Recording artist Meghan Trainor is a judge on the new Fox music competition The Four. The hook is that The Four begins with four winners. Each week, new contestants will compete to take a seat from one of The Four. Trainor judges with Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled and record exec Charlie Walk. Fergie hosts The Four.
Trainor was on a Television Critics Association panel for The Four today. After the panel, Trainor stayed around to speak with reporters further and We Live Entertainment was there to ask her questions about her show and her music. The Four premieres tonight on Fox.
Q: How do you deal with criticism?
Meghan Trainor: My mom helps me a lot. She actually will go on my Twitter and try to delete some comments before I see them, not knowing that I don’t really read a lot of those tough Twitter comments, but she’s as sweetheart.
Q: Is part of the business just putting up a wall against that?
Meghan Trainor: That’s definitely a big part. I went from no one knowing me to all of a sudden everyone knows you. That’s my quote on Instagram to this day, “Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself.” Because I noticed day two of being signed, everyone’s like, “It’s Meghan Trainor!” I was like, “It’s what?” To this day I’m still not used to that.
WLE: You made a dramatic change to your sound for Thank You. Since it was a big hit, does that make it unlikely that you’ll write songs in the style of Title again?
Meghan Trainor: Oh, great question. What was crazy is as a songwriter, I was mostly writing pop music and songs. I was trying to write for Rihanna and I was trying to do every genre. That doo wop section was the smallest section of my life. That was just another world I could do. When I did that, Epic Records was like, “Do an entire album of this because we love that.” I was like, “I could do that but that’s not really all I’m about. I can do a lot more.” They’re like,” Yeah, but we love this.” So I went and did that and that’s why album two I tried to say, “Watch out, world. There’s way more of me than you know of.”
Q: Is reinvention a real part of the music industry?
Meghan Trainor: Yeah, and it’s very difficult. You see it everywhere, people trying really hard and people just wanting to be interesting again and be the future. It’s very tough and it’s very scary and nerve racking. I’m coming out with a third album eventually soon. I just finished it and I am so confident in this one. I know it’s very new and everyone who listens to it says, “Wow, it’s new and you really have reinvented yourself.” But you’re also terrified because you’re like, “Well, that’s what you think, but what about a stranger who lives in Connecticut? What do they think about it?”
Q: What is the sound of the new album?
Meghan Trainor: It’s pumpin’! It just sounds big and loud. I have my family members singing on every single song. I haven’t talked about this yet, it’s so exciting. My entire family is singing on every song because I wanted big vocal songs. So when you hear the song, there’s no such thing as a quiet little love song. They’re all big, in your face, blooming, kind of ‘80s but soulful and I’m very proud of them. My father’s playing on a song. No one knows this stuff, guys. Oh my God.
Q: What is the new album about lyrically?
Meghan Trainor: The boy. I’m engaged. Madly in love, new month one, like I want to be with you forever. I pick you and I feel safe here, this is perfect. It’s one of those magical love stories so I wrote a lot about that and I wrote a lot like my other stuff, love yourself and be happy in life. I went through a little dark tunnel with my second surgery and mentally was really depressed and sad, even though I had him with me. And I was like, “I choose to be happy. I don’t want to do this anymore.” I wrote a lot about that.
WLE: Will there ever be an official release of your three albums before Title?
Meghan Trainor: Oh, those albums. Oh no, no, no, I buried those. I did those in my room. Those are great examples. You can find them, some people have them, where I wrote an album with all different genres. You hear a ukulele song and then you’ll hear a Bruno Mars pop song and then you’ll hear a reggae song because I wanted to make sure whoever was listening, they had their own song they could pick and they loved that. That’s what I want on albums.
Q: What was your Grammy moment like?
Meghan Trainor: That was bucket list top goals in life that I figured I would get in 20 years. I did not see that coming at all and I was so happy that I won that award instead of the song one. That was amazing too, but my father always taught me: no matter what career you pick, just be the best at whatever you pick. So he did three different careers and he was the best. He got named Best Jeweler on Nantucket. So when I got Best New Artist, I was like, “Dad, I did it, I’m the best.” It was a nice father/daughter moment of “I’m really proud of you.”
Q: When was the moment you knew you’d made it?
Meghan Trainor: That was a really big moment for the young Meghan Trainor, my 12-year-old self. Looking back at her, being like, “Be a little more confident. You can do this. Don’t give up on your dreams. Don’t just shut them down because you think you don’t look the part.” Even my dad read something that they were saying you have to have “it” and the the look to be an artist. He looked at me and was like, “I don’t know if you’ve got ‘it’ yet.” I was like, “I know, Dad, but when I’m older, I’ll work out and I’ll get it.” And I had it the whole time. I just wish I knew that when I was younger.
Q: Are these music competition shows a way for new artists to introduce their music to the world?
Meghan Trainor: I was really excited to do this. I was a part of the very first meetings. When I was a part of those meetings, I remember they didn’t have all the rules down yet. I don’t know if I technically created the show but I told them, “You should make this one different. You should give them a real reward, not just a bunch of money and bye, see you, never again.” You should give them a record deal. You should promise they’ll be on the radio and you should give them a songwriter and a producer. I was like, “Even if you don’t pick me, pick Ryan Tedder. Pick a good songwriter out there that will help this artist blow up.” Then they picked me and I was stoked. That’s when I was like, “This is actually different.” My family came to see the first show and it was the longest night of work I’ve ever done. My younger brother usually would go home and leave but he was there. I was like, “What are you doing here? It’s like 3AM.” He said, “I couldn’t stop watching the TV. Even with all the breaks, I was glued to it. This is my favorite thing.” And he doesn’t like anything so this is big.
Q: Would you have entered a competition show?
Meghan Trainor: No, and as a songwriter growing up, my publisher in Nashville was like, “I’m going to sign you up to do The Voice.” I was like, “No, don’t do that. I’m too scared. I’m not ready for that. I can’t go on TV. How do you do TV?” I was terrified. So when a 16-year-old comes on stage and is like, “I’m ready, let’s go,” you’re kind of knocked off your feet, just like whoa. This girl is so ready, and she really wants it. That’s the stuff I’ve been looking for.
Q: What is your process? Do you start with an idea or the music first?
Meghan Trainor: It’s always different. Recently I will start with a concept and go in. Or, if we have nothing that day, I’ll lay down chords and I’ll sing the melodies. Melodies came really quick this time. They’re my best melodies yet and everyone hears that and has said that which is exciting.
Q: What is the recipe for a big star?
Meghan Trainor: Confidence, knowing who they are and just being able to perform anywhere. If you throw them in an arena, or 90,000 seat Wembley in London, I did that. That was terrifying but knowing they can do that and love that and that’s all they want to do, those are the ones I want to sign and work with.
WLE: Who are your favorite songwriters?
Meghan Trainor: Oh my God, there are so many. Carole King, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles…