Listen: Mandy Moore’s first new song in 10 years is a far cry from ‘Candy’

Mandy Moore released her new song and video "When I Wasn't Watching" on Monday.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Ten years after her last studio album and 20 years after her debut single, “Candy,” launched her as a star, Mandy Moore is back on the music scene.

On Monday, the singer-actress released the track and music video for “When I Wasn’t Watching,” a soft, emotional pop tune that‘s a far cry from her bubblegum “Candy” days. In the video, draped in a cherry red dress that floats in the water and billows in the wind, Moore vocalizes about finding herself.

“A little lost, a little rough, I asked myself, ‘Have you had enough?’ ” she sings. “How do I start to retrace the steps I haven’t even taken yet? The fear of what I’m facing in the mirror stops me cold and leaves me here. A little lost, a little rough. The lack of answers all led up.”

The self-reflective lyrics explore Moore’s personal journey back to the music industry. The “This Is Us” star recently opened up about the trials she faced during her earlier days in the business, revealing to the New York Times that her ex-husband, singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, allegedly subjected her to prolonged psychological abuse and stalled her career. Multiple women also accused Adams of manipulation and sexual misconduct.

“Music was a point of control for him,” she told the NYT.

Now, Moore is ready to move on and flex her songwriting skills with “When I Wasn’t Watching” and more tracks to be released on her upcoming album, with the help of her musician husband Taylor Goldsmith and producer Mike Viola.


“I very much feel like I’m at the helm of the ship now, where I’m stepping back into music completely on my own terms,” Moore said in a statement Tuesday. “Everything that’s happened up until this point has gotten me to where I am today, and I’m so excited to just keep moving forward.”

While “When I Wasn’t Watching” marks Moore’s first standalone effort in more than a decade, she previously lent her voice to the hit animated Disney flick “Tangled” in 2010 as the wide-eyed, golden-haired Rapunzel. She also briefly showcased her vocals in NBC’s “This Is Us,” for which she scored a 2019 Emmy nomination for her age-defying turn as family matriarch Rebecca Pearson.

“Everyone’s had the experience of feeling lost and not quite understanding how you’ve found yourself at a certain point in your life,” Moore said in the statement. “And I think the key is not to judge yourself for that.”