Meghan Trainor feels a special kinship with her pop-star peers.
The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter released her fourth studio album, Takin’ It Back on Oct. 21 — which happened to be the same day Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen released their new LPs (Midnights and The Loneliest Time, respectively).
“It was a big day — and just a good day for pop and successful women,” Trainor, 28, tells PEOPLE.
All three albums debuted in the Top 20 of the Billboard 200 albums chart, and Trainor says she felt nothing but positivity from listeners.
“It’s a lot of support and love out there, which is beautiful because they’re not pinning us against each other or trying to make it a competing thing,” Trainor says of fans’ reactions. “But I listened to all the albums, all three of them, and they were spectacular. And I was like, ‘Wow, what a day to be a part of this musical history.’ It feels amazing. I picked up their albums at Target, and my team picked up Carly’s vinyl for me. It’s all really good music, and it’s so cool to be up on the charts next to them, too.”
Takin’ It Back marks a return to Trainor’s doo-wop roots, which sprouted on her 2014 breakout hit “All About That Bass.” After another older song, “Title,” blew up on TikTok during the pandemic, Trainor decided to revisit the throwback sound.
“I was like, ‘OK, I’m listening, universe!'” says Trainor, who co-wrote every track on the album, in addition to handling all her own vocal production.
Trainor also felt a certain freedom when she began making the record.
“This time I put less pressure on myself of ‘What will radio play?’ and ‘What do the kids want?’ and blah, blah, blah,” she says.
Becoming a mom to her son Riley, 20 months, with actor husband Daryl Sabara, also informed her songwriting process.
“I got a new therapist at the same time I started this album, and a lot of our sessions made it to the album. She taught me so much, and I put that in my music,” Trainor says of songs like “Superwoman,” in which she dives into topics like balancing work and raising Riley. “I’ve crashed and burned before a bunch of times, resulting in panic disorder and vocal surgeries. Now with a kid, I’m more aware of it. I’ve got to take care of me, so I can take care of my son. But I also want to work my booty off so I can provide him with all his dreams.”
Adds Trainor: “The album is a therapy session for all. I’m writing the ups and downs that we all secretly experience. That’s what my friends tell me: I sing about stuff that they all secretly feel but are too shy to talk about out loud or too scared to ask for help.”
Since dropping the LP, Trainor — who recently recorded an episode of Apple Fitness+’s “Time to Walk” series — has received an outpouring of love from fans, particularly on social media.
“The response has been better than ever. It’s kind of reminding me of the [debut album] Title days — just so much love, especially from a whole platform like TikTok,” Trainor says. “It’s hard to sell a whole body of work. I haven’t had this much love in a long time.”
Trainor has been celebrating the success and reception of the album with Sabara and their son, who recently reached an exciting milestone of his own.
“The night before the album came out is when he started to say ‘Mama,'” the Spy Kids actor says.
Adds Trainor: “He’s been always saying ‘Dada,’ and now he finally says ‘Mama,” and it’s the best thing ever.”
As for the future, Trainor hopes to expand her family — as soon as possible, despite her busy schedule promoting Takin’ It Back and judging Australian Idol.
“I’m trying to get pregnant. We’ve got to make Riley a buddy,” she says. “I hope I get a two-for-one deal with twins!”