Q

Meghan Trainor on overcoming anxiety and self-doubt to create her new album Treat Myself

The record breaking mega hit All About That Bass transformed Meghan Trainor into a chart-topping pop star before she turned 21 — but with sudden fame also came anxiety and self-doubt. Trainor put in the work to get back in a good place, the results of which can be heard on her new album, Treat Myself.
The record breaking mega hit All About That Bass transformed Meghan Trainor into a chart-topping pop star before she turned 21 — but with sudden fame also came anxiety and self-doubt. Trainor put in the work to get back in a good place, the results of which can be heard on her new album, Treat Myself. (Hanna Hillier)
Listen to the full episode21:48

When Meghan Trainor released her third full length album, Treat Myself, in January, a year and half had already passed since its original release date. 

"I personally think I waited too long," said Trainor in a new interview with q host Tom Power. "But the music wouldn't have been as good as it is, in my opinion." 

She wanted to get her latest album right. In 2014, Trainor's massive breakout song All About That Bass transformed her into a chart-topping pop star before she turned 21. It became one of the longest-running number one hits in history and wracked up more than 2.3 billion views on YouTube. 

"The dream was always to get here, but my path was different in my head," she said. 

At the time when Trainor released All About That Bass, she was in Nashville trying to sell her songs to other artists. She thought working behind the scenes as a songwriter and producer was a more likely path to success for her.

I had to catch up to that song.- Meghan Trainor, on All About That Bass

"It completely went opposite and it was kind of like a movie. It was a song about my insecurities and about my curves and trying to pretend to love them. And then that blew up even without me for a moment. I had to catch up to that song."

Trainor rode the wave but eventually the pressures of fame and the toll of two vocal surgeries caught up with her. She started experiencing anxiety and panic attacks.

"I went to acupuncture, a psychologist. I went everywhere and was like, 'My brain's broken and I need help, please,'" said Trainor. "And it took two months. When I recovered, basically, my therapist was like, 'Well, look at you, look how different you are. You came into my room, day one, shaking, vibrating and on the edge of tears. And now you walk in, all happy.' She's like, 'You should treat yourself.'"

Trainor said she knew she had to turn her therapist's words into a song. "It's so hard not to be cheesy when you're doing those happy anthems about championing yourself. And my older brother was like — we couldn't figure out that first big line — he was like, 'Oh, let me give myself a hand.'"

The sentiment runs throughout the whole album, which is also called Treat Myself. The first single, No Excuses, caught the attention of fans who call it her #MeToo song.

"I work with a lot of men in this business," said Trainor. "They do look at you like, 'Oh, you're young, you're new here. I've been here for 20 years. You have no idea what you're talking about.'"

Nice To Meet Ya, the latest single off of Treat Myself, gave Trainor the opportunity to work with one of her musical heros. 

"My management started managing Nicki Minaj, I was like, this is my in, I got to send it to her," said Trainor. "Months later ... she sent a verse and I cried and was like, this is a true dream." 

Trainor and Minaj didn't actually meet until the video shoot. "I made her giggle," said Trainor. 

"What I really wanted to tell her was, as a songwriter to another songwriter, 'You're a legend and your work is important. And these words you put in my song are brilliant and they really brought the song to a new level.' And she was like, 'Yeah, we songwriters.' And then she high-fived me."

Trainor's latest album, Treat Myself, is out now. She is currently scheduled to go out on the road with Maroon 5 in June. 

Produced by Catherine Stockhausen and Stuart Berman