Mandy Moore Reflects on Her Early Days in Pop Music Alongside Britney Spears

This Is Us star opened up about her song "Candy" and the "leader" of the pack

By Jess Cohen Jul 25, 2018 7:32 PMTags

Even though Mandy Moore and Britney Spears got their start in the music industry around the same time, the two have never actually met.

The This Is Us star revealed that tidbit, as well as more details about her early days in pop music in the late '90s and early 2000s, while on Jennifer Zaborowski's We Need to Talk About Britney podcast this week. During Mandy and Jennifer's hour-long chat, they talked about everything from Mandy's song "Candy," to the "leader" of the pop pack, Britney.

"We've never met each other. I've never met her," Mandy shared. "I think she's like the leader of the pack, she started it all. She was at the forefront of crushing the pop music scene, opening the door for everyone, men and women alike."

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"She just sort of came out and started getting traction as I was making music," she continued. "She was out in the world so I guess absolutely her influence would be felt I think on anybody that was making music because she was so popular. It was instant. It felt like she came out like a bullet, right to the top."

Mandy was just 15 when she got her start in the music industry alongside Britney, Jessica Simpson and Christina Aguilera. So did she feel pressure to compete with the other girls?

"I knew once I had been signed and once I was aware of Britney and then Christina came out shortly thereafter, I knew I was my record label's answer to that," she explained. "So I was aware that that's what my record label was doing but I also knew that I couldn't compete in that sense. I'm not Britney, I'm not a great dancer. I don't have that same showmanship quality. That was never gonna be me."

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"I've met Jessica Simpson and I think I've met Christina in passing but it would have been a long time ago," Mandy continued. "You have to understand though, somebody like Britney was so insulated from the outside world. Especially at the height of her mega-stardom. I feel like anywhere our paths would have crossed…she would have been kept in her own quarters in a way."

Though she's never officially met Britney, Mandy feels for her and the level of attention and scrutiny she's received over the years.

"I can't imagine having the level and the degree of fame and adulation that she's had in her life feels so foreign to me, I can't begin to know what that's like," Mandy said. "For someone as talented and magnanimous as Britney to have gone through those trials and tribulations so publicly, you would not have a heart if you didn't feel for her."

"I've definitely had my share of turmoil in my personal life and I've just been lucky that it happened in a way that just skated under the radar or I've been able to sort of keep it behind closed doors. Sometimes you don't have that option," she continued. "It's so tough and I feel like it's tougher nowadays with just the onslaught of content that's created and generated through the course of a day. I can't imagine being a young person nowadays and going through what everyone legitimately has to go through in life. Like her breaking up with Justin [Timberlake]. Remember what gigantic news that was? Can you imagine if they were both on Instagram or in each other's stories? And then they weren't and that becomes part of the news article...It's just a weird world that we live in and I'm glad I was a teenager when I was."

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Mandy's first major single "Candy" debuted in 1999, introducing her to the world of pop music. But did she know it would become a big hit? Not so much. Mandy shared that while the producers knew, she didn't love the song at first.

"I didn't like it. Breaking news. I didn't. I just...I didn't know pop music and I just...I was like, this is it?" Mandy said. "When you hear a song like 'I Want It That Way' or 'Baby One More Time' or something where there's such a sense of immediacy in terms of like, 'Oh, that's a hit song.' I feel like my taste in music has changed now but I can still recognize, I think as most people can, a first listen if you're tuned into the melodic structure of a song and blah, blah, can feel like, 'Oh this is a big huge hit.' But I didn't feel that way about 'Candy' and I don't think that I connected to it lyrically either. I was like, 'What the f--k does that mean, I'm missing you like candy?' Even as a 15-year-old, I was like, 'This is nonsensical.'"