Why Ashley Tisdale Tackles Anxiety and Depression on New Album After 10-Year Hiatus (Exclusive)
Andres Norwood
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"I'm actually proud of the issues that I have," she tells TooFab, "because all that stuff makes us who we are."

It's been almost 10 years to the day since Ashley Tisdale's sophomore musical effort, "Guilty Pleasure," was released in 2009.

Now in her thirties, Tisdale's focus has shifted. And on her new album -- "Symptoms," out Friday -- she sings less about getting over an ex and instead stresses that it's alright and OK to focus on your mental health.

For Tisdale, her return to the studio was sparked by finally having important something to say. The former Disney star, who co-wrote the entire album, puts her recent battles with anxiety and depression front and center.

"I always knew that I was never gonna just go back in a studio just to sing a song," she explained in an interview with TooFab, "I knew it had to mean something to me."

Calling the process of recording a cathartic one, Tisdale said it really "came at the perfect time" for her. "I was really battling my inner demons and I knew it was time to figure that stuff out," she added.

Reducing the stigma around mental health is an important cause for the singer. "I actually lost someone who was my A&R at Warner Bros. two years prior to depression, so I had already kind of had someone that, it affected me in my life at that point," she told us. "I was like, if I could just tell my fans to speak out about how we're not perfect and we all struggle with something. I think it was finally something I was like, I have to share this with people, I have to speak out about it and the more and more people talk about it, it just helps. I think it helps people know that they are not alone in their life."

It's a conversation many in Hollywood are taking part in these days, with young actors and musicians including Ariana Grande, the stars of "Riverdale" and Selena Gomez all being very vocal. As more speak out, the topic has started to become less taboo.

"My whole point -- obviously I wanted to make great music, which I feel like I did and I'm really proud of this record and it's the most authentic thing I've ever done because it's a piece of me -- but the main point was I wanted to make someone at home feel not so alone," Tisdale explained.

She also stressed that the music is not "dwelling" in those negative feelings however and instead "celebrates" them, embracing the good with the bad.

"It's celebrating we have these issues, but we can still have fun and we can still blast music and feel good about ourselves," explained Tisdale. "I think that's something I really wanted to do. I'm actually proud of the issues that I have because all that stuff makes us who we are."

Of course, those aren't the only topics she tackles on the album. Yes, there are a few fun, non-traditional love songs as well, including tracks like "Insomnia" and "True Romance." "I'm one of those people who hate those lovey-dovey songs," said Ashley. "So the songs on this album are like my perfect way of having it be a love song."

While her husband and fellow-musician Christopher French doesn't appear on the album, they did think about collaborating. He wound up serving as inspiration instead. "We did consider doing a song together, he's actually been composing for TV and film, so he's constantly busy," she explained, before adding that they do "like to kind of keep things separate."

"He's honestly such a supportive man who is just able to talk to me about everything that I'm feeling, he's such a great listener, he inspires me," she added. "He helped me through a lot of the stuff I went through."

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Vibrations 🔊 5.3.19 @Symptoms #symptoms

A post shared by Ashley Tisdale (@ashleytisdale) on

The track "Vibrations" gives fans a great idea of what married life for Tisdale and French looks like, as well as how much her life has changed since her last album. "Don't go looking for trouble these days/all grown up in a different place," she sings, "used to hang in the clubs and go out/now a glass of rosé is my style."

"A lot of people who hear the song, it doesn't matter how old they are because they really relate to it," she said of the song. "There are a lot of young, 20-year-olds who just Netflix and chill. I felt like it was a great song to represent where we are at."

"It's so much easier, it's so much more fun too, especially from my past," Tisdale said with a laugh. "When I was in my young 20s I definitely would go to clubs going out with guys that are not good for you. It's so much more fun [now]."

Check out the video for her first single, "Voices In My Head," above. The album, "Symptoms," drops Friday.

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