ band member Johnny Spampinato.[11] During this time, Trainor used Logic Studio to record and produce her compositions, and later worked independently from a home studio that her parents constructed for her.[15][20]

2009–2013: Career beginnings

Between the ages of 15 and 17, Trainor independently released three albums of material she wrote, recorded and performed herself.[18] Her eponymous debut album, Meghan Trainor, was released on December 25, 2009,[23] receiving airplay from local radio station WCIB.[15] Trainor enrolled in the Summer Performance Program at the Berklee College of Music during the summer of 2009 and 2010, reaching the finals of the program's songwriting competition.[21] Trainor released "Take Care of Our Soldiers" on April 16, 2010, a charity single in support of American troops abroad.[20][24] In 2011, Trainor released two acoustic albums, I'll Sing with You and Only 17.[15] During this time, she received the accolade for Best Female Artist at the 2009 International Acoustic Music Awards, and the Grand Prize at the 2010 New Orleans Songwriter's Festival, the 2011 Tennessee Concerts Song Contest and John Lennon Love Song Songwriting Contest.[18]

At a music conference in Colorado,[13] Trainor was introduced to former NRBQ member, Al Anderson.[11] Impressed by Trainor's songwriting ability, Anderson referred Trainor to his publisher, Carla Wallace at Big Yellow Dog Music, urging Wallace to sign Trainor.[11][15] At this time, Trainor was offered a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music;[18] however, Trainor decided to forego college to pursue a career in songwriting instead.[25] Wallace offered Trainor a publishing deal with Nashville-based Big Yellow Dog Music, which Trainor signed at age 17.[10][14][20] She began her career as a songwriter-for-hire in part due to her ability to write in a number of genre styles.[11] She gravitated to song publishing, unsure of herself as a recording artist. "She thought she was one of the chubby girls who would never be an artist," her father recalls.[11] Trainor graduated from Nauset Regional High School in 2012.[22] Her second single, "Who I Wanna Be", was released on April 24, 2012.[26]

Throughout 2013, Trainor traveled to Nashville, New York City and Los Angeles, where she would write and help produce country and pop music. She would also sing lead and background vocals for demos of other artists, with her vocals occasionally making the final cut. She later earned her first songwriting royalties by penning for artists from Italy and Denmark.[18][27] In June 2013, Trainor met producer Kevin Kadish in Nashville through a referral from Wallace and a mutual friend.[15][28] Kadish and Trainor shared a love for retro style music and began recording together that month.[28] Trainor later became frustrated with commuting to Los Angeles for songwriting sessions. Her parents did not want her to relocate, describing a move there as expensive. In November 2013, Trainor decided to relocate to Nashville instead.[11][15] There, she wrote songs for a number of acts, including Hunter Hayes,[14] Rascal Flatts,[15] R5,[29] and Sabrina Carpenter.[30]

2014–2015: Breakthrough with Title

 
Trainor performing in Philadelphia during the Jingle Ball Tour 2014

Kadish and Trainor wrote "All About That Bass" in 2013.[17] After various record labels declined to have their artists record the song,[10] Trainor recorded the song herself in September that year, and performed it on the ukulele for Epic Records chairman L.A. Reid in February 2014, which immediately led to her signing a deal with the label.[31] Trainor hired Troy Carter as her manager.[25] "All About That Bass" was released on June 30, 2014,[32] and its music video became a viral hit.[33] "All About That Bass" reached number one in 58 countries and became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with worldwide sales of 11 million units as of December 2014.[34]

"All About That Bass" preceded Trainor's debut extended play (EP), Title, released on September 9, 2014.[35] It was composed entirely by Trainor and Kadish,[36] and peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200 and number 17 on the Canadian Albums Chart.[37][38] Trainor released her second single, "Lips Are Movin" on October 21, 2014.[39] The song's music video was commissioned by Hewlett-Packard, who included Trainor as part of a promotional campaign for their HP Pavilion product.[40] The single peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100,[41] making her the fifth female artist to follow up her chart-topping debut hit with another top 5 single.[42] "Lips Are Movin" also reached the top 10 in Australia,[43] Canada,[44] and New Zealand.[45] In November 2014, she appeared as a guest mentor on the seventh season of American series The Voice.[46] Trainor was listed as the fourth most Trending Music Artist in Google's Year in Search for 2014.[47] Billboard ranked her as the fourth Top New Artist of the year,[48] and placed her 12th on their own 21 Under 21 2014 list.[49]

