Debbie Gibson is from a time when MTV actually played videos. At just 16, she hit the big time with her debut album Out of the Blue, which yielded four top 10 singles, Foolish Beat, Only in My Dreams, Shake Your Love, and Out of the Blue.
Gibson’s 1988 sophomore album, Electric Youth, didn’t disappoint, either, scoring the Long Islander her second No. 1 hit with Lost in Your Eyes.
She has continued to write, record, perform as well as tackle reality TV with a recent appearance on Celebrity Apprentice.
On Saturday she performs at Boca Raton’s Sunset Cove Amphitheater at the 1st Annual 80’s Fest, an all day celebration of the unforgettable era. We caught up with the Las Vegas resident, 42, who will take the stage around 8 p.m.
How do you keep looking and sounding so great?
In the last few years I’ve actually been a little less disciplined because I was so overly disciplined my whole life. I thought there has to be a slightly easier way. I used to have no personal life or where somebody had to fit into my professional routine. I thought, That is no way to live. I don’t want to be the lonely old pop singer that has birds and cats and no man and no life other than the stage. You kind of let the pendulum swing the other way a bit. Some nights may be a little rough, but I’m experimenting with that because I want to have a balanced life.
How long where you in the business before all of your success?
I was one of these kid actors who was in all the New York theater unions. I was doing theater, commercials, I sang at the Metropolitan in the children’s chorus from age 8-11 and a little known fact Sarah Jessica Parker was in that at the same time and she had just done “Annie”. I got to meet many people at a young age. I did all of that before anyone ever heard “Only In My Dreams”. I was writing and demoing songs from age 12-16.
What was it like to have all that fame so young?
No one was doing that at that age back then. If you go back and look at the cover of the single for Only in My Dreams, I look older then than I do now. That was by design of the record company because kids weren’t accepted in the music industry. They wanted to maybe trick people into thinking I was in my 20s. I had the layered hair, pouty lipstick. I wasn’t smiling, I wasn’t dressed cutesy. They did that purposely. And now it is like: ‘How young and cute can we find now?’ It was very different back then.
Tell us about the show. What can the fans expect?
I pretty much give the people what they want. They’re there to see the hits. But with that being said, there are always surprises. I do a big really, really fun medley of my favorite ’80s covers, and I got the dancers. It is a lot of fun. But when there is a keyboard on stage, anything goes. I am very interactive with the audience.