By Lilian M. Raji
Meghan Trainor, whose hit single has earned her two Grammy nods, started singing at the age of 7. “(Her brothers) would come home and play Xbox, and she would come home and compose music,” her dad said. (Photo courtesy of Epic Publicity)
Nantucket, Mass.--Before she was “All About that Bass,” Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Meghan Trainor was all about that bling, working behind the counter of her parents’ Nantucket store, Jewel of the Isle.

Jewel of the Isle has been a staple on Nantucket Island for 29 years. Founded by Gary Trainor in 1985, the family-owned and -operated retail store sells only pieces made by the Trainor family, and is known around the island for its nautical-themed charms and jewelry. Gary’s wife, Kelli, designs and makes all of the store’s sterling silver, 14-karat yellow and white gold and platinum jewelry, while Gary focuses on stone setting, diamond work, and jewelry and watch repair.  

The duo work together to create custom, one-of-a-kind jewelry that can’t be found elsewhere, a business model keeps them from having to compete with local retailers.

“We’re a full-service jewelry store; we’re really the only ones in the area that do custom work for people,” Gary Trainor said. “And we do all kinds of repairs--I don’t care if you bring me a lavaliere or a fishing pole.  If it’s something that can be soldered or repaired, I will pretty much go out of my way to service you.

“We have sold the concept of service over our 29 years in business. I think this has made the difference in our longevity.”  

While this plan for securing the future of the store is a solid one, owning a jewelry store, or any type of store really, wasn’t always in the plan for Trainor, who traveled through music and teaching before he came to jewelry.

Gary Trainor came to Nantucket Island in 1967 after spending many years on the road as a musician.

He accepted a position in the Nantucket school system, teaching music to students from fourth through 12th grade and becoming an expert at repairing their broken instruments along the way.  

Seven years later, a near-fatal motorcycle accident abruptly ended Trainor’s teaching career. Although he successfully recovered, permanent damage to his leg made it too painful for him to stand all day in a classroom.

 Using his experience repairing broken instruments as motivation, he entered a vocational school for watch and jewelry repair.

After graduating, Trainor worked in several jewelry stores throughout Nantucket before opening his first store just outside the city. He moved into his current location downtown 10 years later.  

During this time, Kelli and Gary married and had three children, Ryan, Meghan and Justin, all of whom spent their teenage summers working at the store but now are following in their father’s footsteps down a different path: music.

Ryan, the eldest, has an internship with Meghan’s management team, Atom Factory, and lives in Los Angeles. Justin, the youngest, is in the music department of The Los Angeles Film School, learning how to produce music.

Then, of course, there’s Meghan, whose hit single “All About that Bass” earned her two nominations for the upcoming 57th annual Grammy Awards, one for Song of the Year and the other for Record of the Year.

“Meghan would love it if we would just close the store and come with her.  But I explained to her--we have two more just like you,” quipped Trainor.

Meghan was just 7 when she began singing alongside her father at church and at local fundraisers and telethons. At 11, she asked to have her voice recorded, so Trainor bought some simple recording software.

As her talents progressed, he invested in more sophisticated equipment, eventually building a recording studio in their home.  

“The boys would come home and play Xbox, and she would come home and compose music.”

By the time she was 17, Meghan was a professional music writer and signed to Nashville’s Big Yellow Dog Music, where she’s written songs for such artists as the Grammy-winning group Rascal Flatts, Grammy-nominated country artist Hunter Hayes, reggae/rock/R&B group Common Kings and Hot Chelle Rae singer Ryan Follesé.   

She joined Epic Records in 2014 after impressing Chairman and CEO L.A. Reid in an audition where she sang “All About that Bass” with the help of her favorite instrument, the ukulele.  

Meghan’s producer nom de plume is M-Train, so her mom Kelli made a gold “M-Train” pendant for her that now is part of Meghan’s regular wardrobe. “She’s asked us to make M-Train pendants and jewelry as Christmas presents for her management team, best friends and cousins,” Trainor said.

While the M-Train jewelry has caught the attention of Seventeen magazine, who is doing a giveaway of an M-Train bracelet in an upcoming issue and will have it prominently featured on the issue’s cover, Trainor said they have no interest in turning the M-Train jewelry into a commercial affair. “We never set out to market something after Meghan to make money. That was not our intent, and I don’t think we’ll ever do that.”  

He would rather leave it to her management team to discover and build branding ventures that will secure Meghan’s future.

And what a golden future it is.

“All About that Bass” recently was certified five times platinum. She’s been nominated in the New Artist of the Year category for the 2014 American Music Awards and for Best Song with a Social Message for the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards, in addition to her two Grammy nods.

Both of her parents will be in the audience at the Grammys in February to, hopefully, see Meghan win. “We are very proud of her nominations for the Grammy Awards. We think it’s amazing how far she’s come,” Trainor said. 

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