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Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at edwardjones.com. Hi, I'm Jane Pauley, and this is our Sunday Morning Extra, a podcast featuring a memorable story from our latest show. Mandy Moore is a singer and actress who's riding high these days after a number of years of ups and downs.
She's in conversation with Luperbank. It sounds like you were a pretty precocious kid when it came to like performing and stuff, and you even sort of were talking your parents into driving you places and letting you do all of, you know, sing national anthems and stuff. Like, what were you like as a little kid? I think I was far more precocious as a kid than I am now, for sure.
I mean, it's just sort of the fearlessness that comes along with being a young person, not knowing the stakes out in the world yet. I was really lucky to go to a school that had a music and drama program, and every year the sixth graders put on this big production at like the touring auditorium where all the touring Broadway shows came through. And I remember being six years old and seeing Oklahoma, and I'd never seen a musical before.
I'd never seen a play. And I remember the girl who was playing Laurie singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning, and I was mesmerized. And I remember turning around in my seat and watching the audience, who was equally mesmerized by her, and thinking, I want to do that.
I want to make people feel that way. Like, that's my first time recalling like making that connection between like, oh, being on stage, opening your mouth, singing, like that can have that sort of effect on people. And from then on, I would like run around the house singing The Little Mermaid, singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning, asking my parents if I sounded as good as the girl on stage. And that kind of led me into wanting to do musical theater. And by the time I was about eight or nine, the Orlando Sentinel used to have this audition hotline that every Friday I would call before school, and it would give you like all of the auditions at the local community theaters around town for the coming week.
And I would sort of like write down with my pencil and paper before school like what ones sounded appealing, what ones were looking for children my age. So you were essentially like representing yourself as a like what eight year old kid in Orlando? I was essentially my own agent at age eight. And my parents were kind enough to drive me all across town to various different auditions. And that sort of was a very separate part of my life. Like being a musical theater nerd was not something I brought to school necessarily.
I wanted to and then I sort of transitioned into doing like local commercials and stuff. And all of that, I felt like I was living dual lives in a way because I oddly was always concerned with people thinking that I was conceited. And I didn't and I was a really shy kid. I don't think I stood out like in school with my friends and stuff.
I sort of was just very plain in the middle. And I just didn't want to bring extra attention, I guess to myself. Which is interesting because also you had this desire to be on stage having people pay attention to you.
Yeah, I know. Somebody who was like teaching at some, I don't know, drama or music camp that you went to I think was described, I read an interview where they described you as being like, you know, a talented performer but not somebody who was constantly trying to be the center of attention. I think that's a very apt description and probably is still fitting for today. I love what I do. I feel like I'm sort of electrified coming on stage or being in front of the camera when like, you know, the red light is on. But beyond that, I'm very happy to sort of, I'm quiet and content and happy to not be the center of attention. I think that's called a site-specific extrovert. A site-specific extrovert. I'm gonna describe myself as that from now on. I love that. Yeah, like you turn it on when you turn it on but you don't want that to be like 24 hours a day of your life.
Yeah, that feels too exhausting to me. So how did you become like Orlando's number one national anthem singer? I don't know if I was Orlando's number one national anthem singer.
Might have been like self-described that way. I was a little kid and we were at an Orlando Magic game and I remember seeing a girl my age come out and sing the anthem. And again, it was this epiphany to me. Like I didn't know that was a possibility. I didn't know you could sing the national anthem as a kid.
I'd always seen like adults do it. So I begged my parents to get me a little pitch pipe and they recorded me and then my mom, so the story goes, hand delivered this like you know VHS cassette of me singing the national anthem with fresh baked cookies and I think that's what like solidified everything for me. I got the gig. I got to sing the national anthem at the Orlando Magic game and then oddly every other sports team that played in the arena there, the roller hockey team, the arena football team, the ice hockey team, I ended up singing for all of them.