Sony Music Entertainment requested that Trainor's current publisher, Big Yellow Dog Music, pull Trainor's three self-released albums from circulation in the build-up to her major label debut, Title.[15] As a result, Title is recognized as Trainor's debut studio album.[50][51] It acts as a full-length replacement of her EP of the same name,[52] and was released on January 9, 2015.[53] The album debuted atop the U.S. Billboard 200,[54] making her the 13th female artist with a debut number 1 song and album.[42] On March 3, Trainor released the third single from the album called "Dear Future Husband",[55] which eventually peaked within the Hot 100 top 20. Trainor featured in Charlie Puth's first single "Marvin Gaye" which released also in March 2015.[56] Her next single, "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" featuring John Legend, became her second number-one on the Australian Singles Chart[57] and third top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.[58] Trainor's first headlining concert tour, That Bass Tour, began on February 11, 2015, with Australian band Sheppard as the opening act.[59] The album was to be further promoted through the MTrain Tour, with Charlie Puth and Life of Dillon as opening acts. It was set to begin on Friday, July 3, 2015.[60] However, around that time or shortly afterward, in July 2015 (the online article did not specify a specific time) she was diagnosed with a vocal cord hemorrhage- a potentially serious but somewhat common event among singers, and was ordered by her medical team to undergo complete vocal rest, which has meant the cancellation or long delay of at least the first two dates in the MTrain Tour: a Friday performance of July 3, 2015 at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the following Saturday night, the Fourth of July (Independence Day), at the Mohegan Sun, in Uncasville, Connecticut.[61] On August 11, 2015, Trainor announced via social media that she was canceling the remainder of her North American tour due to further vocal cord hemorrhaging and would seek surgery "to finally fix this once and for all."[62] On July 28, 2015, it was announced that Trainor was writing a song for The Peanuts Movie soundtrack, entitled "Better When I'm Dancin'", which would be sung by herself.[63][64] "Better When I'm Dancin'", released with an accompanying music video, is also featured on Just Dance 2016's new subscription platform, Just Dance Unlimited.[65] In August 2015, Trainor co-wrote Rascal Flatts' single "I Like the Sound of That".[66] On October 30, 2015, Trainor appeared on Undateable as the musical guest. She also made a cameo appearance as a customer named Meghan.[67] In late 2015, American singer Who Is Fancy released the single "Boys Like You", featuring Trainor and Ariana Grande.[68] Title was the ninth best-selling album of 2015 worldwide, with 1.8 million copies sold according to IFPI.[69]

2016–present: Thank You and upcoming third studio album

Trainor revealed to E! Online on January 7, 2016, that she was almost finished working on her album Thank You.[70] Trainor told MTV that the album was influenced by Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, and Bruno Mars, and features a collaboration between herself and R. City.[71] The album's first single, titled "No", was produced by Ricky Reed[72] and released on March 4, 2016,[73] not long after Trainor won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.[74] The lead single peaked at number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Shortly after "No" was released, Trainor released four promotional singles, "Watch Me Do", "I Love Me",[75] "Better" (featuring Yo Gotti), and "Mom" which features her mother Kelli Trainor. The second single from the album, titled "Me Too", was released on May 5, 2016. The accompanying video was released on May 9, 2016, but was later removed that day due to unapproved digital manipulation of Trainor's body.[76] It was corrected to the unedited version and re-released the next day.[77] Thank You was released exclusively on Apple Music on May 6, 2016, and saw a standard commercial release on May 13, 2016.[78] In July 2016, Trainor embarked on The Untouchable Tour, in support of the album, with Hailee Steinfeld and Common Kings as opening acts.[79] On February 24, 2017, she released the single "I'm a Lady" for the film Smurfs: The Lost Village, and announced at the film's premiere that her third studio album is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2017. In 2018, she will be one of the judges on Fox's new television show The Four.[80]

