Mandy Moore Always Knew She Was Different From Britney, Christina

Singer/actress calls Amanda Leigh 'the record I've always wanted to make.'

More than 10 years ago, a slew of young stars hit the pop charts. Although the queen bees were [artist id="501686"]Britney Spears[/artist] and [artist id="509026"]Christina Aguilera[/artist], back then, [artist id="509052"]Mandy Moore[/artist] held her own with hits like "Candy" and "I Wanna Be With You."

With Spears and Aguilera continually reinventing themselves but staying true to what Moore considers their "formula," the singer/actress has moved on with a throwback to a " '70s sort of Southern California pop sound" on her new album, Amanda Leigh.

"I kind of always knew we would all differentiate ourselves from one another," she told MTV News. "Musically, they've stuck to a formula that works for them and, obviously, has always proven successful. I don't think I found that same success singing music that really, at the end of the day, I wasn't happy singing."

But Moore said she wasn't trying to prove anything by jumping off that bandwagon. "It wasn't a bold gesture to try and show that I was an adult," she explained. "I sort of have taken my baby steps to get to where I am today. I feel comfortable singing the music that I'm singing, because it's coming from me, finally."

In fact, Moore helped write all the music on Amanda Leigh, making the album in Boston to stay away from the distractions of her life in New York and Los Angeles. "It's the record I've always wanted to make," she said of the LP, which debuted at #25 on the Billboard albums chart this week. "And I'm excited for people to hear it. It's sort of got a tinge of all the artists that I love and listen to on a consistent basis."

The album — which she said was inspired by Brian Wilson, Joni Mitchell and "maybe even a little McCartney" — was recorded on vintage equipment and with Moore's more mature view of life. Partly thanks to her marriage to rocker Ryan Adams, it is a far cry from the music and themes she sang about back in the day.

"I think I have a lot more information now, be it life experience, discovering new music. ... I know what I'm singing about now," she said. "Everything is really personal now, whereas before, I had no connection to it. It's deeper now. It's a bit more organic, because it's what I want to say."