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Meghan Trainor on Producing Her Christmas Album From Home, Working with Earth, Wind & Fire, & Caroling for a Cause

Meghan Trainor is most definitely in the holiday spirit this season. From a hot new Christmas album topping the holiday music charts,to involving herself in campaigns like #CarolForACause and gift-giving sprees via Instagram, you probably won’t be able to find a more holiday-enthused star. 

On Carol for a Cause 

#CarolForACause is an Instagram Reels campaign launched by Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods, with all proceeds benefiting Feeding America. Every time you submit a video of you and your family or friends, these retailers will donate $10 to Feeding America. And $10 means one hundred meals to families in need. Given the meaningful motive behind such a ~cheery~ initiative, Trainor is enthused to be involved. “I’m just lucky to be a part of something this important. They just wanted to spread holiday cheer and for a good cause. And it’s so simple and fun!” she says. 

Feeding America is an organization that’s been close to Trainor’s heart for a long time, and she stresses how this year, especially, it’s important to give back in any way we can. “This year, so many people lost jobs; families are really struggling. And it’s like, besides everyone losing loved ones and being sick and having to pay for the hospital bills, we also can’t feed our families at the same time,” she says. “So either way, we’ve all been hit by some part of this pandemic.”

Trainor’s #CarolForACause video was made with her dad, brother and husband. They chose “Jingle Bells” for their submission – an adorable classic. But what’s funny about the behind-the-scenes is that Trainor’s husband didn’t know the lyrics. “I had to, like, teach my husband the words to ‘Jingle Bells.’ It’s so funny. I was like, ‘How do you not know that?’” I don’t know about you, but I have that song playing on repeat from memory all-too-often during the holiday season; I’m glad that Trainor’s husband, Spy Kids’ Daryl Sabara can join in on the “Jingle Bells” fun this year. 

Being pregnant during COVID

Plus, there’s a secret caroler also featured in the video, as Trainor and Sabara are expecting parents of a baby boy. Although the pandemic is a scary time to be expecting, it’s also a time in their lives where they don’t have to do too much moving around. “I’m so happy, and we did plan the pregnancy because we were like, ‘Oh, my God, we’re not going to travel for a long time. Like, we’re home now; it’s a sign. We should take it now and do it,’” she says. 

Of course, being pregnant during a pandemic hasn’t been without its challenges. Between nightmares and having to be extra-cautious at doctor’s appointments and COVID-safe gatherings, there’s something seemingly around every corner. “It’s very scary. I had a nightmare last night that I was pregnant in a room full of people with COVID, she says. “And I was like, ‘Oh, God, how do I stay apart from you?’” It’s these fears that expectant mothers all over the world have been sharing since the pandemic broke out last winter. But on the whole, Trainor and her husband see this baby as a blessing. Plus, he’s already a frequent participant in the music world. “He was there for every single recording…. He’s already been in an Earth, Wind & Fire music video. I was five months pregnant when we did that. So he’s already an icon, a little legend.” How many other babies can say that?

If you haven’t heard Trainor’s hot new holiday album A Very Trainor Christmas, yet, please stop reading and go listen – you won’t regret it. Specifically, you must listen to the song “Holidays,” for which a groovy and glam music video was just released. This song was the product of an ear-catching collab between Meghan Trainor and Earth, Wind & Fire. It’s the collab we didn’t know we needed, but cannot live without. 

Collabing with Earth, Wind & Fire

“We had to get extra creative, you know, so it felt cool that we were like, ‘This is Mission Impossible, and we’re gonna make it happen,’” Trainor says on making the song “Holidays.” In order to do so, her producer had to pull out all the stops. “[He] got tested every day and drove to each member [of Earth, Wind & Fire’s] house, which is a lot of driving, and made sure he was parked outside of their house in this RV where they recorded each member’s instruments. It was nuts.” And according to Trainor, the fact that this collab happened at all, let alone the fact that a pandemic was raging outside her window, was nuts. 

“I heard they were willing to do a song with me and I knew, like, ‘Okay, it needs to be an original. I need to write; I need to impress Earth, Wind & Fire’.” Their music practically raised her, and the others involved in writing the song as well. The day after they finished writing “Holidays,” they sent it immediately over to Earth, Wind & Fire for comment, who reacted swimmingly. “They were like, ‘We love it – it’s so hot,’ and we were crying that they even listened to it,” she says.

Making ‘A Very Trainor Christmas’ during COVID

But perhaps the coolest, and most impressive, part of this Christmas album was that it was created completely during the pandemic, from start to finish. That, I can assure you, is no easy feat. Trainor and her brother recorded all the vocals at the recording studio in her home, which is something she’d often done before, but every single other detail of making this album had to be COVID-safe and cautious. The good news is that Trainor’s team learned a ton about their own capabilities. “I’ve always recorded my vocals [at home], since I built my studio… But I didn’t know I could accomplish a whole album,” she says. “So now I know, like, ‘Okay, I’m sufficient. We can get this done. We can do anything.’” 

This ‘anything’ includes staging and directing an entire Christmas shoot at her home. “We did a whole photoshoot at my house for this album. My brother took the pictures, and it’s like, our favorite shoot we’ve ever done.” They learned that they don’t necessarily need to rent the big studio or pay for a professional photographer – they had everything they needed at their disposal, it just took a bit of creativity… and some flexibility, I’m sure. But of course, the many photos featured on Trainor’s Instagram for the album are so well staged, you’d really never know anything was different. It’s this adaptability showcased in the music industry during 2020 that’s been so impressive; the film world has a lot of ground to make up, but the world of music has thrived, with albums coming out left and right. The pandemic has certainly pushed the music industry in a new direction, and Trainor is embracing what this means for her future career.

Touring is something that has been historically challenging for her. “I’ve always had to get vocal surgery or like, I sing too much,” she says. And although she wouldn’t say she’s glad that touring has been pushed back because of the pandemic, she isn’t having trouble seeing the silver lining either. “It’s like, ‘Okay, let’s plan a different way of doing this.’ Because recording and writing songs – that’s my main thing. Performing them and touring the world, that’s hard for me. So I want to find a creative way to give people shows but maybe not go every single place.” And with the baby coming soon, this gives her time to enjoy that part of her life, without the external pressures of constant travel. 

Trainor’s plans for this holiday season 

But with not being able to travel as much comes a pretty different holiday season. Yet it’s all about trying to find ways to make the best of it, while still being able to party. “We are so lucky that we can like FaceTime people… We’re going to use all those tricks and just try to celebrate.” Although, Trainor herself is excited because most of her family lives in the area, and with mandatory testing and distancing, she’ll still be able to host a baby-safe holiday gathering. “[It may be] a little weird, to have my little cousins, like, get poked in the morning and then come on over to Meghan’s,” she says. “But it’s what you got to do… It’s not worth the risk.” 

The key for the Trainor-Sabara household is safety and comfort. “You should just feel comfortable in a house where everyone’s tested, and everyone’s good to go. And then, let loose and party.”

Just a reminder, although you shouldn’t need one, if you do plan to celebrate safely this holiday season, please do it to the boppy beat of Trainor’s “Christmas Party,” you’ll love it – trust me on this.

Elizabeth Sander is a National Writer for Her Campus and a recent graduate from Tufts University, where she earned a BA in English and French. Elizabeth served as a Her Campus Editorial Intern for the Fall of 2020 and loved every minute. When not writing articles about all things culture and style (or the occasional personal essay), Elizabeth spends time creative writing, reading and working on flying crow pose. Next up on Elizabeth's agenda is Columbia J-School! Find her on insta @elizsander or for meals inspo @confinemnt_kitchn
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