Mandy Moore Grows Up On I Wanna Be With You

Teen singer says album shows she's more confident, mature.

Teen pop singer Mandy Moore says she hurried to put out the recently released I Wanna Be With You to show people how much she's grown since her first album, 1999's So Real.

"So Real was recorded about a year before it came out, and I was 14," Moore, 16, said from North Myrtle Beach, Fla., during a break in touring. "I've been out in the world [since then] and experienced new cultures and met new people, and it's bound to change you. I'm a more confident person, so why not make some new music?"

In addition to the title track, the disc features four more new songs, six tracks from her platinum debut (including remixes of the hits "Candy" and "So Real"), videos and behind-the-scenes footage.

Some of the new songs — including "Everything My Heart Desires," "Want You Back," "The Way to My Heart" and "Your Face" — were recorded earlier this year, said Scott Carter, senior director of product marketing for 550 Music. Then Moore recorded "I Wanna Be With You" for the upcoming film "Center Stage."

"Instead of just releasing it on the soundtrack, we thought we'd like to do something special," Carter said. "We didn't feel like waiting the standard 18 months [to release another album]. With the remixes and the videos, we loaded up to bring more value to it. It happened very quickly."

Moore Wants A Career

Moore said the new material better represents her changing tastes and direction.

"I Wanna Be With You" (RealAudio excerpt) belies its country-tinged pop style with a fairly sizzling lyrical tale of desire. "I wanna be with you if only for the night/ To be the one who's in your arms to hold you tight," Moore breathily sings in the song's chorus.

"I've grown as a person. Obviously, I'm a more confident person and performer, and I don't know if 'Candy' was representing me as well anymore. Maybe at that point it was. I still don't think it was where I wanted to go with my music. I can sing that type of song, but I can also do [material like 'I Wanna Be With You.']

"I want to show people that I'm not just a teen pop phenomenon," Moore said. "I want a career in this business."

Erik Bradley, assistant program director and music director at Chicago's WBBM-FM, likes Moore's chances. "I can't underscore enough that she's legit, and I think that will be evidenced by 'I Wanna Be With You.' It could go down as one of the biggest hits of the year," he said.

On the road promoting the new record at radio station-sponsored concerts across the U.S., Moore also has television appearances working for her, too. She's one of three national spokeswomen for Neutrogena products, and she has her own MTV show in development.

Following In Madonna's Footsteps

As her tastes evolve and her confidence builds, Moore already has a role model for career development in mind. "Think about Madonna," Moore said. "She has always pioneered her own way in fashion and music. And people — love her or hate her — always pick up her records to see what she's up to. She's that interesting. That's along the same lines of what I want to do."

Moore, born Amanda Leigh Moore in Nashua, N.H., was raised in Orlando, Fla., but didn't rush to join the Disney posse like some of her contemporaries. "I had no idea what the 'Mickey Mouse Club' was until I heard about Britney Spears. I did TV commercials and musical theater and wasn't too into [Disney]. But I was known as the 'national anthem girl' because I sang it at a lot of sporting events."

Moore's So Real was released in December and has shipped more than 1 million copies. The disc's top-10 single, "Candy" (RealAudio excerpt), went gold. I Wanna Be With You was released May 9.