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Teenager Debbie Gibson earns a #1 hit with “Foolish Beat”

Teenager Debbie Gibson earns a #1 hit with “Foolish Beat”

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Contrary to what some critics of teen pop might imagine, pop sensation Debbie Gibson saw herself not as the next Madonna, but as the next Carole King. And when her single “Foolish Beat” reached the top of the Biilboard Hot 100 on this day in 1988, she achieved something very much in keeping with that goal: She became the youngest person ever to write, produce and perform her own #1 pop single.

Debbie Gibson was the poster-child for everything a talented teenager might achieve if she set her mind to justifying her parents’ investment in music and voice lessons. Raised in suburban Long Island, New York, Gibson began piano lessons at age five with the same teacher who taught Billy Joel. She wrote her first song, “Know Your Classroom,” at age six and her first “hit” at age 12, with a song called “I Come From America,” which won her $1,000 in a songwriting contest and convinced her parents to hire a professional manager. Five years later, with more than 100 original unreleased songs to her credit, she signed a contract with Atlantic Records and recorded her debut album, Out Of The Blue.

During the summer of 1987, Debbie Gibson earned her first Top-10 hit with her debut single, “Only In My Dreams.” After two more hits with “Shake Your Love” and “Out Of The Blue,” she earned her record-setting #1 hit with the self-produced original song, “Foolish Beat.”

Like so many teen stars before and after her, Debbie Gibson did not remain a viable pop star for long, but she made the most of her time in the spotlight, earning another #1 hit in early 1989 with “Lost In Your Eyes,” from her second album, Electric Youth, which reached the top of the Billboard album charts and inspired a pioneering foray into the youth cosmetics market with the creation of Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson perfume and cologne spritz by Revlon.

Debbie Gibson Turns 50: A Former Teen Pop Star Gives Advice to Her Younger Self

The year was 1987. An unknown 16-year-old Long Island girl named Debbie Gibson released her first pop album, entitled Out of the Blue. It became a worldwide hit, spawning five hit singles and selling more than five million copies.

Gibson even made music history: the chart-topping "Foolish Beat" made her the youngest female artist to write, produce and perform a No. 1 single – a record that endures today.

During the late 1980s, Debbie Gibson became a teen sensation, gracing magazine covers and making countless TV appearances. (She was even on The Hollywood Squares, which was a very big deal at the time.)

Her follow-up album, Electric Youth, went straight to the top and spawned three hit singles, including the chart-topping "Lost in Your Eyes," which spent three weeks at No. 1. As Gibson matured and her teen pop status faded, she performed on Broadway and acted in several TV movies, all the while continuing to put out new music.

Gibson turns 50 on Monday. To celebrate her milestone year, she reflects back on advice she would give her teen self. Here are her three most salient pieces of advice.


As Debbie Gibson took center stage at Madison Square Garden for her brief set during the Atlantic Records anniversary salute in May, many in the hard- rocking crowd hissed and booed wildly. The concertgoers, who had been waiting more than 10 hours to see Led Zeppelin reunite, were completely out of patience. The last thing any of them wanted now was more perky pop.

"Get off the stage," many of the seething Zep fans yelled in anger. In fact, they did everything but throw tomatoes at her.

But 17-year-old Debbie Gibson, in her first major hometown concert, ignored it all, then swung into a high-energy five-song-and-dance set that earned a standing ovation. She overcame the hostility with a polished, easy air that belied her youth. Her remarkable poise that night seemed to flow directly from her well-grounded personality.

"I was very proud of that accomplishment," she said. "It was a big thing for me. I proved I'm not a one-hit artist. And let's face it, if you could entertain that crowd, you could entertain anyone. Good entertainment is good entertainment."

But wasn't she nervous? "Not at all, I'm just a bold person. Really, it was easy. This whole year has just been great."

For Deborah "Debs The Gibber" Gibson (as she is listed in her high school yearbook), this whole year has actually been phenomenal. And the manner in which she has seamlessly juggled high school, boyfriends, the prom, final exams and her burgeoning career as one of pop music's brightest stars, is an exceptional accomplishment in itself.

A childhood piano whiz and young star of several well-known TV commercials, Debbie's now-platinum debut album, Out of the Blue, was quietly released last summer. It attracted little media notice, but radio fans quickly warmed up to her catchy melodies and romantic rhymes.

Then, one by one the hits piled up until Foolish Beat, the fourth single, reached No. 1. With that, Debbie became the youngest artist in chart history to write, perform and produce a No. 1 song.

Out of nowhere, the Atlantic Recording Corp. suddenly had a monster hit on its hands.

Ironically, it was just four years ago, during her freshman year, that Debbie won a pair of tickets to see Madonna. Now she's got a tour of her own -- launched just three days after her graduation from Long Island's Calhoun High. She arrives at the West Palm Beach Auditorium tonight.

With the chart success of other teen-age artists this year, initially Debbie's career suffered briefly from a public misconception that she was little more than just another frothy dance star -- just another Tiffany. But as her ability to write, produce and arrange her own material became more well-known, her image improved considerably. Critics are no longer dismissing her, either. Her genuine, gimmick-free sound has been among the freshest new efforts to come along in years.

All of this -- the critical breakthrough, the recent No. 1 single, the prom, graduation, the date at Madison Square Garden, the new tour -- has happened in just a matter of weeks, but Gibson swears it hasn't affected her. Aside from her almost limitless creativity, she seems overwhelmingly normal.

To celebrate the end of high school, she did what almost every other Long Island kid has done for decades -- she rented a limo, she danced at the prom, she went to a Manhattan nightclub afterward, and then to the beach to watch the sunrise. Later, Debbie and her friends went back to her house, where her mother cooked breakfast for all of them.

"A lot of artists sometimes lose all sense of reality," Debbie said during a recent telephone conversation from her tour bus. "I think you just have to keep your feet on the ground. Anyway, my parents, my friends, they would never let me become obnoxious. I get along with everybody. I do things for myself. I don't isolate myself. I mean, even though sometimes now it's like a project for me to go to a movie, I'm not gonna start putting on disguises and acting like a jerk."

Debbie says she pretty much has the same concerns as any other young adult, although she is not planning to go to college just yet. She did well in school this year, even with 75 days absent, maintaining an honors average by just "staying on top of things. I had a simple schedule, though. Just Health, Spanish and English. You know, it's senior year."

For her 18th birthday on Aug. 31, her dream is to return to HotRod's -- the New York nightclub where she and her friends partied after the prom. She also wants to study Japanese, and get her driver's license.

