The Grammy winner is back and better than ever one year after undergoing her second vocal cord surgery

By Jeff Nelson
March 01, 2018 08:30 AM
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R-E-S-P-E-C-T — find out what it means to Meghan Trainor!

Thursday morning, the Grammy winner released her sassy new single, “No Excuses,” and the sexism-blasting empowerment anthem’s accompanying music video is a candy-colored delight.

“Why you acting like you never met a lady / I don’t disrespect you / Don’t you disrespect me,” she sings over a funky, retro beat. “Your mama raised you better than that.”

Ahead of the track’s release, PEOPLE exclusively caught up with the “All About That Bass” singer, 24, who will release her third studio album later this year.

“It’s everything I hoped for,” Trainor says of the forthcoming LP. “We worked so hard on it, and I’m freaking out; I can’t wait any longer for the world to hear it!”

And the singer, who is recently engaged to Spy Kids star Daryl Sabara, promises her new tunes are worth the wait after undergoing a second surgery for a vocal cord hemorrhage in February 2017.

Below, M-Train dishes on her new music, how the Time’s Up movement inspired “No Excuses” — and why she’s “still living in the ’90s.”

'The Four: Battle for Stardom' TV show premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Feb 2018
Daryl Sabara and Meghan Trainor (February 2018)
| Credit: John Salangsang/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

I’m loving the new single. What inspired it?

This was one of the last songs I wrote for this entire album, and it was just a personal experience I had. It just reminded me we need more respect in the world, and we need more respect for each other at every age. As a 24-year-old woman talking to older people who have been in the business for longer than I have been, I’m just confused: How are you not respectful in this situation right now? I have little cousins in school and I hear their stories, and I’m like, “Oh, you’re supposed to treat others the way you want to be treated.” And I think we’re losing that a little. Especially right now.

The first time I heard it, I saw some parallels between the lyrics and the Me Too and Time’s Up movements.


RELATED VIDEO: Meghan Trainor Is Engaged to Daryl Sabara

What has your experience been with sexism in the entertainment industry?

Well, mansplaining is very real. It’s like, you don’t realize you’ve had those experiences until you look back. Now when I do look back — especially to when I was 18 and 19 in the industry, talking to older adults, mansplaining was very real, and it’s still real — you feel like you’re fighting for your word, fighting to show them you do know what you’re talking about. It’s frustrating sometimes. I finally reached a point where I needed to write a song about it. So I immediately went to the studio and wrote the song in a day — I was just so fired up!

The video is amazing. Lots of late-’90s, early-2000s moments.

I’m still living in the ’90s! Those are my favorite colors of all time. I’m just a big turquoise and coral kind of girl. Everything you see in that music video was from my Pinterest. And we had a short amount of time to get it together because I wrote this song at the last second and they were like, “This should be the first single!” So I had a couple of days to get my life together. My choreographer and creative director were like, “There should be three of me” because we don’t want it to be a big, crazy music video that’s too preachy — we just want to let the song sing for itself and be cute and let them know, with a wink, we have a message here.

Meghan Trainor - No ExcusesPhoto: Brian Bowen Smith
Meghan Trainor
| Credit: Brian Bowen Smith

You’re getting ready to release your third album, after Title (2015) and Thank You (2016). What vibe were you going for?

My favorite songs that I’ve ever written were big anthems that say something but got everyone at my shows dancing. I wanted an entire album of that. So we have an entire album — except one ballad — of big pop anthems with big choirs that are my family; my family’s yelling and singing on the entire album! And when you hear these songs, you’re just like, “Wow, that’s loud and powerful.” Even if it’s just a love song, it’s like, “This is the most passionate love song of all time!” I wanted to bring back some of those powerful ’80s moments and just big anthems; that’s my favorite kind of music. And [“No Excuses”] is one of the only songs [on this album] that is my sassy, “Meghan Trainor” self that I think everyone will recognize on the radio!

You’ve been through a lot since your last album. Vocally, how are you doing today?

I’m good right now. I posted a picture recently of my cords, and a lot of people were confused because they’re not used to those pictures, but they look beautiful! And it’s been a year since I’ve had my surgery, and I feel better than ever. My voice sounds better than ever. And you can hear that on the album; you can even hear it in the first single: It’s just clean and crisp but still sounds like me. It was scary. It’s another time of, like, “I’m going to take away all your hopes and dreams for a second, put it on pause and see if they come back.”