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    A conquering pop hero, Meghan Trainor brings it all back home

    Meghan Trainor’s new video for her catchy single “Better” contains a serious message.
    Meghan Trainor’s new video for her catchy single “Better” contains a serious message.

    If the only Meghan Trainor you know is the one who’s “All About That Bass,” in a color palette of pastels, she’s out to show you she can be more than Archie-comic cute.

    Her new video for her single “Better” is more like a short film, with Emmy-winner Beau Bridges starring as an alcoholic, pill-popping grandfather who needs his granddaughter, Trainor’s character — a small-town hairdresser with a sullen stare and scissors tattooed on her wrist — to bail him out of jail and break him out of his stupor.

    This is not to say she’s pulled a Bob Dylan-esque mask change — she’s still here to make you dance, smile, and tell you “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top” — but there is here Another Side of Meghan Trainor, one that shows off some acting chops.


    The video is reminiscent of MTV’s ’80s and ’90s music video heyday, where many a song was turned into a short film that might or might not have had much to do with the song itself. While the 22-year-old Trainor was only a tot in the ’90s, it’s those thoughtful music videos — and the catchy tunes behind them — that are her bread and butter. Her videos get clicks. Millions of ’em.

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    As a teenage songwriter, Trainor fared well in local songwriting competitions. With the phenomenon that was 2014’s “All About That Bass” she found she could also carry her own in front of a mike and camera.

    The former Nauset Regional High School jazz band member turned Grammy-winning multiplatinum pop star wraps up her current tour by bringing it all back home this weekend, with two Boston shows Sept. 24 and 25.

    “We always end in Boston because we like to party in Boston,” she said, when we called her up recently to chat.

    Q. What were you like as a kid growing up on Nantucket?


    A. I loved singing in church with my dad, at the Methodist church on Nantucket. . . . I loved Britney, Christina, Beyoncé. I thought if I could write songs, I could be them too. So I started writing at 12 in my bedroom. My dad helped me get equipment to start producing. [Eventually] my parents knew, “OK, she’s not doing this as a little hobby anymore; she has a gift, and the world should hear this.”

    On Nantucket, I didn’t want a regular [summer] job. I worked at Jettie’s Beach [Bar & Restaurant], and I’d sing songs for three hours on my ukulele and guitar. I’d perform all these songs I had written before I was even signed.

    Q. I read Johnny Spampinato of NRBQ taught you to play guitar?

    A. Yeah, Johnny Spampinato gave me my first guitar lessons. His son was in my class, a kid in my grade. My mom would say, “His dad was in NRBQ, the band your great-uncle used to play in!” My mom’s uncle Bob [LaPalm] was in the band. . . . I learn by ear, so I told him, “Teach me new chords.” I was so excited to learn new chords. I’d go home and write songs with the chords I learned.

    Q. How did you come up with “All About That Bass”?


    A. I was just writing and doing sessions in Nashville. That was a random song I wrote with Kevin [Kadish] and that was just another song in my catalog, and when [chairman/CEO of Epic Records] L.A. Reid heard it, he loved it. . . . It’s like this is the greatest movie and I’m just watching it.

    ‘I just want to show the world that I can do anything — I can do a cute pop video or an epic video that can make you feel.’

    Q. Is that what “Me Too” is about? [The song’s refrain is “If I was you, I’d wanna be me, too.”]

    A. Yeah, “Me Too” is about my life, and [the feeling of] “What the hell is going on?” The new single, “Better,” is about all my exes that didn’t work out. Relationships have been hard for me since becoming a celebrity.

    The video is amazing; it was my first opportunity for acting, and working with Beau Bridges. . . . He’s a legend. We freestyled everything; there were no lines. We were told by the director, “OK, You’re mad at him. You fight. Go.”

    We knew we wanted a different concept for this video, not just being cute, but epic. The song is saying “I deserve better,” but the director [Tim Mattia] was so smart and clever, he said the video should be about a grandfather and granddaughter, and he’s got into drugs and alcohol, and that role reversal.

    Q. Were you looking to shed the cute image?

    A. I wasn’t looking to shed anything; I just want to show the world that I can do anything — I can do a cute pop video or an epic video that can make you feel. Like, “Wow, Meghan Trainor can do that?” My grandparents cried.

    Q. You’ve got a reputation for empowerment anthems, songs that make people feel good about themselves and their bodies.

    A. I want to [sing] empowerment anthems. I want people to feel good. . . . On this tour, every night is sold out and they’re singing the songs in the crowd, whether they’re a grandma or a little girl or boy. The album, “Thank You,” is a thank you to my fans: “This album is for you. A big fat thank you for getting me.”


    At the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, 290 Northern Ave., Boston. Sept. 24, 7 p.m. With Common Kings. Sept. 25, 7 p.m. With Hailee Steinfeld, Common Kings. Tickets $25 and up.

    Lauren Daley can be reached at and on Twitter @laurendaley1.