"I have so many things -- everything just running around in my mind -- so many elaborate ideas that I want to put on stage -- and now I have. I think I owe the people who bought the album a good show. I'm having a lot of fun I can hardly believe people get paid for doing this."

In fact, if she does have a pet peeve, it's that she's tired of answering questions about "new-found wealth."

"All the kids at school think there's this man with a big wheelbarrow who delivers all this money to our house every day. What they don't understand is that there's also another man with an even bigger wheelbarrow who comes to take it away.

"I mean, there is a tremendous amount of re-investing that goes on in this business that people don't realize. Touring and recording are very expensive."

Traveling with Debbie this summer is her mother, Diane, and younger sister, Denise, 13, who is her wardrobe assistant. Debbie also has two older sisters -- Michele, 21, is a fashion design student at Vassar College Karen, 22, is working for rival Polygram Records after a brief stint at Motown. Her father, Joe, is a customer service representative for TWA.

The Gibsons have always been a musical family. All four sisters excelled in their piano studies from the start. Debbie says she remembers taking classical pieces and jazzing them up, much to the dismay of her piano teacher. "He said he once had another student who did the same thing. It drove him crazy. His name was Billy Joel."

Debbie also draws inspiration from another pop pianist, Elton John, as well as teen heartthrob George Michael. She also credits Madonna with brave pioneering. "I like her, she's not afraid of anything. She does what she wants."

Since Debbie's music training began at age 5 (she was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus), she has written and copyrighted about 200 of her compositions. Coming up with enough material for her next album should be no problem. "Yeah, I've written tons of songs, tons of 'em. The ideas just come to me. I already have eight tracks down on the new album we'll finish it when I get home in October."

To tide over her fans until then, Atlantic will release Staying Together, the fifth and final single from Out of The Blue. In the meantime, Debbie will be busy on the road, touring in her bus from town to town. "I like it so far. The hotels have been great, too. Nothing fancy. All I really need is a swimming pool, maybe a gym and MTV."


Gibson was born in Brooklyn, New York, the third of Diane (née Pustizzi) and Joseph Gibson's four daughters. [1] [8] [9] Her father, who enjoyed singing, was originally named Joseph Schultz and was orphaned as a boy [10] his biological mother married a man with the surname Gibson before putting Joseph into an orphanage. [11] Debbie Gibson grew up in suburban Merrick, New York, on Long Island. [12] She describes herself as of "Italian/Sicilian and part German and possibly some Russian" descent. [13] She studied piano under American pianist Morton Estrin. [14]

1986–1989 Edit

After years of writing and producing her own material, Gibson finally found her demonstration tape in the hands of a radio personality, who eventually shared it with an executive at Atlantic Records. Based solely on Gibson's original song, "Only in My Dreams", she was signed to a development deal and began a promotional tour of club venues throughout the United States.

Gibson spent much of 1986 and the beginning of 1987 building her songwriting catalog, while continuing to play club dates. During her promotional tour, Gibson continued attending classes at Calhoun High School in Merrick, New York, whence she later graduated as an honor student. Diane Gibson, Debbie's mother and manager, accompanied her daughter on many of these track dates. "We played dance clubs, straight clubs, and gay clubs," Diane has said.

The promotional pressing of "Only in My Dreams" landed the song within the Billboard Hot 100. [16] [17] Atlantic Records signed Gibson to a recording contract, thus began the process of completing the first record.

Along with producer Fred Zarr, Gibson wrote, recorded, and produced her first album Out of the Blue in only four weeks. Now having something to market, "Only in My Dreams" was selected as Debbie's first single. This time, "Only In My Dreams" found traction on Top 40 radio, and reached a peak of number four on the Hot 100 chart.

Following the success of "Only In My Dreams", "Shake Your Love" was released as the follow-up single and reached the Billboard top five. The "Shake Your Love" video was choreographed by Paula Abdul and was the first time MTV had visited Debbie on a video shoot.

In 1987, while performing at nightclub venues throughout the United States, Gibson was recording her debut album, Out of the Blue. It was finished within four weeks. Four singles from the album reached the top five of the Hot 100 chart: "Only in My Dreams", "Shake Your Love", "Out of the Blue", and the number-one hit "Foolish Beat", followed by "Staying Together", which performed more modestly, reaching number 22. "Foolish Beat" set a record for Gibson, making her (at 17) the youngest artist ever to have written, produced, and performed a Billboard number-one single, as entered in the 1988 Guinness Book of World Records. She remains the youngest female artist to have done so. Out of the Blue was established as a hit album, and she had success in the UK and southeast Asia, filling stadiums with her Out of the Blue tour. By the end of 1988, Out of the Blue had gone triple platinum. [2]

The music video compilation Out of the Blue was certified platinum by the RIAA the concert tour video was certified double platinum. In October 1988, Gibson sang the national anthem for Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series.

Electric Youth was released in early 1989 and spent five weeks at number one on the Top 200 Album chart. The first single released, "Lost in Your Eyes", was number one on the Hot 100 for three weeks, garnering her another achievement as the youngest female to have both an album and single simultaneously at number one. [18] [19] She shared the 1989 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Award with Bruce Springsteen. [20] Subsequent singles from the album were "Electric Youth" (number 11), "No More Rhyme" (number 17), and "We Could Be Together" (number 71). The Electric Youth album was certified double platinum by the RIAA. The successful Electric Youth world tour and Live Around the World VHS (double platinum) followed.

1990–2001 Edit

She recorded two more albums for Atlantic Records: Anything Is Possible (1990) and Body, Mind, Soul (1993). The former's title song, co-written with Motown mainstay Lamont Dozier, peaked at number 26 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1991. Subsequent singles from Anything Is Possible failed to chart on the Hot 100, although "One Step Ahead" scored on the Hot Maxi Singles and Hot Dance charts, peaking at numbers 21 and 18, respectively. Body Mind Soul spawned another minor hit in "Losin' Myself", which was accompanied by a controversial video clip, which Matthew Rolston directed, that featured Gibson as a stripper. The second single from the album, "Shock Your Mama", became a minor hit in Europe and the UK, but "Losin' Myself" was Debbie Gibson's last appearance on the Billboard Hot 100.

During this time, Gibson was part of the supergroup that recorded the charity single "Voices That Care", which peaked at number 11 on the Hot 100 chart.

In 1995, she signed with EMI's SBK Records division and recorded her only album for the label, Think with Your Heart. It was an adult contemporary-heavy album consisting of piano and keyboard ballads recorded predominantly with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The album's producer, Niko Bolas, who was usually Neil Young's co-producer, was producing the reunion album for Circle Jerks (a veteran punk band) and invited Gibson to a recording session for that band's album. She sang background vocals on the song "I Wanna Destroy You", as well as appearing at and participating in the Circle Jerks' performance [21] at the punk venue CBGB wearing one of the band's T-shirts and sharing a microphone with frontman Keith Morris.

