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Meghan Trainor on new album 'Timeless' and 10 years of 'All About That Bass'

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Meghan Trainor and I had some catching up to do.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL ABOUT THAT BASS")

MEGHAN TRAINOR: (Singing) Because you know I'm all about that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble.

SIMON: You and I just realized it's been 10 years since we interviewed you about your first big hit.

TRAINOR: Yes.

SIMON: How do you feel about the song now?

TRAINOR: She's like my firstborn, and she's very important to me 'cause she just made all of my dreams come true.

SIMON: You speak of that song as a her.

TRAINOR: Yes, sometimes. I look at that song, and I see the younger me that was there, and she was so afraid and thrown into everything, not knowing what was going on.

SIMON: I mean, do you feel like a different person now?

TRAINOR: Oh, yeah. My dad told me that you - it takes five years to practice and learn your craft. And after five years, I was like, Dad, I don't think I got this yet. Like, I don't feel like I've learned it yet. And now I'm 10 years in, and I feel way more confident. I know what to expect. It's definitely, like, I got a handle on this now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIMELESS")

TRAINOR: (Singing) Nothing's forever.

SIMON: Finding self-confidence is a big theme of Meghan Trainor's new album, "Timeless." And the title track is contemplative, bluesy, departure from her signature upbeat pop.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIMELESS")

TRAINOR: (Singing) 'Cause we don't know how long we got here on this rock, but, you and me, we'll never stop. You and I, baby, we're timeless, here tonight and after my final breath, 'cause there's just too many memories made.

SIMON: It's a beautiful song.

TRAINOR: Thank you. Yeah, that one's a very important song to me because I was trying to talk about my fear of losing someone or time. But I also wanted it to be a beautiful love song at the same time. Like, you could play it at a wedding, or you could use it to cry while, like, missing someone.

SIMON: Anyone in particular you held in your mind as you were putting that song together?

TRAINOR: My kids. I think it's from being a mom, a new mom of two young babies. I'm like - I finally realized, like, oh, the meaning of life, you know, and (laughter) it's them, and I just love them so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIMELESS")

TRAINOR: (Singing) So I'm going to hold you for the rest of my life.

But also, I watched my friend lose her dad in a short year to an aggressive cancer, and it just didn't make sense to me, and that's what I talk about in this song, of, like, there's too many memories and there's too much love - poof, it's all done one day? Like, that doesn't sit well with me, so I tried to put it in a song.

SIMON: Let me ask you about, I guess, Riley, who must be about 3 years old, and Barry, born in 2023. What do you think of when you look at them?

TRAINOR: Just the disbelief that they're here, and I'm just like, how? How are you here? Where have you been? I've missed you. I always tell them that - or even if they nap, I tell them I missed them after.

SIMON: (Laughter).

TRAINOR: You know when you meet a celebrity that you love, and they're your hero, and then they turn out to be really awesome? When Riley or Barry, like, look at me and smile, I'm like, oh, my God - my favorite superstar knows I exist. I'm a fan.

SIMON: Let me ask you about your songs "I Wanna Thank Me" and "Bestie." You call them self-love pop bangers.

TRAINOR: Yeah, self-love anthems. Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BESTIE")

TRAINOR: (Singing) Late night when I'm in bed, got voices in my head. They've never been my friends. I keep on losing sleep, being my enemy. Don't know how long it's been since I look at myself like...

SIMON: You're hearing voices in your head or just voices screaming on social media platforms.

TRAINOR: No, it's me and them, but self-doubt or, like, when you start to spiral - I tried to capture that in this verse, of when I'm up at night and I can't fall asleep and I can't shut my brain off. That's what I tell my husband, and that's when I turn on the true crime, the "Dateline." I have to listen to something else and escape my reality, or I will just, like, start to worry about, like, what's ahead and go in circles. And I'm really working, like, with my therapist.

SIMON: That must be very difficult to live with. That being said, do those voices somehow also motivate you to do new things and try things?

TRAINOR: Oh, yeah. Like, I've noticed I'm going into my 30s trying to say yes to everything that scares me or things I think I won't be able to do. I try to say yes to those opportunities. I didn't ever dream of being this far in my career, so I'm not going to stop now, and I'm going to just try to keep going and keep dreaming, you know?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BESTIE")

TRAINOR: (Singing) Look at myself like, "ooh, she cute," love on myself like Lucy do. About to get high off an ego boost, all the way to the moon, 'cause I am the only one...

SIMON: Things like climbing Mount Everest, or...

TRAINOR: (Laughter) That's, like, not on my bucket list, but, like, touring again - you know, I'm going on tour in September, and I haven't done that in seven years 'cause it scares me, and I'm touring arenas, and that's, like, been on my bucket list, like, a big dream come true for me. I just - every time I toured in the past, I would need vocal surgery, so that's another thing I'm afraid of, but I'm more excited than afraid for this tour.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BESTIE")

TRAINOR: (Singing) Be my bestie.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I WANNA THANK ME")

NIECY NASH: And you know who I want to thank? I want to thank me, for believing in me and doing what they said I could not do.

TRAINOR: (Singing) I make me feel some type of way.

SIMON: What would you like your music to put into the lives of people?

TRAINOR: Oh, happiness, a little smile when the world can be so scary. I hope - if they're feeling down about themselves, I hope that my song can try to change their energy and their inner thoughts, hopefully, to make them feel a little better. I think that would be cool, so I hope I'm making people dance and making people happy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I WANNA THANK ME")

TRAINOR: (Singing) I want to thank me for looking like this, for working my ass off. Can't do it like me - y'all wish. I want to thank me, kiss myself. I want to thank me right now and nobody else. I said I'm talking 'bout....

SIMON: I have a totally personal question to ask you. May I?

TRAINOR: Yeah.

SIMON: Our producer for this interview, Andrew Craig, says that your song "Blink" is a go-to in his workout mix.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLINK")

TRAINOR: (Singing) You better not blink. You better not blink. You better not blink 'cause you don't want to miss this. You better not blink.

SIMON: He wants to thank you personally, and is there a song off this album you would add to his workout mix?

TRAINOR: Oh, my gosh. First of all, I love you so much. "Blink" is my husband's favorite song, so thank you so much for saying that. Off this album, I think "Hate It Here" - like, when I'm on a treadmill, that one really gets me going 'cause I hate it, but I can also dance.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HATE IT HERE")

TRAINOR: (Singing) Yes, I hate it here. I've been tryin to go...

SIMON: Well, all right. We have it from the absolute source, Meghan Trainor, "Timeless." Thanks so much for being with us.

TRAINOR: Oh, thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HATE IT HERE")

TRAINOR: (Singing) Get me out this dress. Want you to take me home. Yes, I hate it here. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.