Meghan Trainor laughs at the idea of trying to make sense of the past six months.
"In one week, I went from going to sessions where no one wanted to write with me to having the biggest stars in the world wanting to write with me, and everyone's calling," says Trainor, phoning from a tour stop in Pittsburgh. "I guess that's what happens after a hit song."
Of course, Trainor doesn't just have a hit song. The 20-year-old has the hit song of 2014, "All About That Bass." The cheeky self-esteem anthem isn't just extraordinarily catchy with its mix of '60s girl-group pop, island rhythms and contemporary hip-hop swagger, it's also a rallying cry for those "who ain't no size 2" and who value real beauty rather than the Photoshopped kind.
"Bass" has been viewed on YouTube more than 200 million times and is in its eighth week at No. 1, the longest run at the top for any song this year except Pharrell's "Happy" and for any song ever released by Epic Records. Yes, Meghan Trainor has been No. 1 longer than Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."
"That's not even real," she says, laughing at the news. "Everything is like a 'pinch-me' moment."
Everything, Trainor says, has been unplanned.
She wasn't even supposed to sing "All About That Bass." Her co-writer, Kevin Kadish, came up with the idea of "All bass, no treble" in a writing session they did in Nashville, and within an hour they finished the song, offering it to several labels to pass on to their artists. When no one wanted it, Trainor tried singing it herself. When Epic Records Chairman and CEO L.A. Reid heard her sing it, he signed her that day.
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"I never thought that this would be the song," Trainor says. "I didn't think it was a smash until a couple of weeks ago, when I heard it on Instagram and said, 'This is a jam!'"
Trainor says the retro style of "Bass" came from her love of harmonies, not necessarily girl groups. "I didn't really listen to girl groups," she says. "I came to the Spice Girls a little too late."
The Nantucket, Massachusetts, native says it was the harmonies that drove the '50s style of "Dear Future Husband," which owes a little to Gary U.S. Bonds' "Quarter to Three," and she plans to explore more of that, along with her love of Caribbean music, on her upcoming debut album "Title," set to be released Jan. 13.
Written mostly with Kadish, the album will reflect the changes in her life and in her artistic process. "I would go to songwriting camps and say, 'Listen to this chord change or that key change,'" she says. "And they would say, 'Your lyrics don't make sense yet.' Now, I just write what I would say in real life."
Trainor is quick to point out that she isn't looking to deliver a doctoral thesis on gender studies with her music and that the way some are trying to pick apart "Bass" for perceived philosophical inconsistencies seems a little strange.
"All I did was write a three-minute song," she says. "I'm not preaching or anything. There's a lot of other things in the world to be talking about."
She says questions about whether she's a feminist are equally strange. "I am so young," she says. "I didn't really know the full definition, and I didn't want to be 25 and be like, 'Why did I say I was that?' But I am for a woman's power and women's equality.
"Just tell people I'm 20 and I write music," she adds with a laugh. "I don't know about big words."
The other struggle in Trainor's year was a bit more serious. She had to cancel a previously scheduled appearance at The Paramount last month because she was sick and losing her voice.
"No one wanted to cancel that show," says Trainor, who will play the Huntington venue on Thursday. "But the doctor was like, 'If you sing tonight, you could end up missing the next three weeks of shows.'"
Trainor says The Paramount crowd will get a sneak preview of her upcoming headlining tour, which will start in February and return to the area at Irving Plaza in March. "We'll just be doing the four EP songs and the new single 'Lips Are Movin,'" she says. "When we come back, it will be the whole album, with dancers and a bigass band."
She says that will be a much easier gig than earlier this year, when she was trying to make a living as a Nashville songwriter. "It was way harder trying to guess what Rihanna wanted to sing about or what Maroon 5 liked," she says. "Now, I get to be myself and eat pizza. I don't have to worry whether I'll like a song or not because I wrote it! It's just me being me."
WHO Meghan Trainor
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Thursday, The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington
INFO $20-$40; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com
Bass-heavy anthems gain traction
Meghan Trainor isn't the only one who's all about that bass right now. The pop charts are full of appreciative anthems for a certain body part -- all in the name of embracing the idea that "every inch of you is perfect, from the bottom to the top." Yes, in 2014, self-esteem sells. Here's a look:
NICKI MINAJ "Anaconda"
TELLING LYRIC "He keep telling me it's real, that he love my sex appeal/ Because he don't like 'em bony, he want something he can grab"
BACK STORY "I don't know what there is to really talk about," she tells GQ. "I'm being serious. I just see the video as being a normal video."
CHART PEAK No. 2
JENNIFER LOPEZ feat. IGGY AZALEA "Booty"
TELLING LYRIC "Throw up your hands if you love a big booty"
BACK STORY "When I came out to L.A. from the Bronx and started pursuing my career . . . I realized that I was different," Lopez told E! News. "I was Latina first of all . . . and then my body wasn't traditional. I was bottom-heavy, small on the top, you know I had thick thighs and people criticized me. . . . Now booty is in fashion, finally, but before it was just, 'You're heavy!'"
CHART PEAK No. 18
TELLING LYRIC "I woke up like this"
BACK STORY "Anyone who says that is disrespectful, just imagine the person that hates you, imagine the person that doesn't believe in you and look in the mirror and say 'bow down,'" she told iTunes Radio. "I guarantee you feel gangsta!"
CHART PEAK No. 76