Interview: Mandy Moore
May 11, 2007 02:58 PM
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Mandy Moore's album "Wild Hope" marks a new point in the 23-year-old's life. The single, New Hampshire-born, Orlando-raised performer has risen from the ashes of the teen-pop genre to create a mature, adult-oriented record--featuring her own original songs, something she was never able to try in the buoyant early years.
"Teen pop was a great platform to start from; I'm not someone who regrets anything," she said. "But, in those days, I was just given songs and told to go into the studio and record them. Yet, I think that as you get older, you change and so do your musical tastes. And not to have those changes reflected in the music I was so involved with was very disheartening for me."
Since 1999, Moore has sold more than 7 million albums, thanks to hits like saccharine sweet "Candy." Among other notable accomplishments: At the age of 16, she became the youngest host on MTV with her own show that ran for two seasons; at 17 she won the MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance for "A Walk to Remember"; and she has several movie roles on her resume.
Moore talked to LiveDaily about the mature "Wild Hope," which hits stores June 19; her well-publicized bout with depression; and her burgeoning film career.
LiveDaily: Why did you decide to name the album "Wild Hope?"
Mandy Moore: Well, we had a dartboard ... no. To be honest, we had a dry erase board with a bunch of different potential album titles. It was the first one on the list. It was a song title on the album. I thought it was quite fitting and I really liked it.
Why do you feel it's fitting?
I think, with the album, there's a bit of sadness, but, overall there's a general idea of hope on it. I think it's quite fitting.
What was it like to work with Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk [the wife of Our Lady Peace's Raine Maida]?
She's fantastic. She's super talented. It was one of the first songwriting experiences I had, so it was really great to work with her.
I read the much-publicized story of your depression. I thought that was very brave of you to come out and talk about it.
Oh, thanks. I've never been officially diagnosed. But I definitely am a fairly happy, glass-half-full kind of person. The last year and a half, right around the time when I was in thick of writing this record, I was having a very, very low period and it as quite confusing for me. I don't know if I could officially call it depression, but I was definitely not myself and very out of sorts. I still have my daily bouts with it and struggle with it, but I think it's important to be honest.
That must have made working on the album tough, if you're really not yourself and you want to make a totally different record.
Yeah, it definitely has to factor in at some point.
"Wild Hope" marks your songwriting debut. Was it challenging or intimidating to write your own material and share your feelings with the world?
Um, no. It was a natural progression to write. It was something I'm very passionate about and I wanted to be a part of the process. It didn't feel like I was pushing myself in the wrong direction or really pushing myself at all. I enjoyed the process--getting to write and work with people that I was such a huge fan of. It was a great learning experience. I never felt intimidated when we got right down to it. It was probably intimidating to meet them at first.
What is the most important thing that you learned?
I learned a lot about myself, actually. More sort of after the fact than necessarily when I was in the thick of writing things. I got some clarity as to why I felt certain ways in certain situations. I think I'm a lot stronger than I give myself credit for.
How did you chose who you wanted to work with?
I think it was just people I was a huge fan of. Really, that's it. I found their music either online or through friends or people I wanted to meet and work with.
They were a bit of unconventional choices too. I wanted to work with people who hadn't necessarily worked with everybody.
Like Rachael Yamagata and Lori McKenna. Those aren't the typical choices.
They're not necessarily mainstream, but they have fantastic music that people should be aware of.
Who are you listening to on your iPod?
Beside the people I worked with, Patti Griffith, Wilco, lots of different singer/songwriter stuff.
What was it like to work with producer John Alagia?
He's crazy but in the best possible sense. I really adore him and I told him I want to do every record with him. He just gets me. It was the most enjoyable recording experience I've had and, really, creatively, the best experience I've had doing anything.
Why was that?
It was my music and I wrote it. And being able to be a part of something like this from start to finish is unbelievably fulfilling.
Tabloids and celebrity magazines have frequently highlighted your personal life. How do you feel about that?
I think, for the most part, people aren't concerned about me. They don't care too too much about my private life. It's pretty easy to skirt that. You take it with a grain of salt.
You've received lots of critical acclaim for your film work. What movies do you have coming up?
On July 4, I have "License to Wed" with Robin Williams and John Krasinski of "The Office." In August, I have a film coming out called "Dedication" with Billy Crudup, Tom Wilkinson and Diane Wiest.
How do you balance your film and music career?
I'm not quite sure. I think it's just about prioritizing. I enjoy having a full plate, so it doesn't feel like to too too much work.
Are you going to tour in support of "Wild Hope?
I hope so. That's the ultimate goal--end of summer, beginning of fall.
So in between the releases of your films?
Right in the middle of the two.