In a new episode of the Scrubbing In with Becca Tilley & Tanya Rad Podcast Ashley sat down to talk about Symptoms, Illuminate Cosmetics and starting an own business. The podcast was recorded May 2, where Ashley also visited SiriusXM. Click here to listen to the full episode.
Even though it’s been 10 years since Ashley Tisdale last released an album, she’s been busy doing pretty much everything else. After spending three years starring in three High School Musical movies (plus one underrated spinoff!) as Sharpay Evans, a queen bee with a voracious appetite for fame, Tisdale went on to appear in a bunch of TV and film roles, including Hellcats and Scary Movie 5. On top of that, she acquired and rebranded Illuminate Cosmetics as the go-to destination for clean, modern makeup must-haves. So it’s understandable that she might take a step away from music for awhile.
Fortunately, the 33-year-old is once again channeling her creative energy back into recording with Symptoms (out May 3), her most thoughtful, mature release yet. The emotionally-charged, nine-track record follows the ups and downs of Tisdale’s personal battle with anxiety and depression, which she says she hopes will cut through the dark, often-stigmatized nature of mental illness to help others feel less isolated. From the haunting orchestral melodies of “Insomnia,” to the triumphant finale, “Feeling So Good,” Symptoms is a candid and vulnerable account of what it feels like to go through it—and a passionate reminder that you’re never alone.
Tisdale spoke to MarieClaire.com about her new album, the crucial role of music in her own healing process, and how she stays on top of her busy schedule.
On where she found inspiration for Symptoms:
I was in and out of the studio just trying to get inspired and see what my sound would be, but this record wasn’t something that I sat down to do. It was so organic and happened naturally. The first day of sitting in the writing session, I wasn’t even thinking about it like it would be a record. My co-writer, Rachel West, and I are really close, and our connection to each other happened right away—we would have songs written and recorded in sometimes half a day. The first session was with Rachel, and when we wrote “Symptoms,” I realized how great we were together. Because I was so inspired by the first song that we wrote, I knew exactly what the album was going to be; every single song was going to be a symptom of what I was experiencing.
On how she uses music to heal:
The studio became a safe space for me to really have fun and be creative and laugh…I needed to communicate what I was going through, and it really helped me get through that time. In the past, I was really trying to figure out who I was as an artist, but now I just feel like music is the best way to express everything that I’m going through. I think I’ve had anxiety for my entire life, but I definitely became aware of it in the last two years. It was all coming to a head, to be honest, and it just all happened and started getting worse. I’d also lost someone to depression about two years ago, and I just felt like it was time to share my story and who I am as a person with my fans. I really want to make people feel like they’re not alone.
On what influences her sound:
I would say that, musically, this is very different from stuff I’ve done in the past. When I started writing and recording this album, I really wanted the production to be more stripped down. Because it’s about anxiety and depression, I didn’t want it to be overproduced. I was really inspired by David Bowie and the Electric Light Orchestra—I listen to a lot of ’70s music! I was also inspired by Julia Michaels, because I love how her lyrics are very conversational, and that inspired me to write like that as well.
On what she does for self-care:
For me, reading really helped calm my anxiety…I think that the more that you can learn about it, you realize that other people are going through the same things as you and that there’s a community of people you can turn to. It’s also important to communicate it. Every single one of us is struggling with something, and no one’s perfect. Another thing that helps is starting my day with meditation. It really centers me and focuses me. I feel like it’s good to have some anxious feelings—it could mean that you’re excited about something—but meditation is such a huge help, especially for high stress.
On how she manages to do everything (in a healthy way):
I used to be a yes-person, and I would try to do everything. I realized that I can’t get to 500 things in a day, and that it’s okay to slow down and take time for yourself. I have so much going on and I kind of have to compartmentalize everything…I’m still learning, and I’m still going to mess up, and there are going to be times that I fail. But it is a journey.
Source: Marie Claire
“This record is such a personal record for me — it’s a piece of me and I’m excited to share it with the world,” said singer-songwriter and actress Ashley Tisdale about her new album, Symptoms, out today (via Big Noise Music Group).
