After spending the past several years focusing on acting in films like “Saved” and “American Dreamz,” Mandy Moore is finishing her first new album since 2003’s “Coverage,” her last for Epic. Now signed to management powerhouse the Firm’s label, Moore just finished recording at Allaire Studios in upstate New York with producer John Alagia.
“I’m so excited to be back and making music. It’s my first love,” Moore tells Billboard.com. “I’ve been really concentrating on movies for the last couple of years and the opportunities keep coming in, but I kind of believe everything happens for a reason. It’s time to do this.”
Within the last year, Moore has been contributed to five films, including the upcoming “Dedication” (with Billy Crudup and Amy Sedaris) and “Because I Said So” (with Diane Keaton). Ready for a break, she began co-writing music with pop singer Rachael Yamagata, as well as Boston duo the Weepies, Lori McKenna and Chantal Kreviazuk. The album will mark the first time that Moore has written or co-written every song. The track list is now being whittled down from 18 completed tracks.
“It means a lot to me to make something that’s mine. It’s a passion project. It won’t matter if it doesn’t sell tons or have this high level of success,” she says of the as-yet-untitled album.
The 22-year-old star struck gold in the studio with Alagia, who has helmed the boards for efforts from John Mayer and Dave Matthews Band. “John is my new favorite person,” she enthuses. “He knew what kind of record I want to make. Nothing is going to be overly-produced. It’s going to be very organic and fresh. Very nice-sounding.”
One of Moore’s goals for the album was to have a product that sounds just as good live as it does on record. She says early in her career, most of her live performances consisted of opening for groups like the Backstreet Boys in venues that lacked intimacy.
“Now, it feels like there’s more at stake for me — a chance to feel vulnerable and make a whole new introduction to people,” she says. “And I’m excited to become a headliner.” She hopes to tour in smaller theaters and “cool clubs,” beginning around the release of the album, and her birthday, in April.