Mandy Moore On Self-Forgiveness And Her Musical Reawakening On ‘Silver Landings’
Mandy Moore grew up in the musical spotlight: her 1999 hit “Candy” was released when she was just 15. But for the last 11 years, Moore hasn’t released any new music; these days she’s more known for playing Rebecca Pearson on the NBC drama This Is Us. Now Mandy Moore the singer is back with a reflective new album called Silver Landings.
Ahead of the release of Silver Landings, NPR’s Ari Shapiro spoke to Mandy Moore about battling self doubt, singing about her own experiences versus acting out someone else’s life and whether she’s playing any of her old music on her upcoming tour. Listen to their conversation in the player above, and read on for highlights of the interview.
On returning to music after primarily working as an actor for a decade
I’m incredibly lucky to be part of a show and experience like this is This Is Us. But there is a vulnerability in being able to express yourself as an artist with your music and your own words; you’re not necessarily hiding behind a character, per se. And that’s what I think that I’ve really longed for and missed from making music for the last decade: There’s a whole huge component to who I am that’s kind of been dormant. And now I feel like this fully realized version of myself, making music again.
On the gap in her musical career and battling self doubt
I think most of all, I’ll take the brunt of responsibility and say that it really did boil down to a lot of self doubt. I think I found myself in an unhealthy personal situation and relationship, and that definitely didn’t help matters. Editor’s note: Mandy Moore has spoken openly about her marriage to the musician Ryan Adams. I think finding myself in a situation personally with someone that I held in such high regard, and working on things musically in a creative fashion and none of that ever coming to fruition also further instills the sense of self doubt and negativity. I was writing songs [that] never got released; a lot of songs were written during what I thought was a very fruitful time.
But I want to take the responsibility in being able to move forward and understand that I’m only in control of my side of the street. So I’m just interested in my role in why it took me so long to find my way back to music, and I’ve really made peace with that. And I’m also a big believer in things happening for a reason, and perhaps I wasn’t ready to make music until now, until I found myself in the right situation and I had the right creative partners. And this just feels like the perfect time in my life to be revisiting this.
On revisiting her earlier period and life as a teenage pop star
I think [in] the process of making this record, something that was important to me was coming to terms with that 15-year old version of Mandy ’cause she still lives in me; I carry her around. She’s kind of the reason I’m here today and still have a semblance of a career. So I’ve made peace with the embarrassment I think I had over the creative choices that I’d made at that point in my life. And I also have an appreciation for the fact that I came out of that — what would have been a pretty tumultuous time as a young person in the pop music scene, thrust in this adult world — I’ve come out the other end kind of a functioning adult. [The line “No regrets, with a few exceptions”] is a bit of cheeky nod, I think, maybe to stuff that is a bit more surface, like some of the fashion choices I made. I’ll still apologize for those; the ’90s were not really kind to me.
Considering the fact that we’re going on the road and I want to honor that part of my life and my career — and perhaps people and their nostalgic connection to that time in music, as well — I’ve been revisiting some of [my old music]. I mean, I know that people are coming on the road and want to hear “Candy,” so that’s a no-brainer to me. But listening back to that era of music, there’s definitely some songs that I’m like “Okay, this wasn’t so bad. I’m excited to figure out a new arrangement of this song.” I feel like some of these songs — maybe not all of them — can lend themselves to an acoustic rendition, and I’m excited to see people’s reactions if they come to see us on the road.
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