Artistry

Influences

James Brown (left) and Frank Sinatra (right) significantly influence Trainor and her music

Growing up, Trainor was introduced to 1950s music, doo-wop, jazz, and the works of James Brown by her father.[15][81] Trainor was raised around soca and other Caribbean styles.[73] She credits 1950s music, soca, and Frank Sinatra for influencing her hip hop, pop musical blend.[82] As a songwriter, she is influenced by songs performed by Sinatra. "No one writes like that anymore, because it's hard", she said.[83] She is inspired by Stevie Wonder and Phil Collins, and has named the 1999 Tarzan soundtrack—on which Collins features—as her favorite album during her youth.[83] She also cites Bruno Mars[10][82][84] as one of her biggest influences. Other artists she credits as influences are Christina Aguilera, The Andrews Sisters,[85] Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin,[71] The Chordettes,[86] Ray Charles, Earth, Wind & Fire,[82] Britney Spears, Destiny's Child,[87] NSYNC,[88] Ariana Grande, Jason Mraz,[84] T-Pain[10][84] and Beyoncé.[89]

Musical style and themes

Trainor is identified as a singer-songwriter.[90][91] Her sound is predominantly characterized as "Neo-Retro", a "mix-mash" of R&B,[92] pop, doo-wop and blue-eyed soul.[93] Trainor's debut EP Title comprises throwback style sound, and 1950s doo wop-inspired songs[94] that straddle the line between modern R&B and melodic pop.[21][not in citation given] Her work is reminiscent of the famous Brill building composers, such as Goffin-King, Greenwich-Barry, etc.; comparisons also to that of American singer-songwriters Neil Sedaka, Jenny Lewis, Neko Case,[95] and to 1960s singers such as Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Betty Everett, Lesley Gore, and Eydie Gormé.[96] Trainor plays a variety of musical instruments: bass,[11] guitar, ukulele, keyboard, trumpet, percussion,[15] and piano.[83] She feels that a song's melody is more important than its lyrics.[15] She composes in a variety of genres, including country, hip hop, reggae and soca,[11] but prefers doo-wop and reggae.[89]

Trainor's vocals have been described as "soulful" and "highly resonant",[97] and "a reedy cross" between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.[98] Chris DeVille of Stereogum opined that she is "a very capable singer", and added that Trainor "project[s] lots of character and emotion within a relatively limited range".[99] When singing, Trainor uses a Southern American English patois.[100] The harmonies in her music have been likened to those of 1960s girl groups.[40] Trainor's lyrics are recognized to contemplate 21st-century womanhood.[101] She has said that she aims to "break the chains" of the "absurd standards of thinness" promoted by the beauty industry with her lyrics.[102]

Public image

In 2014, Rolling Stone deemed Trainor the year's "Most Unlikely Pop Star".[17] While promoting her first album, she was noted for serving as an inspiration to youth who struggle with body image and bullying.[25][33] The Guardian called her "the poster girl for the larger woman" and "pop's emblem for self-acceptance", while Fashion Times wrote that Trainor "inspired many women to embrace their curves".[103][104] Online magazine Mic, however, has described Trainor as anti-feminist suggesting she seeks self-worth based on the opinions of men,[105] but in an interview in 2016, Trainor clarified that she is a feminist after learning more about it.[106][better source needed] Trainor's fanbase is collectively identified as Megatrons.[107] In March 2015, Trainor partnered with FullBeauty Brands to relaunch their website fullbeauty.com, and to help create clothing for women of different body types.[108][109]

Awards and nominations

During her career, Trainor has won three ASCAP Pop Music Awards,[110] two Billboard Music Awards,[111] a People's Choice Award,[112] and received one Grammy Award.[113] She was named the "Breakthrough Artist of the Year" by the Music Business Association in 2014.[114] Among her achievements, Trainor became the 21st woman to land her debut single at the top of the Billboard Hot 100,[115] and the fifth female artist to follow up her chart-topping debut single with another top 5 release.[42] On the Billboard Year-End charts for 2015, Trainor was listed seventh on Top Artists and second on Top Female Artists.[116]

Discography

Tours

See also

References

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