In 1998, she sang the song, "I Do", which is featured on the soundtrack to the film, The Naked Man. [22] The lyrics to the song were composed by the co-writer of the film, Ethan Coen. [23] The soundtrack has never been released.

After parting company with EMI, Gibson formed her own record label, Espiritu, to release her original material. Her sixth album, Deborah (1997), marked her full return to pop. Deborah includes the lead single "Only Words". "Only Words" (Dance Edit) became a Top-40 Hot Dance Music/Club Play hit. The album's other single was the ballad "Naturally". Though it only sold 20,000 in the US, Deborah remains well-respected. [ citation needed ]

In 2001, she released her seventh album on her new record label, Golden Egg, titled M.Y.O.B. It featured three singles: the sensual pop song "What You Want", the Latin-infused dance-pop song "Your Secret", and the bass-heavy "M.Y.O.B." Highlights from the album include the sultry Latin-flavored smooth jazz song "In Blue", a vintage-style ballad "Wishing You Were Here", "Jaded", and a remix of "M.Y.O.B." with the background vocals of her two nieces. [ citation needed ]

2005–2009 Edit

In 2005, Gibson co-wrote and recorded a song titled "Someone You Love" with the O'Neill Brothers. With the brothers, she released an updated, acoustic version of her number-one hit "Lost in Your Eyes". An Emmy-nominated PBS special aired in 2005. [24] [25]

The March 2005 issue of Playboy featured a nude pictorial of Gibson, coinciding with the release of her single, "Naked". She has said that the magazine had asked her five times to pose for them since she turned 18. [26] She agreed to pose to revamp her image, describing how one casting call called her agent, not realizing that Gibson had long since outgrown her teenager image. [27] The single peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot Single Sales chart in March 2005. [28]

In November 2005, Debbie was announced to be going on tour with the O'Neill Brothers for "Someone You Love Tour" [29] in 2006. "Lost in Your Eyes" was revamped with an acoustic sound and a song "Someone You Love" was written and performed by Debbie and the O'Neill Brothers. These two songs also appeared on the O'Neill Brothers album Someone You Love.

She had a resurgence of popularity in niche markets. Her single "Your Secret" came back from its dormant state and became popular on some radio stations, including Super 91.7 WMPH in Wilmington, Delaware. "Your Secret" has been on their request show, Total Control Radio, for 12 months it reached No. 1 on its third week on that station's chart in May 2006. It charted along with a few of her other singles, "M.Y.O.B." and "Only Words" (Dance Edit), the Eurodance mix. They all have become recurrent hits on WMPH. [30]

The 2006 single, "Say Goodbye", featuring dance-pop artist Jordan Knight, made an impression in the Soft AC and Hot AC radio formats, becoming the third-most added single during summer, 2006. It debuted at number 35 on the Hot Contemporary chart, peaking at number 24 in early September. [ citation needed ] The same year, Gibson appeared in the independent film Coffee Date with Wilson Cruz and Jonathan Silverman and provided a soundtrack song called "Sounds Like Love".

On November 14, 2006, Gibson released the song "Famous" on her official website. The song was written by Gibson and Tiziano Lugli and was produced by Lugli.

In May 2007, the world premiere of Electric Youth: The Musical was unveiled at the Starlight Theatre in Orlando, Florida. The musical featured 14 of Gibson's songs and was directed by Dean Parker. [ citation needed ] On August 24, 2007, Gibson and Frankie Avalon hosted Time-Life Presents Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary Collection. [31]

In September 2007, Gibson considered creating a camp on the West Coast. She is the founder and creator of Camp Electric Youth, [32] a children's summer day camp, which ran from July 7–18, 2008. It claims to be the first camp of its kind in the Los Angeles area. The camp was reportedly attended by "over 120 talented singers, actors, and dancers" from around the world.

Gibson was a judge for the online talent competition, Total Pop Star, [33] along with Andrew Van Slee (producer and judge) and Joey Lawrence (from Blossom). The first season ran from November 12, 2007 – May 30, 2008, though it was later extended to June. The show ended abruptly during its second season.

In January 2008, Gibson announced that she would revive and perform her 1980s hits—along with her Broadway role songs—during a three-run week in May 2008 at Harrah's in Atlantic City. [34]

She later appeared on the April 2008 cover of Lavender Magazine (an LGBT magazine in Minnesota) [35] and was interviewed about her career and upcoming projects. Then on the 24th, Gibson hosted and performed on Spotlightlive '80s Karaoke Experience in New York [36] singing songs such as "Only in My Dreams", "Out of the Blue", "Love Shack" (an original hit for the B-52's) and "9 to 5". She performed with Samantha Fox, Tiffany, & Rick Astley at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City, Canada, on April 10, 2009. [37]

On March 5, 2009, Gibson announced via YouTube video blog that she would be releasing a new song/video called "Already Gone". [38] Released on her official website and reverberation, the song was released first on March 9, 2009, then the video on March 13, 2009. [39] The song was written by Gibson and produced by Fred Coury. It was accompanied by a music video produced by Guy Birtwhistle and directed by John Knowles, which starred Birtwhistle, Gibson, and Steve Valentine.

2010–present Edit

In January 2010, an unofficial clip named "Cougar" was uploaded on YouTube. [40] She also became a spokesperson for Murad's Resurgence Skin Care and plays piano and sings a line of the song called "Cougar". [41]

Her official website announced that "I Love You", the first single from her 2010 album Ms. Vocalist, reached number one on the international cable radio charts for the week of November 3. Debbie covered J-Pop tunes for the Ms. Vocalist album that were originally sung by Japanese artists such as Chage and Aska ("Say Yes"), Yutaka Ozaki ("I love you"), Sekaiju no Dareyori Kitto (by Miho Nakayama and WANDS) among others, plus Japanese/English version of her number-one hit "Lost in Your Eyes" and a duet with Eric Martin. The first official music video from the new album is "I Love You", which was released on Gibson Official YouTube site on October 19, 2010. [42]

Gibson's song "Rise", from the documentary 3 Billion and Counting, was included on the shortlist for an Academy Award for Best Song in a Film in 2010. [43] In the summer of 2011, she released Rise on iTunes, and also performed it on Good Morning America in New York.

