Written By: Jen Laskey | Photography By: Sarah McColgan
The Story Behind Nantucket’s Pop Sensation
What a year it’s been for Meghan Trainor. The Nantucket native has gone from cutting her teeth as a teen at the Chicken Box and the Muse to selling out venues from New York to Tokyo. Her breakout hit, “All About That Bass,” has been certified six times platinum, hitting number one in Canada, the UK, Australia, and Germany. Here in the States, she knocked Taylor Swift out of the top spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and remained there for nine weeks. Her second single, “Lips Are Movin,” which she reportedly penned in just eight minutes with her co-writer, Kevin Kadish, shot up the charts to number four, while her full-length album, Title, sold 238,000 copies in its very first week. By the end of 2014, this young Nantucket talent was nominated for major music awards, most notably two Grammy nominations for Best Song of the Year and Best Album of the Year. Walking the red carpet at the Grammys with her father, Gary, Meghan Trainor had officially arrived. In the course of the year, she’d become a worldwide pop sensation. Indeed, Meghan Trainor has become one of the most famous names on the planet.
“It’s still hard to believe that it’s real,” says Meghan. “Knowing that people are hearing and enjoying my music really is a dream come true.” At just twenty-one years old, she has been catapulted to a level of success that most musicians only dream of. Some of the biggest goals she set for herself have already been met, including writing a number-one hit song and collaborating with another young pop sensation, Harry Styles. (Though she’s still holding out for a songwriting collaboration with Bruno Mars.) “Meeting Beyoncé was a big moment,” she admits. “Watching Miley Cyrus take my pic while I was performing my duet with John Legend [at the 2015 Pre-Grammy Gala] was a great moment — not to mention I was singing my duet with John Legend. That was amazing to begin with!”
It’s been a whirlwind, and what Meghan loves most about it all, she says, are her devoted fans, whom she affectionately refers to as “Megatronz.” The only real downside to stardom, she reports, is the hectic schedule. Her days are filled with sound checks, photo shoots, interviews, meet-and-greets, radio appearances and performances. And then she takes the stage to perform. Whatever free time Meghan can squeeze out of her schedule she devotes to writing new songs. “I also miss home a lot,” she laments, adding that she wishes it were easier to get there so she could visit more.
She did, however, get back home to Nantucket in December. In addition to visiting with family, she hosted a meet-and-greet at the Methodist Church, where she grew up performing with her dad. “It was so great seeing my family and friends and I was blown away by how many people came,” she says. “It was awesome to see people like my teachers from Wee Whalers [preschool] and former babysitters. The kids were all adorable. I really appreciate all of the support and hope to make Nantucket proud.”
To stay grounded, Meghan relies heavily on friends and family. “I have such great friends on my team, like my dancers and my assistant, Ashley Symer, my bestie from Nantucket,” she explains. “They all treat me like just a normal friend.” Her family also tries to go to as many shows and appearances around the country as possible.
Meghan’s mother, Kelli Trainor, tells us that the past year has been a “fast, crazy ride” for the Trainor family and that watching Meghan interact with her idols and “seeing them react to her with pride and admiration has been an amazing experience.” She also says that career-wise Meghan has surpassed anything that she and her husband, Gary, could’ve hoped for. “Now our main hope,” says Kelli, “is that she can maintain it at a level that keeps her happy and healthy so she can enjoy every minute of it.”
Despite her rapid rise to fame, Meghan is still Meghan, Kelli says. She interacts with her family and friends the way she always has. “What has changed is her maturity level,” says Kelli. “She has become very business-savvy.” Despite getting bombarded with autograph requests, Kelli and Gary try to keep their relationship with their famous daughter strictly parent-child. And like many parents, they keep tabs on her online. “When she has a show, I search for #MeghanTrainor and tons of videos and pics pop up almost instantly,” says Kelli. “I get to text her, ‘Great job tonight’ or ‘I loved your outfit,’ from thousands of miles away.”
What’s next for Meghan? She tells us that she can’t wait to get started on her new album. Many of the songs she’s already written are now getting cut by other artists, including three that are being released on Fifth Harmony’s new record. It’s great, she says, but it means she’ll be starting more or less from scratch. Luckily, she’s a fast writer and she’s been able to convert the little TV-sitting room in the back of her tour bus into a songwriting studio.
And for all those aspiring young pop stars singing their lungs out in their bedrooms on Nantucket, Meghan says to keep it up. Study music, learn an instrument, write songs, perform in public, record yourself, and go to songwriting expos and seminars as often as possible. Most importantly, she says: “Never give up. There are so many fun ways to make a living doing music.”