About 24 hours before Mandy Moore’s family drama “This is Us” aired its series finale on NBC, the actress was a jumble of emotions about how this major end to her life gives way to a brand new beginnings chapter.
For six seasons, Moore garnered critical acclaim playing family matriarch Rebecca Pearson on “This Is Us” at various ages and generations. With the show ending this week, however, she’s set to resume her career as a musician and songwriter, launching her first major tour in over a decade to promote her album, ‘In Real Life’. .
“I’m really grateful to have the tour to process my feelings because I think I might be curled up in a fetal position in my house otherwise,” Moore, 38, told The News & Observer the day after the screening. of the series finale. a VIP audience in Los Angeles.
“It’s very bittersweet, but I feel all those feelings, and I put them on stage every day and I don’t just jump into another job,” she said. “Which I feel like I have a hard time with because I would compare and contrast it with ‘This Is Us’.”
Still, she acknowledges that separating her music from “This Is Us” isn’t so simple. The TV show influenced her desire to return to music, she said, and a lot has happened in her personal life since the show began in 2016 that has informed her songs. She married fellow musician Taylor Goldsmith of the band Dawes in 2018. They had their first son, a boy named Gus in 2021.
“I feel like ‘This Is Us’ has reopened the idea of music in my life,” Moore said. “It put me back in one-on-one with musicians. Literally in the studio, and I just remember coming out of it, I need it, I need to figure out how it’s going to be a bigger part of my life again. It activated something in me.
The studio album, “In Real Life,” which was released in May, is her first LP since she and Goldsmith had their son. It’s a follow-up to his March 2020 album, “Silver Landings,” which was Moore’s first album in more than a decade.
Moore’s In Real Life Tour kicks off June 10 in Atlanta. It’s a far cry from the pop music of her teenage years — the 1999 single, “Candy” — but it will get a nod on the set list, she told The N&O.
We caught up with the Emmy, Grammy and Golden Globe nominated singer-songwriter and actress ahead of her upcoming tour. Here are excerpts.
Q: The series finale of “This Is Us” was screened last night. What do you hope fans will take away from it?
Moore: It is beautiful in its simplicity. It’s sort of a summary of what the show has kind of been about since the beginning. I think it will be a sweet hug for people. It will leave people with a happy smile on their face. It’s kind of everything people have drawn to the show and loved about the show, period. It’s not a heavy final.
Much of this episode feels like an actual flashback, like a time capsule. Because we filmed it four years ago. It’s really cool in that sense, because I didn’t know what it was. I had totally forgotten everything they had done.
Watching it yesterday, I felt like a real spectator. I could really commit to it and not know what was going to happen. And I loved it. I kind of have to ride the roller coaster and say goodbye to this family in this way. I think people will ultimately be very satisfied.
Q: What was the inspiration behind this album?
Moore: Well, it was written at a time at the very beginning of the pandemic, kind of like the answer to trying to process everything. And then shortly after, I found out I was pregnant.
So a lot of emotions were factored in, and again, I really leaned into the music and tried to figure out what this next chapter of my life would be like if things were to change so drastically.
Thinking about my own childhood and my parents and how grateful I was for them and grateful for my husband. I think there were so many things that colored what ended up being written for this record.
Q: Are there any interesting stories about how a particular song on this album was written or performed?
Moore: I will be able to listen to years back and remember what time it was. Starting at the start of the pandemic, where it was just my husband and I writing together in a room, then slowly but surely we branched out to close friends and sitting outside at six feet apart with masks.
The seed of this album really came from one song, the last song on the record. (“Every Light”.)
We had been trying to have a family for a while, and it just wasn’t happening. And so it was like our cathartic attempt to try to make sense of that time. It’s our little tune for our future family member who will hopefully join us at some point, just letting them know, like, “We’re here, we’re waiting for you, we know you’ll find your way to us at some point. indicate.”
And I think that’s kind of what unlocked the whole process.
It was really just Taylor and I, I’ll never forget, one random night when we were all having a glass of wine as soon as it was 5 p.m., and we were sitting on the floor of our living room bedroom and just a little disappointed and thinking, “When is this going to happen for us?” And write this song together and feel the catharsis of like, “Ooh.” It felt good to release it and it opened the door to writing the rest of the record.
Q: You haven’t been on tour for a while. What are you most excited about and most nervous about getting back on the road?
Moore: It’s been 15 years. I’m excited by everything and scared of everything. My life is very different now than it was the last time I was on the road. With my husband and our baby, it will certainly be a little different. The days off will be spent finding ways to keep Gus busy.
It really is a family affair and I know it will never be like this again.
My husband and their band tour all the time. They’re still on the road, and the fact that they had this little break in their schedule where we could share this time together and play this music… We wrote this record and the last one together, but I don’t never in my wildest dreams thought we would ever be able to visit it together.
So that’s what excites me the most, is being able to watch my side every night, and there’s the love of my life.
Q: Will you have old songs on your set list for the fans?
Moore: We’ll be revisiting some songs from the past, but there are a lot of songs that I don’t think are worth revisiting. We’re going to do our renditions of “Candy” and “I Wanna Be with You” and “Only Hope.” It will be fun to have our own new iterations and arrangements with this band.
Q: With two musicians, I guess the music is almost always playing in your house. What artists do you listen to the most, or do you create a lot of music together?
Moore: Absolutely. This happens often. Lots of jazz and really playing the classics for Gus. He’s really into “Wheels on the Bus” right now. We write a lot of songs for him and we also rehearse a lot of our songs. So it’s just mom and dad who sing a lot in harmony.
One day he will be like you guys, shut up.
Q: How did your success on “This Is Us” impact your music career?
Moore: I’m well aware that there are probably a lot of people who had no idea I was making music before the show. I don’t regret it at all. And if they want to come to the show, there will definitely be songs from “This is Us”, and I hope they will like the other music too.
It’s part of my character’s backstory.
I really feel like so much credit goes to the show for just unlocking music and not being afraid of it anymore.
Q: What do you mean by being afraid of music?
Moore: I just had so many emotions and fear and lack of confidence or lack of self-awareness, like so many things related to my relationship to music. I just compartmentalized and put it on the back burner. I was fine, even though it’s something that has served me so well in the past, it’s not part of my life in the future.
I had a lot of baggage around that and it’s really the show that got me going, whatever: Find out how to fit it back into your life, because there’s no reason this not be the case.
Q: As an artist, how does the singing side of your career feed you and what does the acting side bring you?
Moore: From a very superficial point of view, the idea of owning the music and having complete creative control, and all the responsibility that rests on your shoulders, is incredible. And that really fills out a side of me, I guess, the control freak. I like to see a vision from start to finish.
Then there’s the other side that quite frankly I love too, which is being part of a team and a whole machine watching something come together as a collective, and working on it and being proud of the work we all contribute and bring to the table. I constantly thrive on getting a bit of both.
Q: “This Is Us” really introduced you as an actress to a lot of people. Do you see yourself pursuing another TV series or movie at some point in the future?
Moore: I’m excited to understand this and allow myself some distance to understand how this experience has shaped me and what I want to do in the future.
I think a lot of how I want to spend my time has changed to become a parent. I’m so much more careful with my limits and standing up for myself.
This show was such a gift on every level, I know nothing will ever be. So I figured out that I can’t even take that into account when determining what’s next. I’m excited for a challenge of something I haven’t done before.