Gibson performed as Mother Nature in Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy at Foxwoods/MGM Casino from July 27 to September 1, 2010. [44]

In 2010, the album Ms. Vocalist from Sony Japan was Top 10 on the Japanese Billboard chart and the first single from the album, "I Love You", hit No. 1. [45]

In January 2011, Gibson wrote, performed, and produced the song "Snake Charmer" for the film Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. [46]

On April 18, 2011, Gibson confirmed via Twitter that she would be touring with fellow 1980s pop princess Tiffany Darwish during the summer of 2011. [47]

In June 2011, Gibson appeared in Katy Perry's music video "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" alongside several other guest stars. [48]

On August 27, 2016, Gibson starred in an original Hallmark Channel film, Summer of Dreams, about a former pop star, trying to make a comeback, who finds herself better suited as a school's choir director. She also recorded a song titled "Wonderland" for the film. [49]

In June 2017, Billboard reported that Gibson achieved her highest-charting hit in more than 25 years in her duet with Sir Ivan on "I Am Peaceman", which hit number 26 on the Billboard Dance Club chart. [50]

In June 2018, Gibson appeared in the music video of American heavy-metal band Voices of Extreme's cover version of "Foolish Beat". [51]

In March 2019, Gibson hosted a special program on SiriusXM Radio's '80s on 8 channel to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her Electric Youth album, during which she played each song from the album in sequence, accompanied by personal stories surrounding each song.

On May 2, the Mixtape Tour commenced in Cincinnati, Ohio. Performers on this tour include Gibson, Tiffany, Salt-N-Pepa, and Naughty by Nature, with New Kids on the Block billed as the headline performers. [52]

On June 7, 2019, Gibson released a new pop anthem "Girls Night Out". The music video for "Girls Night Out" was shot in Las Vegas, Nevada. [53] The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Dance Club chart. [54]

On June 4, 2021, Gibson announced the release of album The Body Remembers on August 20 by her own label Stargirl Records. The album will be her first studio recording of original songs since M.Y.O.B., and will feature a new version of "Lost in Your Eyes" with Joey McIntyre. [55] [56]

Gibson debuted on Broadway in 1992, playing Eponine in Les Misérables. She then went to London and starred as Sandy in Grease—a role for which 800 other girls tried out before producers chose Gibson—in a West End production. [57] The show broke box office sales records. [58] The single version of "You're the One That I Want", a duet with Craig McLachlan, taken from the original cast recording, reached number 13 on the UK charts in 1993.

On returning to the States, she appeared in the Broadway touring production, this time playing Rizzo. She played Fanny Brice in a revamped Funny Girl tour. She has had many successful theatre credits she was among the many actresses who took the starring role of Belle in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast. She replaced Kerry Butler in September 1997 and was in the show until June 1998, when Kim Huber then succeeded her. She also starred the critically lauded production of Gypsy (in a production staged at the Paper Mill Playhouse). Gibson starred as Louise opposite Broadway legend Betty Buckley. She participated in the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, where she played the Narrator, and starred as Cinderella in the national tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical with Eartha Kitt as the Fairy Godmother. In October 2002, she starred as Velma Kelly in the Boston production of Chicago. In 2003, she played Sally Bowles in the Broadway revival of Cabaret. From March to April 2004, she played the role of Marta in the UCLA Reprise! production of Company.

Gibson starred as Anna Leonowens in Cabrillo Music Theatre's production of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical The King and I, which began October 17, 2008, in the Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and ran through October 26. [59]

Gibson co-starred with actor Lorenzo Lamas in the low-budget action/adventure film Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, produced by The Asylum and released on May 19, 2009. [60] The film drew in 2 million viewers on Syfy in 2009. Its trailer became a viral hit, scoring over one million hits on MTV.com and YouTube. [61] The film premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Gibson's former music rival Tiffany had her film Necrosis (or Blood Snow) premiere at the Cannes, as well. [62] Gibson and Tiffany starred in a Syfy original movie entitled Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, aired on January 29, 2011. [63] The pairing was suggested by Tiffany, who wanted to play-off their supposed rivalry. [64] Gibson reprised her role as Emma McNeil in the 2014 film Mega Shark Versus Mecha Shark. [65] [66]

She starred in the UP TV movie called The Music in Me alongside Gloria Reuben in 2015. The film also featured an original song called "Promises", written and performed by Gibson. [67]

In mid-2003, Gibson was a judge on the American Idol spin-off American Juniors, which lasted one season. In January 2006, she joined the cast of Skating with Celebrities on Fox Television, partnered with Canadian former world-champion figure skater Kurt Browning. She was voted out in the third episode.

Gibson competed on the fifth season of The Celebrity Apprentice, which began airing on February 19, 2012. [68] On the fourth task, she won $50,000 for her charity, Children International. [69] [70] Gibson was fired on April 1, 2012, in the seventh task because she had brought in the least amount of money between her teammates in the boardroom, Dayana Mendoza and Teresa Giudice. [71] While both Mendoza and Giudice were arguably weaker candidates going forward, [ according to whom? ] given that Mendoza was cited as the women's weakest link and Giudice had failed the task as project manager, Gibson was fired, instead.

On September 6, 2017, Gibson was announced as one of the celebrities who would compete on the 25th season of Dancing with the Stars. She was paired with first-time pro-dancer, Alan Bersten. [72] On September 26, 2017, Gibson and Bersten were the second couple eliminated coming in 12th place. [73]

In September 2018, Gibson starred in the Hallmark Channel film Wedding of Dreams, a sequel to 2016's Summer of Dreams. [74]

In 2019 and 2020, Gibson was a judge on Nickelodeon's America's Most Musical Family.

Gibson made a guest appearance on season 5 episode 10 of the Netflix series Lucifer, which premiered on May 28, 2021. In the episode titled "Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam", she plays a mother who sings "Every Breath You Take" with Lucifer (Tom Ellis) in an interrogation room. [75]

In tandem with the second album, she created a perfume called Electric Youth that was distributed by Revlon, as well as other makeup essentials for young girls that were distributed nationwide through Natural Wonder Cosmetics. [76] Debbie's trademark was her hats, usually a black pork-pie style. She also made popular wearing tight, rolled-up jeans, vests over a T-shirt, friendship bracelets and two Swatch watches as on the back cover of her popular album Electric Youth and in her music video "Staying Together". Her influences were Madonna and Olivia Newton-John, though she has often stated she admires Elton John and Billy Joel as favorite artists and was asked to sing and perform live with both at the former's Madison Square Garden concert, which she did. [77] Gibson appeared on the covers of numerous teen magazines such as Tiger Beat.

