"I was just told to show up and what to sing … that was late-'90s pop music for you," she told the mag. "I found myself in the company of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, who had really quality music, much more so than mine was. I'm sure there are people scratching their heads, going, 'Wow, how is she still around?'"
The just-married star is set to release "Amanda Leigh" on May 26, the follow-up to 2007's folkier, more mature "Wild Hope." Like "Wild Hope," her new material is less like the produced pop of her previous hits like "Candy," and more in line with singer-songwriters like Carole King, Todd Rundgren – and her new husband, alt-country musician Ryan Adams, who she said has been giving her piano and guitar lessons.
"The music is all a reflection of me now, not somebody else's choices," Mandy said. "If people don't like the music, then they don't like me – and that's quite all right."
And having Ryan as a sounding board has helped her hone her material.
"When it comes to the possibility and potential to collaborate, or to be able to run decisions or ideas by someone … it's nice to have that," she said. "I feel very lucky, you know?"
But the "Candy" singer still has a taste for sweets – and surprisingly, a dirty mouth, dropping an f-bomb after ordering fries and a chocolate shake during the interview.
"It's okay to have a milk shake," she said. "It is! Whatever! Who f***ing cares!"