I just did the national anthem circuit at the Orlando arena. Would you get nervous before these? So nervous. So nervous because that song is an entire octave. It's a challenging song to sing and I was always petrified that I was going to forget the lyrics.
You know, because you've seen those those horror stories of people that that did forget the lyrics. So that was always what I was most concerned with. One thing I also heard you say one time in an interview was that a lot of the stuff that you did when you were younger, even when you ended up you know with a major label and stuff, you were sort of more confident about it than than than you would be now. Like as a kid were you just like a naturally sort of confident kid or you just didn't know what you didn't know?
It's funny to think back to that chapter of my life as a young person. I was totally fearless. I would walk on stage opening up for the Backstreet Boys in front of 20,000 screaming girls with glow sticks and not think anything of it. Be excited. Be sort of supercharged about what I knew I was about to experience but not nervous. Host a show on MTV.
Do TRL live out in Times Square. All of that stuff I remember just the excitement bubbling up but never feeling nerves. The way that I feel nerves now which is pretty much all the time. Not that I'm racked with anxiety but you know I'm the 35 year old woman.
It's like I understand what the stakes are if you mess up. So I think I wish I could like tap back into my youth and steal some of that confidence. Yeah so let's also if you could explain to me how this FedEx employee played a role in in your actually getting like a record deal. Yeah so I was singing the national anthem at an ice hockey game at a roller derby as one does and I was approached as I was walking off the ice to my dad sitting in the penalty box by these two guys who sort of called us over and said hey have you ever had any experience in a recording studio? We're writers and producers and we'd love to record a demo with you which in hindsight is probably the shadiest thing two grown men could say to a 14 year old but we all sort of had this like conference and talked about it and I said yeah I've never been in a studio that's something I dreamt about like sure absolutely. So I ended up going to the recording studio using my own money to like pay for time in the studio and these guys had original songs that I recorded and a guy who was delivering boxes for FedEx heard me sing and he had some friend of a friend of a friend of a friend up the chain who was the head of A&R at Epic Records and like managed to send this unfinished demo off to this guy and he heard something he liked and flew down to Orlando and my favorite thing about that whole experience was I had just started my freshman year of high school and I had this big meeting with this like A&R executive from New York and we had we like they had booked out the studio space for me to meet with him and then I was supposed to sing something live for him which I chose a song called Happily Ever After from a musical called Once Upon a Mattress.
It's not getting less sketchy. It's not getting less sketchy but I sang the song for him and I remember like looking at my watch thinking I have to get out of here in time to make my homecoming football game like that's where my brain was I didn't think anything this meeting was cool but in my brain it was like what is this gonna amount to like it's cool this guy flew down from New York to hear me sing but I just was so much more focused on being a regular 15 year old that wanted to go to the football game. But then he did sign you and then you moved to New York and you or or you stopped going to high school like your life really changed at that point right?