Gibson had a history of panic attacks since the age of 16. [78] [79] [80]

Over the years, Gibson has been the target of stalkers. Robert Bardo, who was convicted of murdering actress Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989, had a wall in his house adorned with pictures of Gibson and Tiffany Darwish. [81] In May 1998, Michael Falkner, a disgruntled fan from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was arrested outside Manhattan's Palace Theater, where Gibson was performing in the live-musical adaptation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. This was after Gibson received threatening letters, emails, and faxes from Falkner, who used the alias 'Starcade'. [82] [83] In 2008, Gibson filed for a restraining order against Spanish taxi driver Jorge Puigdollers, who had stalked her since 2002. [84] However, a temporary restraining order was not issued, and a court date was set to determine if a restraining order was appropriate. [85] The proceeding was dismissed when Gibson failed to show up for the hearing. [86]

Gibson was once engaged to Jonathan Kanterman [87] and was in a long-term relationship since 2008 with Rutledge Taylor. [88]

In 2014, in response to fans' concern about her weight loss, Gibson stated she had developed symptoms of Lyme disease in early 2013. [89] [90]

In 2016, Gibson appeared on Oprah: Where Are They Now?, where she spoke out about her drug use in the past, after the death of singer Prince:

I really feel like I haven't fully articulated it till now and really spoke candidly till now. When I heard the news about Prince and the fact that it might have been prescription drug-related, I really had a moment of, like, "That's awful and that's sad – and I can relate." And, unfortunately, 90% of the entertainment community can relate. I remember being on the road at, like, 25, touring with theater and doing my own cocktail of Tylenol PM and Xanax. It's like, "Oh, I found a way to make the Xanax last longer with the Tylenol PM. I mean, it's as simple as that, and that is how performers get in so much trouble." [91]

Debbie Gibson Shares 30 Fun Facts About Herself to Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Out of the Blue

Thirty years ago, an unknown 16-year-old Long Island girl named Debbie Gibson released her first pop album.

Entitled Out of the Blue, it spawned five hit singles and sold five million copies worldwide. The chart-topping 𠇏oolish Beat” made her the youngest female artist to write, produce and perform a top single – a record that endures today.

Gibson is still around. Her follow-up album, Electric Youth, went straight to No. 1. She continues to release new music and she occasionally acts—most recently in the 2016 TV Movie Summer of Dreams. She is releasing a box set of her music later this year — and it’salready available for preorder.

On the 30th anniversary of Out of the Blue’s release, Gibson shares 30 fun facts about herself with PEOPLE.

1. I was still in high school while demo-ing my debut album, so I had a studio in my garage. My friends thought that was so cool. During a blizzard, they all came over and we came up with an original song called “Rappin’ on a Snowy Day.”We were a bunch of suburban kids trying to rap.

2. I used Carvel Ice Cream rainbow sprinkles as my shaker on all of the demos for the Out of the Blue album.

3. I recorded my early hits in Producer Fred Zarr’s basement laundry room. There was this sheet hanging on a clothesline if you pulled it back, there was his washer and dryer. (Laughs) I only got lint in my throat once!

4. When I wrote “Only in My Dreams,” I intentionally set out to write a song you could hear on the radio. It worked!

5. On tour, I wore the same outfit every night as a signature style. That would never work today with social media!

6. I remember where I was when I heard the remix of “Only in My Dreams” on the radio for the first time. I was heading back from a voice lesson when I heard it on Hot 103.5 in New York City. My dad almost drove off the road because he was so excited!

7. No, I don’t know whatever happened to the bustier I wore on the cover of the “Only in My Dreams” single.

8. My sister Michele designed and hand-sewed those plaid ruffled skirt outfits I performed in and wore in videos.

9. I wrote the song “Wake Up to Love,” while dozing off in history class. I played a club the night before and was saying to myself, “Wake up… wake up…” and sang to myself “Wake up to Love.” I immediately wrote out the music and it ended up on the album!

10. PEOPLE was at my graduation party at my Aunt Linda’s house in Wantagh, Long Island.

11. I was underage, so I never went into clubs to promote Only in My Dreams through the front door! They let me in the back. I’ve seen the greasy kitchen and basement with leaky pipes of every club across America!

12. I had a wardrobe malfunction during my first live performance of “Only in My Dreams.” My dress caught the microphone and began to unravel, but I made it part of the routine. Gotta think on your feet!

13. In the first club that hired me to perform, Joey’s Place in Clifton, New Jersey, my dancers and I did this big lift, and I ended up going through the stucco ceiling.

14. My sister Karen did sound for me at all the clubs that I played! A 21-year-old chick sound engineer was very rare at the time.

15. I got my signature black hat on Scott Shannon’s Christmas radio special from Michael Damien. I took it off his head! I had black hats made up to take on tour with me. I threw my hat out into the audience at the end of every show. Ryan Seacrest‘s sister Meredith caught one of them!

16. I was upset because people thought I was going to the prom with Brian Bloom because he was also a teen star, which was so untrue! To this day, Brian and I are friends and always have a great connection.

17. I almost didn’t get to graduate with my class because the school district was concerned about safety because of media. I signed an insurance waiver so that I could be a part of it.

18. Sean and McKenzie Astin dropped by the set of the “Shake Your Love” video, which was my teen dream come true! Also, Paula Abdul choreographed the video.

19. I couldn’t go anywhere after Out of the Blue, but I really wanted to go to a local church carnival. I bought a brown wig and glasses, but it didn’t work. People were like, “There’s Debbie Gibson in a brown wig!”

20. My sister Denise and I would freak out seeing me in the pages of teen magazines. We used to say, “Who’s this Brad Pitt guy?” because he was a pin-up, but we never saw his work!

21. The photographer for the album cover thought my knee was pulling focus in the photo, so the makeup artist drew that face on my knee! Little girls everywhere came to my concerts with faces painted on their knees!

22. I had a panic attack at age 16 at a dinner with a radio program director and my mom. I had three club shows to do, and I was exhausted at the time. I ended up in the ER that night.

23. I didn’t want to cut my hair, but the management felt the bangs and straight hair look was too ‘ordinary’ and made me look ‘too young’. The ozone layer is what it is today from me having to spray that hairdo to keep it in place! Eventually, that “ordinary” look with the bangs and straight hair ended up being what kids related to.

24. We shot the 𠇏oolish Beat” video at South Street Seaport on St. Patrick’s Day. There were drunken New Yorkers shouting at me and having a blast celebrating while I was doing my “walk and cry” scene.

25. Since we didn’t have cell phones when I was on my first tour, I had to call my friends from my hotel rooms with a calling card!

26. The outfit in the 𠇏oolish Beat” video was something I borrowed from my sister Michele’s closet, but I think the bow was mine.

27. I got to perform on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand with INXS. Michael Hutchence was a genius.

