Music stardom. Film stardom. Will Mandy Moore please make up her mind? Does she even have to? With three films, How To Deal, Saved, and Chasing Liberty set for release in 2003/2004, Mandy Moore is also exploring her musical future with heartfelt interpretations of some of the greatest songs of the past with her new album, Coverage. "I feel like I've moved beyond this pristine bubble gum image that most of the world has had of me," she says. "I know people are going to think, 'Who is Mandy Moore and what makes her think she has the right to cover Elton John and Todd Rundgren?' But I am doing it out of love for these brilliant songs and their creative lyrics and melodies."
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Mandy Moore's Coverage includes twelve classic pop/rock anthems and ballads from the 1970s and 80s. Adding a soulfulness to Todd Rundgren's "Can We Still Be Friends," putting a Nashville twang to Carly Simon's "Anticipation," and rocking out on Joan Armatrading's rollicking "Drop The Pilot," Moore reinvents the music and herself.
After giving herself a crash course in singer-songwriter, rock and folk music from that era, Mandy, along with producer John Fields (Andrew WK), also unearthed and updated lesser-known pop gems. XTCs Senses Working Overtime kicks off Coverage with modern DJ scratches. Departing from the current dance/pop sound, Moore's version of Elton John's "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" is bolstered with countrified mandolin and lush string arrangements, while The Waterboys' "Whole of The Moon" achieves a symphonic splendor with a full brass section.
Certain to appeal to fans of the originals, Moore is equally eager to introduce Coverage to people her own age. "I love what they're saying," she says of such artists as Joe Jackson ("Breaking Us In Two") and John Hiatt ("Have A Little Faith In Me") "It's universal, it's timeless, it's done in a way that's not so homogenized. Back then things were a little bit more wholesome; not everything had to be out there in such an abrasive, aggressive way."
Over the past five years, Mandy Moore has pursued her artistic goals, achieving the kind of crossover success most performers and teenagers only dream about. She has released four best-selling albums: her 1999 platinum debut, So Real, which included the smash single, "Candy," and three huge follow-ups; the 2000 Special Edition album, I Wanna Be With You; 2001's Mandy Moore and the soundtrack to her 2002 hit film A Walk To Remember. She has also hosted her own show on MTV, and after receiving the MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance in A Walk To Remember, Mandy is winning critical raves for her refreshing screen presence and impressive dramatic and comedic performances in major Hollywood productions (A Walk To Remember, How To Deal) and independent film (Saved).
She has matured from a young blonde pop singer to a sophisticated brunette with a thirst for knowledge and experience, particularly when it comes to her work. "Acting has brought emotional depth to my singing and my voice has gotten deeper, even from six months ago," she says, and there is evidence of that in her intonations on Blondie's "One Way Or Another."
My tastes are changing," Mandy says. "I've just grown up, and I think that's reflected in every aspect of my life, as an artist and as a person." Discovering the songs for Coverage, Mandy says, "I felt so privy to this knowledge of what the music world was like when singer-songwriters completely dominated the scene. It seemed so much more magical then than it does now. It's cool to break it down and get back to a time when it was about the music, not the videos, publicity shoots, and what tests better at radio."
Though she has begun to write her own songs, "it's a hard job and it's something I completely and utterly respect," Mandy says. "As a result of doing Coverage, I have a much broader appreciation for singer-songwriters then and now and I hope to be a part of the club one day."
Right now, however, Mandy Moore is working overtime. Currently in Europe filming a romantic comedy about the daughter of the U.S. President (Chasing Liberty), Mandy is preparing for a busy summer and fall. This July sees the release of How To Deal, a film in which she plays a high school girl who has gone sour on love and in early fall, there's Coverage and the Michael Stipe (Being John Malkovich, Velvet Goldmine)-produced black comedy Saved, in which Mandy plays "the perfect Christian girl who uses her personal relationship with Jesus to take advantage of everyone."
And after that? "My plan is that I have no plan," Mandy admits. I want to get back on the road, especially with this music. Emphasizing that Coverage an album with real musicians playing real instruments, is very much a progression in her career as a recording artist, Mandy Moore is confident about the next stage of her musical development. I just want to be on stage, connecting with an audience, and continue to test my boundaries, she says with a smile.
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