My life changed dramatically. I left during the holiday break that year and started making my record in New York and in Orlando where I lived in January and by June I was out in LA I made the music video for my first single Candy and flew immediately the next day to Virginia Beach, Virginia where I started the NSYNC tour so and that was it that was just sort of like January to June was a very pivotal time in my life because I was making the record but also things would never be the same after that. Do you think you were aware of that at the time like did you understand the gravity of what was actually happening to you? No I had no idea the gravity of the situation I knew that my parents were worried I mean my dad is an airline captain and my mom is a stay-at-home mom and we all sort of like jumped into this experience together but nobody knew what was going on I mean thankfully like they understood like we're not gonna we know nothing about the industry we don't want to manage you or anything we'll just be mom and dad and I had at least one of them always by my side like traveling around at that age but I think I could sense their hesitation and trepidation about the unknown but I was just so excited about like every little thing that happened you know it was like a new song that was presented that I got to record and you know a photo shoot a first like photo shoot like all that I was a 15 year old girl so like every single little thing was just the coolest experience for me. You were obviously really successful with this stuff but you weren't like Britney Spears successful was that kind of lucky? So lucky I think about that often I never achieved the degree of success that some of my contemporaries did and it allowed me so much more freedom to a continue well to find the music that I wanted to do and have a hand in writing and creating and because there wasn't that sort of expectation like you've had hits you have to deliver more hits but also it allowed me to branch off into the you know the acting world into film and television in a way that because I wasn't as famous I didn't have as much notoriety people could sort of let me disappear into a part a bit more than some of my contemporaries which you know is I consider myself really lucky. Was there a point where you started to think oh I'm actually an actor who sings? Sure I think I became aware after a while of that that was probably the perception out in the world of me and still probably to this day which is fine again I have sort of leaned into the idea that it allows me to continue making the kind of music that I want to make because there isn't that same sort of expectation like I made a pop record in the way I wanted to like my definition of pop music and maybe that wouldn't be the case if I had you know a ton of musical success and I was a musician who acted. So at this point because of This Is Us and a lot of the films you've done there is a big part of the population that really knows you from your acting sure but you're saying that internally you identify as a singer who's just doing this acting thing to pay the bills but you're primary kind of self-identifying as a singer? I identify as a singer as a musician first for sure if somebody told me I had to make the choice I love both I feel creatively fulfilled very differently by doing both and I think that's why I've really had this yearning for music for the last decade because it hasn't been a part of my life and there's just been this completely unfulfilled on untapped side of me that now I'm you know celebrating and acknowledging. What are you hoping that your music is doing like what's your goal with it? I hope that my music helps people changes their mood lifts their spirits you know sets them on a better course for the day I don't know I hope they're able to read into it and maybe draw some comparisons to their own life and find some catharsis in that everything that sort of what music serves for me for all of us you know but definitely definitely just finding that connection I hope people listen to the lyrics and feel like ah I've been in that situation before and I think I'm gonna be okay someone else is singing and they've clearly made it out to the other side and I'm gonna be good. Did you actually offer to refund people the purchase price of your first record? I did say that I was very vocal about that earlier in my life. I was listening to that record actually coming down here to do the interview and I think it's a perfectly serviceable pop record from that era. That is a very apt description it is a serviceable pop record from that era. I mean I joke and I joked then although I was probably more serious about it years ago I think you know any reflection back on who you were what you did when you were a teenager as you've gotten some distance from it especially like not too far after that like you know five or six years away I'm like who was that what what were those choices she was making? I think I felt defensive because I didn't have a lot of creative control and was like guys if you think that's me it's not wasn't my choice like I'm really sorry about that if I could I'd give you your money back but again now that I have 20 years distance from it I realize that I'm negating someone's connection with that someone's nostalgia they're able to think back to when they were a teenager and they maybe loved that record and there's nothing wrong with that and who am I to nay say it and I think that it can only come with like the wisdom of and clarity that comes along with getting older and realizing and this has been a big part of this record for me too is that that idea of self-reflection I love that girl not to get emotional but like that girl is she's in me still she's the reason I'm here talking to you like I have so much affection and respect for her at 15 navigating a crazy adult world the way that I was able to like I so I I'm able to look back now with affection for that music and kind of smile and go well it's maybe not for me but I I don't want to to slander it for other people at this point yeah if this were a therapy session we would say you're attending to yourself which is really positive very true yes from what I've read and also heard you talk about a little bit was the marriage that you're in yes to Ryan Adams yeah and and the way that you felt that that really stalled