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Mandy Moore: From 90’s Bubblegum Pop to 70’s California Folk

Recently, Mandy Moore released her 7th studio album, her first album in 11 years. Yep, that’s right. It’s been a long while since we got any musical content from her. We can say that we were missing her like Candy. Okay, all puns aside. She did make up for that whenever she sang on her hit show, This is Us though, so that’s something.

How did Mandy get her start in music though? And what made her transform from bubblegum pop to folk music?

Humble Beginnings

Mandy Moore was raised in Orlando, Florida. That was where she got her first taste of singing at a young age. She stated that a then twelve-year-old Mandy watched a girl her own age sing TheNational Anthem at an Orlando Magic basketball game. After watching that performance, she and her mother approached the team with a demo tape and Mandy was hired on the spot.

A FedEx Driver’s Discovery

When Moore was 13, a FedEx delivery man overheard her singing when she was singing in a studio in Orlando. After being blown away by her voice, he sent a copy of her unfinished demo to a friend of his at Epic Records, where they ended up signing her.

Baby, It’s Real. So, So Real

1998 and 1999 was when we saw the breakout of popular teen artists like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera… And, you guessed it, Mandy Moore.

In August 1999, Moore released her debut single, Candy. While reviews of the song from music critics were mixed, the song is what made Moore a household name and popular among the preteen/teenage demographic.

In December 1999, Moore released her debut album, So Real. Like her debut single, the album was mixed. Moore herself was not a fan of her debut album. In fact, she later said that she would gladly give her fans a refund.

“If I had the money, I would give a refund to everyone who bought my first two albums,” says Moore in a 2006 interview.

On The Road With Boybands

After the release of her debut album, Moore received the opportunity of a lifetime when she opened for not one, but TWO of the most popular boybands of the late 90’s/early 2000’s, *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys.

One particular memory during the *NSYNC portion of her boyband opening act days has haunted her since then though and left her feeling humiliated.

“I was freaking out that Justin Timberlake was there, and he was like, ‘You have big feet for a girl,’” said Moore in a 2016 interview. “I’m sure he doesn’t remember this at all. But I was so impressionable and I thought the world of him. He was on a pedestal. I mean, 16 years later, it’s stuck with me.”

Decade Music Break

After leaving a psychologically abusive marriage with then-husband Ryan Adams and a ten-year break from music, with her only singing songs on her hit show, This Is Us and Tangled, Moore released her first song in 2019, her first song in ten years, When I Wasn’t Watching. Rolling Stone called the song “Seventies California pop for the breezy, refreshing new song”.

In the months following the release of When I Wasn’t Watching, she released a few other songs from her record, which was later revealed to be titled Silver Landings. I’d Rather Lose, Save A Little For Yourself, and Fifteen.

Finally, on March 6, 2020, Moore’s much-anticipated album was released. We can say that the album was worth the eleven years wait, as it received positive reviews by critics, with one critic at The A.V. Club saying, “Moore has finally grown into the adult voice that sounded so jarring in her teenaged hits like “Candy,” and her songwriting also reveals a sadder, wiser maturity.”

Collaborating with her husband Dawes frontman, Taylor Goldsmith, Moore made the album possibly her best one yet, and we can’t wait to see what else will come in her new music in the years to come.

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