Symptoms marks nearly a decade since the release of her pop-punk album Guilty Pleasure, the follow up to her 2007 debut album Headstrong. But that was a busier time for Tisdale — she was working under a major label and balancing studio sessions between TV and movie sets (notably, as Maddie Fitzpatrick in The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody and as Sharpay Evans in the widely popular High School Musical franchise). But rather than focusing on Tisdale’s past, it’s time to embrace her in the present.
Now, in her thirties, Tisdale begins a new and exciting era with Symptoms — one that’s all her own. She’s also the CEO of her makeup company ILLUMINATE by Ashley Tisdale and will star in the new Netflix comedy series, Merry Happy Whatever, alongside Dennis Quaid.
Symptoms, co-written by Tisdale, is unapologetically personal and incredibly good. Tisdale released the album’s leading track “Voices in My Head” in November 2018, followed by the empowering anthem “Love Me & Let Me Go” in January.
The album reflects the singer’s journey of self-discovery, with each track title representing a different symptom that she experienced in her struggle with anxiety and depression. “This experience has been a lot of fun and I’ve really gotten to know myself as an artist. It was also very healing for me,” she said to me in an interview. “This album is a piece of me, verses when I was younger, I didn’t know who I was as an artist.”
“Symptoms” was the first song she created from the album. “I went into the studio and on the first day we wrote ‘Symptoms’ and it was very organic for me. For me to do another record, it had to be important,” she replied. “I feel like for the first time, my fans are going to get to know me for everything. I could be honest with my fans about my experiences.”
Although the album’s song titles illustrate Tisdale’s symptoms — such as “Insomnia” or “Vibrations” — their lyrics reveal a positive and inspirational twist. Her fun, up-beat single “Vibrations” is all about vibing with husband and fellow musician Christopher French, like when they are chilling in their house and eating Thai food. The song’s chorus says: “We, we can catch a vibe // Hangin’ on the couch on a Friday night // Yeah, we, we can take a break // Warmin’ up some Thai in the microwave.
“This record is a very fun record and I wanted to talk about these feelings, but not dwell on them. Having anxiety and depression makes you who you are and I’m very proud of these things,” she explained. “We all have issues, so let’s just celebrate and have fun…that’s what the music translates to.”
Tisdale tapped into music professionally when she was eight years old, landing the role of little Cosette in the musical Les Miserables. She then appeared in the musical Annie in Korea and toured internationally for the play. Tisdale moved to L.A. and appeared in minor acting roles, before landing The Suite Life in 2005. She signed to Warner Bros. Records in 2006.
“I was acting a lot and I had to make a decision about doing musicals or acting, and I chose to focus more on acting. Years later, I ended up doing High School Musical and that merged the two together.” Since HSM premiered in 2006, Tisdale has accumulated millions of loyal fans. The New Jersey native uses social media to not only connect with her 44 million plus combined followers, but to also illustrate a very important message: no one has a perfect life and that’s okay.
“Social media is such a great tool to have and it’s awesome to communicate with the fans. But, it also creates a perfect life. And no one’s life is perfect. Even the people you look up to and you are inspired by, it’s important to also know that we all go through things.”
Tisdale hasn’t toured since Guilty Pleasure, but she loves the idea of hitting the road again for Symptoms. “I’m getting ready to do a Netflix series [Merry Happy Whatever] in Quebec, but I would love to be able to go on tour with Symptoms. I haven’t been on tour in a long time.”
Tisdale’s new album, Symptoms, is available to stream now.
Ashley sat down with Access to talk about the new album Symptoms. She talks about the response from fans, touring, collaborations and more. On Access Live Ashley also talked about opening up about anxiety and depression and the issue socity still has with people opening up about these issues.
Back in 2009 Ashley gave some behind the scenes information from recording Guilty Pleasure, the stories behind It’s Alright, It’s Ok and such. 10 years later she does it again! Ashley takes you behind the stories of her upcoming studio album Symptoms. Check out these fun videos on our YouTube channel.