Meghan Trainor on Takin' It Back to her doo-wop roots on new album: "I lost my power, I worked hard to get back to loving me"
Take the title of Meghan Trainor's new album literally. Takin' It Back is both a journey to and reclamation of the past.
A highly-touted return to the doo-wop sound that launched Meghan's career in 2014 the UK Number 1 single All About That Bass and subsequent hits like Dear Future Husband and Lips Are Movin'.
The conscious decision to revisit the past in this manner was born, Meghan says, through her 2014 song Title blew up on TikTok (it was so successful that the track's music video, which had been originally shelved, was released) and pay homage to her career roots, while still finding new ground to move forward.
As Meghan says herself, although she's dabbled over the years in more radio-friendly hits (No, Me Too, Nicki Minaj collaboration Nice To Meet Ya), people seem to have All About That Bass still stuck in their heads. So why not give the people what they want?
As Takin' It Back's biggest hit track, Made You Look, currently flies up the UK Official Singles Chart, we hopped on the phone with Meghan to discuss how making this album helped her love herself again, and might have just re-booted her hitmaking career too.
Hi Meghan! You can take the title of your new album in two ways, we think; you are quite literally taking us back to your 2014 sound, but also re-visiting that stage of your life with hindsight and confidence. Right?
You nailed it. Exactly. [I decided to re-visit this old sound because] making a baby and having a C-section and trying to love my body again [was tough]. I felt like taking back my power. I felt like I lost that and who I was. I worked really hard to get back to loving me. And I did it!
What made you want to re-visit doo-wop? Because let's be honest, in 2014, that was your sound!
TikTok! Title [the title track of Meghan's debut album, Title] blew up on TikTok. It was like, "they like that doo-wop stuff? What?!" And then a co-writer came in one day and told me an artist they were working with wanted to do "the Meghan Trainor sound." I was like, oh, that's my sound? Ok!
From there, we wrote Made You Look and Don't I Make It Look Easy, and it was like *lightbulb*. This is it, [the direction of the new album].
It must feel incredibly strange for you to suddenly start being nostalgic about this, because 2014 doesn't seem like nearly 10 years ago
It does feel nostalgic, which is weird. But it was nice writing these songs and playing them for my kid [Meghan gave birth to a son from her husband, Daryl Sabara in February 2021] and watching him dance to them. He got excited! If babies like it, you know it's a hit. His favourite was Takin' It Back, I would jsut hold him and rock him and dance with him.
You've also said that with this album, you got tired of chasing radio
Yeah! Whenever I stop trying to chase radio, that's when I start doing my best, I think.
All About That Bass and No sounded like nothing on the radio at the time! But that's the pop star game, right?
It's hard! It's like...what do I do? Coming from the songwriting world, you try a lot of genres. I thought, well I could pull this one off. Let's give this one a try. I think people have a visual of me as the All About That Bass girl, as the doo-wop girl. When I do something else, it's like they freak out.
Made You Look is shaping up to be a big hit, too - it's your first UK Top 40 single since 2018! It sounds like All About That Bass grown up, don't you think?
I wrote it in the shower, to it was a goofy start. But that's exactly what I was trying to do with it - she's all grown-up!
Speaking of songwriting - you've written some very iconic bops for the pop girls; Sledgehammer by Fifth Harmony and You Gotta Not by Little Mix...
I love you so much! How do you know that?!
We know everything, Meghan! Any plans to write for other people?
Oh, it's my dream. It's my favourite part of the job. I always tell my team I want to be on the charts, with the songs I've written for other people next to me. Like Ed Sheeran. That's the coolest thing to me, that's the biggest super-power. Once I've let this album stew, I'm definitely going back to writing. I've been writing with Jojo Siwa recently and it's fire. You're gonna love it.
Finally, with all the talk of this return to doo-wop, All About That Bass was your debut single as an artist, and it reached Number 1 in the UK. What did that mean to you?
I don't think I really understood what was happening back then. Now I do, it was the coolest thing. Especially for a new artist just out of the gate. My team just kept saying "this never happens!"
And I love the UK. Love the UK! You're so nice to me here. Literally, I feel like all my hardcore fans are from the UK.
Takin' It Back is out now via RCA in the UK.
Article Image: Lauren Dunn