Personal Life

Gibson still has her youthful good looks—something she credits to her longtime boyfriend, anti-aging specialist Dr. Rutledge Taylor. And while she is no longer a blonde-haired teenager hopping around to catchy dance hooks while sporting bangs, a leather jacket and her signature black hat, Gibson stays in touch with her youth in a more meaningful way.

She makes regular visits to the town where she was raised, Merrick, where she still knows her old friends and teachers by their first names, and where the faded green paint of her hopscotch board still marks the sidewalk outside of her childhood home. "When you hear the name Debbie Gibson," a childhood friend said, "the lights go on in Merrick."

Debbie Gibson: Former Teen Pop Sensation

Debbie Gibson was a teenage pop superstar in the 1980s, but her dizzying success was always grounded in the foundation set in New York&rsquos Brooklyn and Long Island boroughs of her childhood.

The singer, whose 1988 single &ldquoFoolish Beat&rdquo earned her at the age of 17 an entry in Guinness World Records as the youngest person to ever write, produce and perform a No. 1 hit, says she grew up in an environment that fostered generosity&mdasheven when her family couldn&rsquot really afford it.

Mom Diane and dad Joseph nurtured her musical ambitions with lessons and a garage full of professional-quality recording equipment. But they also &ldquoencouraged me to use my talents for charity,&rdquo Gibson says, sipping a cup of afternoon tea in a San Fernando Valley coffee bar near her Los Angeles home.

&ldquoAlthough they were juggling finances, they never let on,&rdquo she says. &ldquoI was always aware of those less fortunate. Whether it was donating old clothes to Goodwill or volunteering, charity was a part of my upbringing.&rdquo

It was charity that drove Gibson, now 41, to join the latest cast of the NBC reality series Celebrity Apprentice, which pits teams of stars against each other in often grueling, sometimes emotionally charged challenges to raise funds for their respective causes.

&ldquoThere&rsquos no way I would have run all around New York if I hadn&rsquot been doing it for Children International!&rdquo she says with a smile.

Teen volunteer
One fateful day when she was 19, Gibson was driving by a local Catholic home for boys. Remembering that her own father had been a foster child, she turned her car around, parked, went inside and asked what she could do as a volunteer.

&ldquoI began taking some of the kids out on weekends bowling, or to Burger King, and family holidays,&rdquo she says. &ldquoI&rsquod also take some musically inclined kids into the studio with me.&rdquo

About the same time, Gibson saw an ad for Children International in Seventeen magazine, a publication that featured her regularly in those days. She showed it to her manager and asked that a check be sent to sponsor a couple of needy children in the Philippines&mdashthen three, then four.

A year later, when she toured in Southeast Asia, she got to meet &ldquoher&rdquo sponsored kids, an experience that made a life-changing impression. &ldquoIt was amazing. They came to my hotel and had a room-service hamburger with me,&rdquo she says. &ldquoYou would have thought it was the feast of all feasts.&rdquo

Fighting for her cause
In 2011, after more than 20 years of check-writing, Gibson became the official spokeswoman for Children International, a 76-year-old organization based in Kansas City, Mo., that assists children and their families struggling in poverty around the world.

&ldquoShe&rsquos supported us since 1989, and she repeatedly demonstrates her capacity for giving back,&rdquo says Jim Cook, president and CEO of Children International. &ldquoWe&rsquore fortunate to have her.&rdquo

&ldquoIt&rsquos very easy for us to be sitting in our air-conditioned homes and forgetting that places exist where children are putting on the same dirty clothes every day,&rdquo Gibson says.

Donald Trump Jr., who assists his famous father each week on Celebrity Apprentice in deciding which team wins each competition, discovered that Gibson was a real fighter for her cause, for which her efforts raised $50,000.

&ldquoDebbie&rsquos passion for charity was only outdone by her passion for music,&rdquo Trump Jr. says.

Gibson also helps children through her Gibson Girl Foundation, a nonprofit organization that &ldquohelps kids make the music that&rsquos in their hearts&rdquo by providing music education opportunities to underprivileged children. &ldquoIt really is amazing how the arts give kids confidence,&rdquo she says.

Beyond the music
As for confidence, she&rsquos gained quite a bit of it herself through a lifetime of experience since her debut album, Out of the Blue, went triple platinum, selling 3 million copies before she graduated from high school. The success of her infectious radio singles and accompanying music videos for &ldquoOnly In My Dreams,&rdquo &ldquoShake Your Love,&rdquo &ldquoLost In Your Eyes&rdquo and &ldquoElectric Youth&rdquo sparked a teen fashion explosion of side ponytails, crimped hair and tight rolled-up jeans. Revlon and Natural Wonder launched perfume and cosmetics lines under Gibson&rsquos name.

As the wave of teen pop stardom began to recede, she headed to the stage, appearing on Broadway in Les Misèrables and Grease, later starring in American and British productions of Funny Girl, Cinderella, Chicago, Cabaret and The King and I. She also dabbled in movies. Last year, she thrilled audiences in a nationwide reunion tour with fellow &rsquo80s teen pop princess Tiffany.

While Gibson has never married, she is in a four-year relationship with Dr. Rutledge Taylor, a preventive medicine doctor, who says Gibson &ldquomeans what she says and says what she means. Someone like that cultivates integrity and truthfulness in others.&rdquo

Gibson says she&rsquos moved back full-circle to music, writing songs like she used to do in her bedroom, tunes that take her back to her parents&rsquo Long Island garage. &ldquoI&rsquove been writing the deepest songs that I&rsquove written in many years,&rdquo she says. She expects to release a new single this spring and a new album by the end of the year.

&ldquoI recently got a call to audition for a sitcom, and there was a time that I would have loved to,&rdquo she says. &ldquoBut I thought, &lsquoWhy would I get out of bed every morning to do that?&rsquo It just didn&rsquot do it for me. If I don&rsquot feel something 150 percent, I don&rsquot do it.&rdquo

Just like helping others&mdashshe does it because she feels it, 150 percent.

&ldquoI know I&rsquom very blessed, and very lucky,&rdquo she says. &ldquoI will always have something extra to give. People need to know that all people are equal, and never without all they need&mdashnamely love.&rdquo

Debbie Gibson

Debbie Gibson emerged in the late 80&rsquos alongside Tiffany and New Kids On The Block to become one of the big stars of that era&rsquos teen-pop boom. However, Gibson was much more than just a talented singer. She was also an excellent songwriter and producer and put these skills to good use on her albums. The result was a string of hits that sold by the millions and made Gibson internationally famous before she reached age twenty.

