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Mandy Moore reclaims her past, looks toward the future with ‘In Real Life’

Singer-actress Mandy Moore will perform at Royale on June 19.Jenna Jones

Mandy Moore last planned to go on tour in 2020 with her then-new album, “Silver Landings,” just weeks before the pandemic put live music on pause. Now, the singer-actress is back on the road to promote her seventh studio LP, “In Real Life” which came out in May.

The introspective Cali-pop album arrived just as Moore (and viewers) said goodbye to her character, Rebecca Pearson, and her family on the series finale of NBC’s award-winning drama “This Is Us.” But long before she played a singer on television, she was one. Moore’s musical catalog traces back to her 1999 platinum-certified debut, “So Real” (which includes her breakout single, “Candy”). “In Real Life” was written during the early days of the pandemic by Moore and her husband, Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith, collaborating again with producer Mike Viola, a Boston native.


On Sunday, Moore, 38, plays Royale in Boston. She chatted with the Globe from D.C. about the “This Is Us” finale, reclaiming her back catalog, and her first tour in over a decade.

Q. Your character on “This Is Us” was also a singer, how do you feel that live music performance is different for you than performing music on set?

A. It just feels entirely different because I’m performing my own music, having creative control, and it’s my life. It feels more vulnerable than playing a character and singing a song on set. I’ve only really toured once in my life, and that was 15 years ago. But I loved it and I love performing live any chance that I get. There’s that rush of adrenaline that can’t really be duplicated any other way.

Q. What was your inspiration for the new album, and what was the process of writing it like?

A. This was a direct response to make sense of what was happening in the world [during the pandemic] and share something with Taylor, my husband. We both were sort of like, well this is as good a time as any to hunker down and just write what we’re feeling with no expectation of whether it was going to be a record. And it just so happened that we lifted our heads up and thought, oh, wow, there are 11-12 songs. Maybe this is the next collection of music.


Q. Is there a particular song you’re excited to perform live?

A. No, there’s not one song in particular because I’ve been wanting to [tour] for so many years. It’s the collective experience.

It’s also taking ownership of some of the songs from the past and going, “Oh, these are things that, just a few years ago, I would have been embarrassed by or never even considered.” There’s a lot of shame I felt about some of the choices that I made as a teenager — which weren’t even really choices. It’s what I did. Someone was telling me, “Here’s the song you’re going to record tomorrow.” And you just go into the studio, and you’re grateful for the opportunity.

Having the experience to reimagine some of the songs that I would have dismissed before, with this group of musicians, has helped me come to terms with my past in a way I only could have reckoned with on stage.

Even after three shows [on this tour], to see how much that music means to other people, it’s a connection for them to a time in their life that makes them feel good and it’s nostalgic. Who am I to deny someone that? It’s helped me come to terms with who I was and what I was doing and come away feeling proud instead of dismissive.


Q. I’m a fan of the show, so I have to ask about “This Is Us.” Now that you’ve had a little more time to think and process after the finale, how are you looking back on that experience?

A. It’s gonna take a while to really hit me because we’re normally done during the summer anyway. I don’t think it feels quite real yet. But it’s beautiful. I’m so grateful. I will be for the rest of my life, and it’s hard to think about what comes next because nothing will ever be that experience.

Like in totality: the material, the cast, the fact that we shoot in our backyard in Los Angeles. It was the dream in every sense. I’m just trying to sit in the gratitude right now, and then think about the future in a couple months.

Q. What would you say to fans of “This Is Us” who are being introduced to you for the first time as a musician?

A. I’m aware that there are definitely going to be people at the shows that don’t know my music in any other context, and that’s totally fine. I hope that they enjoy it. It’s quite different from the show, but also it’s still me, and I think a big part is just being honest and vulnerable, talking about my life and where the songs came from. It’s a killer band. Even taking me out of the equation, you’re just watching some of the best musicians on stage, I think that in and of itself is worth the price of admission. As long as people are willing to go on this journey and just sit back and enjoy, we’ll take good care of them.


Interview was edited and condensed for clarity.


At Royale, 279 Tremont St. June 19 at 7 p.m. Tickets from $49.50. royaleboston.com/event/mandy-moore/

Serena Puang was a Globe intern in 2022. Follow her on Twitter @SerenaPuang.