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Mandy Moore's Music No Longer "Candy" Coated

Of the Oakland Press

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Mandy Moore isn’t interested in “Candy” anymore. She wants something a bit more nutritious — and rewarding.

And she has a “Wild Hope” that’s going to happen.

The onetime teen singer of “Candy” — a contemporary of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson in 1999 — is now 23. She’s carefully grown herself up with film roles both mainstream (“The Princess Diaries,” “Chasing Liberty”) and edgy (“Saved!,” “Dedication”). The music has followed, starting with 2003’s “Coverage,” which features ambitious covers of songs by XTC, John Hiatt and other respected artists, while the new “Wild Hope” marks the first time Moore co-wrote her material.

“I approached this record like a clean slate,” explains Moore, who collaborated on “Wild Hope” with Chantal Kreviazuk, Rachael Yamagata, the Weepies, Lori McKenna and others. “I haven’t had too much musical success before, really. So it allowed me the creative freedom to do whatever I wanted to do, without people questioning it.

“I was like, ‘I’m not gonna :e compromise. I’m not gonna make the kind of record people expect from me.’ Because, what’s the point? Music means too much to me. I was just excited to know that I’d be able to get out there and make the record I want to make.”

Much of what Moore is singing about on “Wild Hope” is also “really personal stuff,” including her high-profile relationship with tennis star Andy Roddick and actors Billy Crawford and Zach Braff. She’s comfortable dipping into those very personal emotions — “I wouldn’t know what else to write about,” Moore says — but she also doesn’t feel particularly exposed by the album’s 12 tracks.

“I think some people will be picking apart lyrics and trying to discern, like, ‘Who’s this one about?’ “ Moore acknowledges. “But I feel lucky I got to work with and collaborate with other people, so it doesn’t completely feel like it’s all MY experience. I can sort of attribute some of it to their influences, as well.

“At the same time, there’s no hiding from it — this is my life and it’s what happened and this is what I’m choosing to write about.”

Mandy Moore and Rachael Yamagata perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 25) at St. Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Tickets are $23.50. Call (313) 961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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