Ashley Tisdale exclusive interview
Ashley Tisdale is in some select company with the release of her Guilty Pleasure CD July 28. Few have experienced the type of pop culture success she has as part of High School Musical. Tisdale says she is simply getting started.
The High School Musical 1, 2 and 3 star shot to fame opposite Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron in the Disney monster hit. Tisdale's beginnings are much more humble, and certainly more classically enhanced. She was the star of Les Miserables for seven years as a child actress.
Running to Guilty
Guilty Pleasure is exactly that and more with its guitar-driven pop from a singer and budding songwriter who is ready for her spotlight.
SheKnows: Hello Ashley, first off, why call the album Guilty Pleasure when most Disney stars might run away from that moniker?
Ashley Tisdale: A Guilty Pleasure is something you enjoy and I have always enjoyed the full finished product. In movies, when I'm shooting a movie, obviously it's a lot of fun and you have memories, but I always love watching it and seeing what I accomplished. Same with music, I always love to hear what I've worked so hard on or what I've written. To think the whole thing is finished, and I think recording is fun. You're in the recording studio a lot (laughs). You pretty much never leave (laughs). You pretty much live there. I was co-writing a lot (for Guilty Pleasure). I worked really hard on this album and it was definitely at times easy, but there were also bumpy roads because I wanted to change the direction from the first album. I felt I had to prove myself on why I was changing it. I love getting the album in my head and thinking 'this is what all my hard work went in to.' Being able to perform it live with fans and sharing it that is so awesome.
High School insight
SheKnows: Since High School Musical became such a phenomenon and is a phenomenon, when you all as a cast realized that is was more than your typical pop culture landmark event?
Ashley Tisdale: It was a snowball effect in a way. I feel like everything kept getting bigger. We heard how well it did on the channel after the premiere. Then, suddenly, it was on the Billboard charts with the album's songs. Then our album was number one on the Billboard charts. It was getting crazier and crazier and even more amazing. It was definitely that was a great experience that doesn't' happen all the time, it was kind of like...(laughs) insane. We are all really grateful for it.
Heart and soul
SheKnows: How is it, for example with Guilty Pleasure, when you have put so much work into something and your heart and soul when it finally sees the light of day? Your fans have finally seen it. That's got to be pretty rewarding?
Ashley Tisdale: Yeah, it is, I'm super excited for it to come out and see the reaction from the fans. I feel like this is something where I wanted an album where I would listen to and I feel it's a reflection of who I am and where I am in my life right now. I'm just super excited to share it with everybody and see what they think. It makes you a little bit vulnerable obviously because, like you said, you put your heart and soul into it. I think that everybody will enjoy it.
SheKnows: For your growing up, you are an immense talent of acting and singing and dancing, did you ever feel that you had to choose?
Les Mis star breaks out
Ashley Tisdale: Yeah, when I was eight years old and I was doing the national tour of Les Miserables, I kind of had to choose if I was going to keep doing musical theater -- or maybe just music, or maybe just acting. I kind of went with acting. I had done it a lot. I wanted to experience TV shows and doing movies. I really, at the time, loved being on comedy shows because of the live audience reaction. It reminded me of being in theater. I feel like it's really a great opportunity that we have with High School Musical is we got to combine both. That has opened tons of doors for me. Warner Bros label just opened their arms to me and let me be really creative with my album. I'm very lucky.
SheKnows: Did you pick up anything from your musical theater background whether High School Musical or Les Mis, that you incorporate into your live show. Or maybe, something that helps you with the live show that you learned from performing on stage.
The Pleasure of Tisdale
Ashley Tisdale: Definitely having been in theater you do these things. It's like a superstitious thing where you get together and either have a little circle and you hold hands with everybody and say a prayer or say something…I definitely bring that into my performance. Before we go out to perform, we have this thing we do -- me and my band -- I definitely brought that along. I learned a lot at a young age being in theater. You grow up a little faster being in the business. I just think that I was raised really responsible because I was doing a show all over the world every night for a year and a half. (Laughs) It was kind of a grueling schedule, but I loved it. It was amazing.
SheKnows: Where for you, whether live by yourself or as part of a musical theater troupe, what would you say would be one of the more unusual places that you've had the pleasure of performing?
Ashley Tisdale: Hmm…anywhere?
SheKnows: Anywhere you traveled in the world where you thought, 'I cannot believe I'm here.'
Ashley Tisdale: Brazil. Yeah, Brazil. We were doing the South American tour for High School Musical and we performed in front of 85,000 people in a stadium.
SheKnows: Oh my God.
Ashley Tisdale: That definitely was something that we've (laughs) never experienced before. It was really cool and something I'll always remember, for sure.