your kind of musical progression and momentum what do you what do you feel happened there like I was at a point in my life where I was the most comfortable making myself this the least priority and I made myself as small as possible in order to make somebody else comfortable and once I sort of removed myself from that situation and realized that that was never going to serve me or be healthy and ultimately give me the life that I knew I deserved I things changed exponentially the world just opened back up again and it took some time it took a lot of time and a lot of work and a lot of healing and a lot of self-reflection and making sense of how I found myself in that situation how to never find myself in that situation again but also there was so much to unpack it really destroyed my relationship to music it destroyed now I'm gonna get emotional it just it destroyed my sense of self it destroyed my belief in who I was as a musician and as a singer so I think once I removed myself from that and gave myself time to heal from it and realize the strength and the power that I bring to any situation I've been doing this now for so long once I dropped those bags I realized the power that I had and I just haven't looked back and to me this record is joyful and it's a celebration and it's about momentum forward I'm so sick of looking in the rearview mirror I did so much of that for too much of my life and I'm just excited now that I feel like this fully realized part of me is when I'm able to show people when it comes to being a musician and it comes to being a singer and I just think it's it's so reflected in what I'm doing now so I was so I was asking you just kind of like about how it feels to be back be back on stage yeah and singing with a live band and just being kind of like in that in that space I mean it definitely being back on stage it definitely feels like I'm working out after I haven't been to the gym in over a decade now this is something I can relate to I've been dreaming about doing this for so long since I met Taylor about being able to go out on the road and play music together so for the dream to be actualized now is kind of blowing my mind when I was a kid I'd go and open up for NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys or I'd do some radio station concert and you're playing what five or six songs like that's not a real set that's not actually touring so I still feel like in many ways I've never I'm doing something I've never really done before and it's not my day job so it's an incredibly vulnerable experience but because of that it's like I'm elated when I get off stage it feels I feel high like the adrenaline rush is unlike anything you could possibly experience would you say that the success of the tv show has really allowed you to kind of restart your music career because the music can be something that I think I assumed you don't have you don't have to pay the bills with the music there's not this pressure on it of like it's this or the quiz nose this is the quiz nose you know which would be you know a great name for an album I'm just saying consider it basically your first video or an early video they tried to have you do some dancing and they realized that was not your forte strong suit was not my strong suit and quickly after that they're like you could just sing that was the word back from the record label like just sing just you can stand there and sing if you want to like move around a little bit that's fine but no choreography what is your vibe on stage these days I mean I move around like I feel the freedom to move around no choreography other than having lots of people come out and have a good time like what are you hoping comes of all of it like what would make this a success in your mind that's a really good question I haven't thought too much about that I think I'm excited to be able to stand on the other side of it and go I did it I've had this dream for the last you know god over a decade of taking my music out with the band and singing music that I'm really proud of and excited to share with people the fact again that I get to do it with like my family and my husband at my side is more than a dream come true so I think just the idea of like I want to stay present I want to appreciate it while it's happening considering everything you went through with your previous marriage and just your music I mean to realize that you came out the other side of it I mean that's going to be intense I guess I think it's going to be intense yeah to just reflect back on I'm 35 and I've been doing this since I was 15 20 years of having a career like all the successes all of the failures everything in between there's a lot to there's a lot to take stock of and uh and it will be emotional I think for some of those like very specific shows being in Chicago being in Nashville the Ryman being here in the hometown show obviously in in LA um just the fact that I'm still able to do it and that there's still an audience out there you asked me earlier if I was aware of like what my life was going to sort of be like as a kid when it kind of shot off like a rocket and I wasn't but I I had big dreams but like my biggest dream was longevity which is a weird thing as a young person to be aware of it's very practical I guess so but it's like I just knew I was like I love this feeling so much I want to be able to do it for as long as possible and I looked at people like Bette Midler it wasn't Madonna for me it was Bette Midler like because I knew she did Broadway she did movies she did tv she was she had a family like she kind of did it all and she was a household name on her own terms hi podcast peeps it's me Drew Barrymore oh my goodness I want to tell you about our new show it's the Drew's News podcast and in each episode me and a weekly guest are going to cover all the quirky fun inspiring and informative stories that exist out in the world because well I need it and maybe you do too from the newest interior design trend Barbie Corps to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits also we're gonna get into things that you just kind of won't believe and we're not able to do in daytime television so watch out listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts it's your good news on the go
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-28 09:31:34 / 2023-01-28 09:40:38 / 9