Mandy Moore has praised Britney Spears as the ''leader of the pack'' when it comes to female singers of the early 2000s.

The 34-year-old singer and actress had huge success with her hit single 'Candy' in 1999, which continued into the early 2000s, and has said that fellow singing superstar Britney Spears was ''crushing the pop music scene'' when she released her debut album '... Baby One More Time' the same year.

Mandy said: ''We've never met each other. I've never met her. I think she's like the leader of the pack, she started it all. She was at the forefront of crushing the pop music scene, opening the door for everyone, men and women alike.

''She just sort of came out and started getting traction as I was making music. She was out in the world so I guess absolutely her influence would be felt I think on anybody that was making music because she was so popular. It was instant. It felt like she came out like a bullet, right to the top.''

The 'This is Us' actress was just 15 when she got her big music break, and has said she was aware she was signed in order to compete with the likes of Britney and Christina Aguilera.

Asked if there was any competition between them, Mandy said: ''I knew once I had been signed and once I was aware of Britney and then Christina came out shortly thereafter, I knew I was my record label's answer to that,'' she explained. ''So I was aware that that's what my record label was doing but I also knew that I couldn't compete in that sense. I'm not Britney, I'm not a great dancer. I don't have that same showmanship quality. That was never gonna be me.''

Despite being pop rivals in the 2000s, Mandy admits she sympathises with Britney for the level of attention and public scrutiny she's had over the years.

Speaking on Jennifer Zaborowski's 'We Need To Talk about Britney' podcast, Mandy said: ''I can't imagine having the level and the degree of fame and adulation that she's had in her life feels so foreign to me, I can't begin to know what that's like. For someone as talented and magnanimous as Britney to have gone through those trials and tribulations so publicly, you would not have a heart if you didn't feel for her.''