Gibson was a musical prodigy: She wrote her first song at age six and won a songwriting contest at age twelve. By the time she was fifteen, she had learned to play a variety of instruments and had recorded 100 of her own songs. She got a recording contract before she was out of high school and released Out Of The Blue in 1987. Gibson wrote the majority of the album&rsquos songs as well as producing a few of them, and the result was a goldmine of hits.

&ldquoShake Your Love&rdquo and &ldquoOnly In My Dreams&rdquo were bubbly dance-pop tunes that became Top-5 hits. The title track, an uptempo love song, also went Top-5. However, the biggest hit was a heartbroken ballad called &ldquoFoolish Beat.&rdquo It topped the charts, making Debbie Gibson the youngest artist ever to write, produce and perform a #1 hit. Meanwhile, Out of The Blue became an international success and sold over five million copies.

Gibson returned in 1989 with Electric Youth. This album went to #1 for five weeks and ultimately went triple-platinum. It also scored a multitude of hit singles. The album&rsquos title song, a youth anthem with a dynamic, danceable sound, became a #11 single. &ldquoLost In Your Eyes&rdquo was a dreamy, swooning ballad that gave Gibson her second #1 hit. &ldquoNo More Rhyme&rdquo gave the album a third smash single when it hit the Top-20. Gibson released her third album, Anything Is Possible, in 1990. The album's title track, co-produced by former Supremes producer Lamont Dozier, went into the Top-30.

In 1991, Debbie Gibson appeared on Beverly Hills 90210. The next year, she moved into musical theater by playing &ldquoEponine&rdquo in the Broadway musical Les Miserables. Gibson returned to recording in 1993 with Body In Soul, a set that showed her moving from teen-pop into a more adult-contemporary sound. She also took the role of Sandy in a hit London revival of the musical Grease. In 1995, Gibson showed her diversity by releasing Think With Your Heart, a lush album featuring a 44-piece orchestra, and then switching gears for a cameo on an album by punk legends the Circle Jerks.

Currently, Debbie Gibson is an in-demand performer in the musical theater world. Her recent credits include leading roles in Beauty and the Beast and Gypsy as well as a stint as the Narrator for a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She also continues to release albums like Deborah Gibson and Moonchild on her own label, Espiritu Records. Though she has already had a career&rsquos worth of success, it&rsquos clear that Debbie Gibson is only getting started.


Perhaps the title of Debbie Gibson`s second smash album, ''Electric Youth,'' should be ''Eclectic Youth.'' It would be an apt description of this teenage phenomenon. After all, the Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter/producer/

multi-instrumentalist already has generated enough power to fuel several careers-and she`s still only 18.

But then, she has been at it longer than most. She asked for her first guitar at age 2 and began playing piano at 4. In 1983, at the ripe old age of 12, she won a national radio songwriting competition, and, with her prize of a brand new synthesizer, promptly wrote ''Only In My Dreams.''

At 16, she signed with Atlantic Records, and ''Only In My Dreams'' became her first Top 5 hit. By June last year, Gibson had added another four Top 5 singles to her list of achievements and had become the youngest artist in the history of pop music to write, perform and produce a No. 1 single, ''Foolish Beat.'' Since then, the singer has followed her multi-platinum debut album,

''Out Of The Blue,'' with the even more successful ''Electric Youth'' LP, which has already spawned another No. 1 smash, ''Lost In Your Eyes.''

''I have to pinch myself occasionally to make sure it`s all really happening,'' laughs Gibson, who will appear at Alpine Valley Sunday and at Poplar Creek Monday. She`s sitting curled up on a large sofa in a large hotel suite on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. ''I mean, this is exactly what I always wanted to happen in my career and life, but last night-Wow! That was something else.''

The ''something else'' Gibson is refering to turns out to be the prestigious ASCAP Awards, and no wonder she`s still flushed from the previous evening`s festivities-the singer tied with Bruce Springsteen for Writer of the Year. In fact, as she talks excitedly about the event and the honor, Gibson comes across as more like a young fan than an accomplished artist in her own right, an impression further underscored by her fresh-faced appearance. Wearing a simple T-shirt, pedal-pushers, some kitschy jewelry, no shoes and no make up, she could pass for 14 as she breathlessly describes the thrill of giving The Boss a run for his money in the songwriting department.

But don`t be fooled by Gibson`s wide-eyed enthusiasm. Underneath her casual youthfulness lies a very determined and ambitious young lady who`s not afraid to speak her mind and judge her own worth. Ask her if she`s surprised at how quickly she has become successful, and she shakes her head

''I don`t feel it was quick, and I was always very confident. I never doubted myself for a minute. That`s part of the reason I`ve gotten to this point,'' says Gibson matter-of-factly.

But she also admits that ''it isn`t always easy being a teenage star, mainly because people assume, `cause you`re young, you`re packaged by other people and it`s hard to get respect. I mean, an adult can write a song like

`How Will I Know` for Whitney Houston, which is fun and upbeat. But if I write one along those lines, like `Out of the Blue,` suddenly the reaction is, `It`s young, it`s young.`

''I run into that problem quite often,'' she sighs, with exasperation.

''I try to write for other people and my songs are always turned down. I sent `Who Loves Ya Baby?` from the new album to Olivia Newton-John, and `Over the Wall` to Madonna, but nothing happened, although I can see that `Over The Wall` didn`t quite fit into her new album. And then I sent a ballad to Patti Labelle, but she was looking for an upbeat song. I wrote it older, but I wouldn`t sing it because the lyrics are too old for me. I don`t want to come off older than I really am, or start sounding pretentious.''

There`s little danger of that happening in the immediate future. Despite her enormous success, Gibson still lives at home with her parents and three sisters in Merrick, N.Y., where, she insists, she`s not given any special treatment. ''I`m not a pampered princess, I help with the housework. Anyway, why should I rush off and get my own place when I`m very happy there?'' she says. ''Now that I`m on the road and surrounded by strangers so often, it just feels great to get back home and be with my family.

''Do I ever feel I missed out on my childhood because of my career? Not really,'' says Gibson. ''I think I experienced what everyone experiences, and then some! I purposely stayed in school and didn`t get a tutor, even though it was difficult trying to do that and my music, because I wanted to go through high school and do all the typical things like everyone else. So I don`t think I grew up too soon.

`It`s funny, because on the business side, since I was 5, I`ve always been very disciplined and organized. I used to practice piano for three hours a day, but I loved it. In fact, the easiest way for my Mom to get me to clean my room was to threaten to cancel my piano lessons. But I`d also love to hang out with all my girlfriends and do stuff like trade stickers with them or talk about boys or whatever-all the usual things. So the personal side of me was always the right age, or even younger, I think.''

