Ashley Tisdale is coping with real loss on the song "You're Always Here." Released just this week, the one-off single serves as a tribute to the actress/singer's late grandfather, Arnold. And it was through recording the track that Tisdale found strength.
"I would just kind of go on walks and come back and have written something as if I was speaking to him," she revealed to MTV News on Monday of writing about her grandfather, who died in September.
"My fiancé, Chris French, is actually a producer and he actually came back home one night and was like, 'I wrote some chords.' He played it for me and we just decided to make a song out of what I was going through; it organically happened. [My grandfather] always loved my music and loved when I would sing."
But with "You're Always Here" being such a personal endeavor, Tisdale admitted she was a bit nervous to put it out there at first.
"For me, I do ... share a lot with my fans, but there is a certain part that is kept really private. It's hard for me to express some stuff that is super-personal," she said. "And this one, especially, it's not like an album that I kind of just artistically created — this is something that recently actually ... happened."
In the end, though, the "High School Musical" alum decided she wanted to share the music with her fans, giving them the first taste of what she's been working on since her last album, 2009's Guilty Pleasure. Plus, it's also for a good cause, with portions of the proceeds going to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
"I think that it was just the right thing and the right subject, and he meant so much to me," she said. "I felt like I wanted everyone to know who he was and how special he was to me. I just know if he was here and knew a song was written about him, he would tell everybody."
Her fiancé's involvement was also a big reason why she recorded the track. "I think for Chris, he wanted to help me as well," Tisdale said. "He really gets me on a whole other level and this subject and it being so personal; he would be the only one to do it."
So, was it hard to work together after getting engaged back in August? "Not really! We're really, like, good together. When it comes to business, it's about the business. When we'd be in the studio during the day, it was like, I was in the studio, I would come in, I'd record and then I would leave," she said. "And then he's there doing everything else, and then he'd come home and then we were normal," she laughed.
"There is a lot of love there and I think it shows on that [behind-the-scenes] video and it shows through the song, so that's definitely a little different from me going to someone else's studio. When it comes to work, it's about the work."