They told her she needed to lose weight to be beautiful, and she proved them wrong. They said no singer could turn “All About That Bass” in to a hit, and she again proved them wrong. Then they came back and said she had all the makings of a one-hit wonder… and well, you know how the story ends.
“It didn’t get past the A&R’s at the (record) label,” recalled the 21 year-old singer of her publisher’s first attempts at shopping the single to another artist. “I didn’t even try.”
Apparently Trainor thought that if her publisher couldn’t place the single, then she would have even greater obstacles to overcome. So the Nantucket, Mass. native teamed with “Bass” co-writer Kevin Kadish and sang it herself. To paraphrase Bill O’Reilly, she literally wrote it and did it live.
It didn’t suck.
Over 4 million singles sold and nearly a half-billion YouTube views later, Trainor scored far more than the initial record deal that the track helped her land with L.A. Reid’s Epic Records. The songstress and her breakout number one hit became a lightning rod for controversy, some praising her message of self-acceptance and empowerment; others accusing her of body shaming and cultural appropriation.
But you only have to spend a few minutes around Trainor to know that she is coming from a well-intentioned place. Buzzing around her dressing room before our interview, the woman exudes seemingly endless amounts of energy (the nine hours of sleep the night prior probably helped this). She speaks her mind, even when it’s at her own expense, but seems to maintain a sense of levity through her stream of consciousness.
Point-in-case: Trainor admits that the night before our chat, she was up until 3 am listening to the final copy of her new album “Title,” due out the Tuesday after we spoke. While the artist is pleased with the final product, she admitted that when she plays back her work, she tries to imagine how Reid would react or comment.
Later in the interview, she offered a wink at our camera when suggesting that her album should have been released sooner than it was. She quickly added, “Timing is everything.”
In this instance – the “they” in the story may have gotten this one correct. Trainor followed up “Bass” with a second top ten single, “Lips Are Movin.” The timing has allowed her to hit the ground running in 2015 with a new body of work and a single that is up for both Record and Song Of The Year at The GRAMMYs in a few weeks.
“I was sleeping. It was 5 am. Kevin Kadish called me,” Trainor recollected of how she found out the news. “I didn’t think it was real… I started sleep-crying.”
Trainor admits it was an “ugly cry,” but that was irrelevant to her as she was by her lonesome. She was staying at her brother’s place in Los Angeles, and he awoke to congratulate her as well.
This is the same brother who she played football with as a third grader. He was the Quarterback; his sister the Center.
“So my brother’s hands were up my butt!” Trainor exclaimed to me. Even for someone as open as her, this was a little jarring to scream out in a room half-filled with strangers.
“Yup. I said it. And you’re going to edit that. And that’s gonna suck! But that happened.”
And if Trainor has learned anything since then, it’s that sometimes you simply can’t avoid how a story ends.