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A decade after ‘All About That Bass,’ Meghan Trainor aims to make her feel-good songs ‘Timeless’

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NEW YORK (AP) — Ten years ago, Meghan Trainor was a successful songwriter, soon to become a hit pop performer in her own right. “All About That Bass” established the then 20-year-old as a new force channeling old sounds — a combination of doo-wop with contemporary pop hooks in a time dominated by big synths — and with something to say. Her public persona became intertwined with the song’s lyrics about body acceptance.

“I have my self-love pop bangers that I just do in my sleep,” she told The Associated Press. “That’s my therapy that I need for myself. But it also helps people, so that’s just a win-win as a songwriter.”

On Friday, Trainor will release her sixth studio album, “Timeless.” Empowerment messages are still at the heart of her specific sound but now, she’s matured them to meet where she is in life: as a mother, a sister and a veteran of this business.

The first single, “Been Like This,” featuring her hero T-Pain, even references “All About That Bass.” She sings, “Ooh-wee, she got that booty/That type of boom-boom, that bass that I like.”

Making it the first single? She calls that “destiny,” and is quick to mention that both of her brothers wrote on the song as well. “My mom was sobbing. My dad was crying, like, pretty sure he didn’t know who T-Pain was until I talked about him nonstop,” she says.

Family is at the center of “Timeless” and the music Trainor makes. A mother of two boys, she considers them in everything she does.

“’To The Moon’ is for my kid, because he loves rocket ships and outer space,” she says of 3-year-old Barry Bruce Trainor. “A lot of it is inspired by my boys. I want them to have songs that help teach them how to love themselves as they’re growing up, you know, self-confidence and being kind to themselves.”

And it’s for the listener, too, of course. “I Wanna Thank Me,” samples Niecy Nash-Betts’ acceptance speech at the 2024 Emmy Awards, where she said “And you know who I wanna thank? Me, for believing in me and doing what they said I could not do. I want to say to myself, in front of all you beautiful people — Go girl, with your bad self. You did that.”

“I kept writing self-confident bangers, and this was one of the last songs I wrote for the album,” she says, adding that after a while, she didn’t know what else to write about. Then her manager sent her the Nash speech. It was instant inspiration. The day after they wrote it, Trainor sent it to Nash, who filmed herself listening to it while sobbing.

“I had Niecy and her daughter and her wife come over and sing on the album, sing background on the song,” she adds. “So, when you hear all these big vocals at the end, with a bunch of women singing, it’s us.”

“Rollin,’” with its big strings, brass and bass, has a kind of feminist message as well, what Trainor says was inspired by experiences she’s had in the music industry, like watching her manager get called an assistant because she’s a woman. “Any more females in the industry, everywhere, would be sick,” she says.

To protect her peace in this business, she says simply, “ I’m on antidepressants I went up after baby number two, I was losing sleep,” she says. “So, I went up on my medicine and I see my therapist. I try to see her every Wednesday, and I try to vocalize a lot when I’m feeling overwhelmed.”

That relates back to the album. “Timeless,” the title, stems from Trainor’s “big, big, big, big fear of death,” as she puts it.

“When you have kids, you’re like, ‘Oh this is the meaning of life. I have to be here forever,’” she says. “Instead of living in this fear that I have every morning and day and night, I want to live. Like, ‘Wow. We’re so lucky, we’re here. We have all this time together.’ And so that’s why I’m trying to wrap my head around the word ‘timeless.’”

This fall, Trainor will tour for the first time in seven years — also her first time on the road since becoming a mother. “I am in the gym like an Olympian,” she jokes. “I’m going to get in crazy shape and then start practicing.” Dancing and singing at the same time is no easy feat, and “I want to dance a lot,” she says.

Beyond that, her goals are to put on a great show, and to keep her family involved every step of the way. “I’m going to try to make it fun, where each state we get to do something fun with the kids,” she says. “It’s going to be a blast. I’ve lined it up so we can’t not have fun.”

And potentially make some timeless memories?

By MARIA SHERMAN
AP Music Writer

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