Mandy Moore is hoping her forthcoming sixth studio album, "Amanda Leigh," continues the gradual process of transitioning from teen hitmaker ("Candy") to greater acceptance as a bona fide musical artist.
"I find it silly that there would be any sort of apprehension, as if it's really hard to believe that people grow up and evolve and change," Moore, who married singer-songwriter Ryan Adams in March, tells Billboard.com. "I mean, it was 10 years ago; I don't think anyone wants what they did when they were 14 or 15 to follow them around.
"I was proud of the work I was doing back then, but I was really just a kid. I'm going to continue to grow, and my musical tastes will change and hopefully I'll only get better and better and work harder and harder and study more. I'm not desperately seeking out credibility as an artist. I just love music. This is what I'm most passionate about."
Unlike 2007's "Wild Hope," which Moore calls "a big kind of studio album," "Amanda Leigh" -- which comes out May 26 -- was recorded with producer and co-writer Mike Viola, mostly at engineer Ducky Carlisle's basement studio near Boston. "I enjoyed breaking it down even more from 'Wild Hope,' where we were in a beautiful, huge state-of-the-art studio and you had a bunch of people there for, like six weeks," says Moore, who also co-wrote songs for "Amanda Leigh" with Inara George and Lori McKenna.
"This was the more acoustic form of that, I guess. This was ideal and, like, the ultimate learning experience for me. I felt like I was the kid sister and the assistant in terms of learning about the production and engineering side of things, just being present for absolutely everything. That's a lot different from being 14 and 15 yeas old and just being brought into the studio song by song with a different songwriting team or production team."
Moore has "no solidified plans as of yet" to tour in support of "Amanda Leigh," but she predicts that "we'll be doing our fair share of little things here and there." And while her acting career has taken second-fiddle to music the past couple of years, Moore says that she plans to put some focus on that during the second half of 2009.
"I'm ready. I'm excited," she notes. "I want to be challenged in the way that I've been challenged with music. I felt like for awhile there so much of my energy was put on...the acting and film stuff that the music had to sort of match. Now the film stuff has to make sense, too, and match up to the music."