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Interview: Meghan Trainor talks making music and judging singers on 'The Four: Battle For Stardom'

FOX's new reality competition show "The Four: Battle For Stardom" is the latest show with a panel of superstar panelists hoping to be able to say they discovered the next best thing in music. 

The show premiered last week - hosted by Grammy Award-winning artist Fergie, and starring Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled and singer/songwriter Meghan Trainor as the show's industry experts who, along with the studio audience, will crown the artist winner of "The Four" and iHeart Radio's Artist On the Verge. 

The panel met with members of the press during the FOX portion of the Television Critics (TCA) Press Tour to explain the process of the show. 

Trainor, who will write songs for the winner, hung around and spoke to TVMusic Network and other reporters after the panel to talk about reality competition shows, her Grammy Award for Best New Artist, her engagement to actor Daryl Sabara and writing her upcoming album. 

Check it out below: 

Q: Are music competition shows [like "The Four"] a way for new artists to introduce their music to the world?

Meghan Trainor: I was really excited to do this. I was a part of the very first meetings. When I was a part of those meetings, I remember they didn’t have all the rules down yet. I don’t know if I technically created the show but I told them, “You should make this one different. You should give them a real reward, not just a bunch of money and bye, see you, never again.” You should give them a record deal. You should promise they’ll be on the radio and you should give them a songwriter and a producer. I was like, “Even if you don’t pick me, pick Ryan Tedder. Pick a good songwriter out there that will help this artist blow up.” Then they picked me and I was stoked. That’s when I was like, “This is actually different.” My family came to see the first show and it was the longest night of work I’ve ever done. My younger brother usually would go home and leave but he was there. I was like, “What are you doing here? It’s like 3AM.” He said, “I couldn’t stop watching the TV. Even with all the breaks, I was glued to it. This is my favorite thing.” And he doesn’t like anything so this is big.

Q: Would you have entered a competition show?

Meghan Trainor: No, and as a songwriter growing up, my publisher in Nashville was like, “I’m going to sign you up to do The Voice.” I was like, “No, don’t do that. I’m too scared. I’m not ready for that. I can’t go on TV. How do you do TV?” I was terrified. So when a 16-year-old comes on stage and is like, “I’m ready, let’s go,” you’re kind of knocked off your feet, just like whoa. This girl is so ready, and she really wants it. That’s the stuff I’ve been looking for.
Q: What is the sound of the new album?

Meghan Trainor: It’s pumpin’. It just sounds big and loud. I have my family members singing on every single song. I haven’t talked about this yet, it’s so exciting. My entire family is singing on every song because I wanted big vocal songs. So when you hear the song, there’s no such thing as a quiet little love song. They’re all big, in your face, blooming, kind of ‘80s but soulful and I’m very proud of them. My father’s playing on a song. No one knows this stuff, guys. Oh My God.

Q: What is the new album about lyrically?

Meghan Trainor: The boy. I’m engaged. Madly in love, new month one, like I want to be with you forever. I pick you and I feel safe here, this is perfect. It’s one of those magical love stories so I wrote a lot about that and I wrote a lot like my other stuff, love yourself and be happy in life. I went through a little dark tunnel with my second surgery and mentally was really depressed and sad, even though I had him with me. And I was like, “I choose to be happy. I don’t want to do this anymore.” I wrote a lot about that.

Q: What was your Grammy moment like?

Meghan Trainor: That was bucket list top goals in life that I figured I would get in 20 years. I did not see that coming at all and I was so happy that I won that award instead of the song one. That was amazing too, but my father always taught me: no matter what career you pick, just be the best at whatever you pick. So he did three different careers and he was the best. He got named Best Jeweler on Nantucket. So when I got Best New Artist, I was like, “Dad, I did it, I’m the best.” It was a nice father/daughter moment of “I’m really proud of you.”

TVMusic Network: What is your [songwriting] process? Do you start with an idea or the music first?

Meghan Trainor: It’s always different. Recently I will start with a concept and go in. Or, if we have nothing that day, I’ll lay down chords and I’ll sing the melodies. Melodies came really quick this time. They’re my best melodies yet and everyone hears that and has said that which is exciting.

Catch "The Four: Battle For Stardom" airs Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. on FOX. 

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