A lot of people got Meghan Trainor all wrong. A 2020 interview with The Independent noted how the bona fide pop phenomenon had become a byword for “a certain kind of pop star, an image of ditsiness”. Yet there’s an assertiveness behind the sincerity; a knowing, ironic wink. That might be key to her endurance.
When she bopped onto the charts in 2015 with “All About That Bass” – a doo-wop-influenced celebration of body confidence – Trainor was dismissed as a one-hit wonder. But since then she’s scooped a Grammy award and released five albums, including this year’s Takin’ It Back and its inescapable single “Made You Look”. If you haven’t seen the official music video, you might have seen actors Penn Badgley and Kevin Bacon attempting its signature dance routine on TikTok. It feels naive now to ever have counted her out.
In person, Trainor is delightfully candid. For this “day in the life” feature, she spoke about her life at home with husband Daryl Sabara (of Spy Kids fame) and baby son Riley, along with her feelings about how the media has changed since she first launched her career.
Every morning, I wake up with my husband. He wakes me up by kissing my face which is so sweet because most nights I have a nightmare. Then we rush to get our clothes on and brush our teeth… so we can go get our boy Riley, who we can hear in the monitor going “dada… mama”. He’s extra adorable in the morning… am I supposed to tell you this? Detail? OK, and then we change his diaper and get him dressed in his outfit for the day. Next, we go downstairs and Daryl makes breakfast for all of us, this healthy oatmeal that we love. He makes the same for me that he does for Riley, and we sit at this little table where I feed Riley while Daryl makes coffee. Then I feed the dogs – I have four dogs. And that’s our mornings!
We live in Los Angeles. We moved to this new house while I was pregnant and it’s been under a lot of construction, which has been crazy. It was a lot of space but it was all old and spooky and had mould in it, so we had to rebuild, which took forever. But when we look at our house now it’s like – wow, we created this! Every morning we get this awesome view and we admire all of the work that we have been doing. Having construction every day for years is hard but it’s worth it – our kids are gonna grow up in this beautiful home. I want four children, so we’re really building it for them. My favourite part of the house is probably that dining area, at my little boy’s table. It’s so cute, because we get to look out at the view, I can see my husband in the kitchen… it’s great.
Heck yeah, the Christmas tree’s up already! It would have been up earlier but I got a seven-footer and it wasn’t big enough, so I got a nine-footer and put the other one in my bedroom. I got married on my birthday (22 December), I love December! You know how you hype up your birthday, and if you have a lame one you cry? So now it can’t be lame, because it’s also my wedding anniversary, and if all else fails at least I’m in love with my husband.
Daryl is good at cooking my special meals and popcorn. There’s a certain way I like it that he’s mastered. I’m not a great chef but I know yummy meals that I like, so I’ll make snacks and stuff. We’re both… not the best at cooking. And in the evenings, we’re on the couch watching TV. I finally got him to watch The Following, and Dateline… true crime is my s***.
We freaked out when Penn Badgley did the dance to “Made You Look”, because we love the show YOU. Also Kevin Bacon and his daughter, Sosie, they did the dance and sent it to a friend of mine, and then they posted it and I was screaming and freaking out. Also Rosie O’Donnell used it for one of her TikToks and I was over the moon, because I love her. The TikTok dance basically became the official dance for the song, and it was because of two girls from the UK – Brookie and Jessie. They are amazing. I was really hoping someone would make a dance and then I saw theirs and thought they looked so cool. I will never look as cool as them, but I tried pretty hard!
Actor Penn Badgley joins in on Made You Look TikTok trend
Riley is perfect. He was a very quiet baby at first, he barely cried or made noise, so we were worried about speech for him. And a lot of doctors said well, he’s a COVID baby, they’re a little behind, and he’s a boy, and he’s the first child… but then all of a sudden out of nowhere, he woke up and now he’s saying like 20 words. He’s finding his voice, it’s great and it’s a nice relief. He knows “mama” now, and it’s the best feeling ever! Now Daryl always wants me to sleep in because I work so late some days, and he’ll go to get Riley, and I’m like ‘no, I want to hear him say “mama”!’
The media’s changing, I think. Back in the day, they would have written articles about me losing my baby weight, but no one’s mentioned anything, positive or negative about it. I’ve only been open about it because after having a baby I felt I could achieve anything, and that was a goal of mine. I wanna live forever to watch my boy grow up, you know? And while I was pregnant, I suffered from gestational diabetes, and that was very difficult. And I want three more babies, so I thought maybe I can help my body by being extra healthy and preparing my body for the next baby.
My own parents never preach to me, but they teach by example. My mother is the most selfless and most lovingwoman ever, and I just want to be her every day. They taught me at a young age to make good choices and be a good person, try to be the bigger person… they’re just good people who I love and I try to make them proud. One of my favourite things that my dad taught me is, if someone’s explaining to you how awesome they are, they’re probably not that awesome.
I think when Daryl and I were expecting it was like, “God, what are we gonna be like as parents?”. Daryl had a tougher upbringing than I did because his father wasn’t in the picture at all, really, so I asked him “are you cool? Are you excited?”, and he was like, “I’m excited!” And he is the best dad ever. Someone told him he’s like the dad he always wanted and needed when he was growing up. He’s super dad to the max. He’s the champion, and if I’m working all day then he’s with Riley all day long.
We met at a house party, years ago when I was a baby songwriter out in LA. I went to this Hollywood songwriters party and him and his friend heard it going on and crashed it. I freaked out, I’d never met a celebrity before. I was tipsy and confident, and I was like, “I’m gonna go say hi to the Spy Kid.” Then I didn’t see him again until a few years later, we were set up on a double date with Chloe Grace Moretz and Brooklyn Beckham, at the time. I looked up his name as I didn’t recognise it and was like, “Oh lord.” I really hoped he didn’t remember me. He claims he did! That whole night at the party I was lit and I was like, “Yo Spy Kid, and he was like, Meghaaaan.” But on the first date he was so cute, and musical! I didn’t know he was musical. He sat down and played my song on the piano and it was like, “helloooo”. And Spy Kids still comes up daily in conversation, yeah. He has memorabilia from the movie – my parents found his costume and framed it with a plaque for Christmas one year. It’s the coolest art in the house.
What do I worry about? Just time. Not having enough of it. Losing my favourite human beings. I’m really lucky, I’ve never really lost anyone close to me, but I’m constantly looking around like, “oh no, what’s going to happen?” I’m worried about my children coming into this world, I want to homeschool them and never let them leave my bubble. I’m an anxious gal! The things that make me happiest are my family, my friends, my people, my baby, my husband. And the way I get Daryl to look… actually when I’m at my grungiest and gnarliest. That’s what the song’s about. I know I’ll look rough and he’ll be like, “You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.” All the time, that guy is looking at me, which is a lovely thing and that’s why I married him immediately.
‘Made You Look’ is out now