“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.