Gibson stops and suddenly pulls a funny face. ''In fact, that whole side of me is a mess,'' she laughs. ''That`s why I don`t want to get my own place yet. God, I can`t picture having to deal with all the cooking and cleaning. I cook horribly, and I`m just not ready for all that yet. I`m still very young in that sense, I think.

''Fortunately my family is incredibly supportive,'' she continues. ''My mother manages me, and my older sister, Karen, now works for Atlantic Records, handling my publishing, so at the ASCAP Awards, we both went up for the awards, so it`s a real family affair. It`s pretty funny, `cause we look alike, and Karen arrived before I did, and all the photographers rushed over and started taking pictures, and the more she said, `I`m not Debbie!` the more pictures they took,'' laughs Gibson, relishing the joke.

Predictably, Gibson`s squeaky-clean image and huge success have made her a target among her peers. Satirist Mojo Nixon recently released the provocatively titled song ''Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child,'' with an accompanying video starring a bewigged Winona Ryder as the expectant singer.

Gibson appears to take such dubious homages in her stride. ''The great thing is that People magazine now wants me to review his album,'' she announces with a glint in her eye. ''That`s what I call revenge! But I have a sense of humor about it, and in a sense, it`s flattering that he uses my name and obviously expects everyone to know who I am. But what he says isn`t too funny. In Rolling Stone, he accused me of being an uptight white girl. But, whatever. The only thing I really don`t like about it is that I`ve had some friends come up to me and say, `The little girl around the block asked me if you really are pregnant.` And I go, `Oh God, it`s that song haunting me!` So I`m going to definitely review his album now.

''I don`t worry much about my image,'' continues Gibson. ''I really don`t. I`m just me. I think I still come across as hip. Even if you look at someone like Michael Jackson, he`s totally clean-cut, but people don`t see it because he has a black attitude in his songs.

''I certainly don`t feel the need to be sexier,'' she stresses. ''I think sexy young blondes are like a dime-a-dozen. They don`t get any respect. They`re good for little boys to hang on their walls. I definitely don`t want to be that. In my opinion, getting back to the image thing, I don`t have any respect for artists in 1989 who promote sex, drugs and violence. I mean, that`s all we need right now, right? Obviously, everyone describes me as wholesome and clean-cut, and sometimes it`s sarcastic, but I`d rather be called that than `teen-sex-queen` or some label like that.''

Gibson is also quick to defuse any talk of competition between her and other teen artists, such as Tiffany. ''I guess the charts are like one big competition, but every artist is unique and has their own audience and appeal, so it`s pretty silly when you look at the Grammys and stuff like that,'' she points out. ''How could you compare a 40-year-old R & B singer with an 18-year-old pop singer? It`s like apples and oranges. Actually, I like Tiffany`s second album a lot, but that whole conflict with her mother kind of left a bad taste in people`s mouths and I don`t think the record`s getting enough attention, and it`s really good.

''It`s a shame they`re always comparing us and saying she doesn`t write her own songs, because neither does Whitney Houston, but they don`t ask her that,'' notes Gibson. ''They only ask Tiffany because we`re the same age. It`s kind of like the Brat Pack thing. Even when Rolling Stone reviewed our albums, they had to do it together. God, give us a break!''

Gibson`s aversion to being labeled and pigeon-holed is entirely understandable when she starts talking about her plans for the future. ''I don`t want to just be a singer and a songwriter,'' she says confidently. ''I want to produce other artists, and also act in films, and perhaps direct eventually. I`ve already written a screenplay, and I`m working on some other ideas.''

In fact, Gibson already is set to star in her film debut later this year. ''I can`t tell you what it`s called, but it`s set in the `60s and there`s lots of dancing and music, though it`s not really a musical,'' she reports.

''I`ll also be writing the music for it, which is great. I have a lot of songs that are in the `50s and `60s style, and I`ve been planning to make a whole album in that era, so this film is the perfect vehicle for them.

''You know, the `50s is definitely my favorite era,'' adds Gibson, who recently put her money where her mouth is and bought a `57 Ford Fairlane-''my only big extravagance so far,'' she giggles. ''I`m very drawn to that whole period. Everything was so optimistic and fun and upbeat. Even the cars.

''Now, everyone wants to drive around in these slick, little cars, and people keep telling me I should buy a new Mercedes, but, you know, I just can`t see spending $70,000 on a car that isn`t a Ford Fairlane,'' says Gibson earnestly.

''I love those big, wide, roomy American cars with huge fins and the whole thing of drive-ins and soda shops. I love all that stuff. You know one of my favorite things to do? Pick up all my friends and drive to a burger place in the Ford. You can`t have a lot more fun that that.''

Debbie Gibson Turns 50: A Former Teen Pop Star Gives Advice to Her Younger Self

The year was 1987. An unknown 16-year-old Long Island girl named Debbie Gibson released her first pop album, entitled Out of the Blue. It became a worldwide hit, spawning five hit singles and selling more than five million copies.

Gibson even made music history: the chart-topping "Foolish Beat" made her the youngest female artist to write, produce and perform a No. 1 single – a record that endures today.

During the late 1980s, Debbie Gibson became a teen sensation, gracing magazine covers and making countless TV appearances. (She was even on The Hollywood Squares, which was a very big deal at the time.)

Her follow-up album, Electric Youth, went straight to the top and spawned three hit singles, including the chart-topping "Lost in Your Eyes," which spent three weeks at No. 1. As Gibson matured and her teen pop status faded, she performed on Broadway and acted in several TV movies, all the while continuing to put out new music.

Gibson turns 50 on Monday. To celebrate her milestone year, she reflects back on advice she would give her teen self. Here are her three most salient pieces of advice.

Ron Galella, Ltd/WireImage Debbie Gibson in 1989

1. Stop Worrying You Don't Have to Be Perfect

"If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to worry less and enjoy more," Gibson tells PEOPLE. "I always was a perfectionist to a fault, especially in preparing for live shows. As I've evolved, I've learned what we consider the imperfections are actually what make us unique and what makes a one-of-a-kind live performance!"

2. Follow Your Gut

"Always trust your instincts," Gibson says she would tell her younger self. "Follow them in music, in love and in health. Nobody knows what's best for you better than you!"

3. Remember: You're a Bad Liar!

"Don't cheat at Pictionary," she laughs. "You know you're a bad liar and will end up confessing and blowing it for the whole team!"

What's next for Gibson? She will appear on Lucifer this season on a musical episode entitled "Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam." She is playing Shelly Bitner, a controlling helicopter mom who oversees every aspect of her teenage son's life.

Watch the video: Debbie Gibson - Electric Youth Official Music Video (May 2022).