Debbie Gibson Singer. Songwriter. Musician. Producer. Actress. Dancer.
Debbie Gibson exploded onto the pop music scene at 16 and instantly became the youngest artist to write, produce and perform a #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, with her song “Foolish Beat” – a title she still holds today. After three consecutive albums, world tours and selling more than 16 million albums, she starred in 17 musicals in 17 years, from Broadway to the West End. From singer, songwriter and musician to actress and dancer, Gibson continues to perform and show her talent as a true entertainer.
Debbie Gibson Interview
- How are the busy career and life of Debbie Gibson these days?
It is on a fabulous upswing after some health challenges. I don’t get sidelined for long though and I am feeling super creative and happy!
- Where did you find the idea for the Hallmark original movie “Summer of Dreams” and how long have you been working on it?
The seed came to me about 6 years ago after doing my Electric Youth music mentoring programs. I started thinking, what if I couldn’t perform anymore? Could I find fulfillment behind the scenes? Luckily, I was not faced with that dilemma in real life. I had just come off a run at Harrah’s of my one woman show “Pop Goes Broadway” literally weeks before launching the camp and went right into “The King and I” weeks after! But – the answer was yes. Working behind the scenes is a different kind of gratification. What others view as “success,” and what we come to view as “success,” is not always the quintessential definition. Success is loving what you do and being at peace and fulfilled in life. For me, it never had to do with perception or money or what chart position I am holding.
- The new song “Wonderland” which we can find on http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/ is beautifully written and fits the movie “Summer Of Dreams” perfectly. How long did it take for you to get the ideas and see the song come to life?
I had that idea for the hook floating around and when I realized I could take it in the thematic direction of the movie I expounded on it. Songs for me pour in quickly. They are “channeled.” I don’t belabor over them. Later I go back and fine tune, and I recently added a second verse to make it full length but even that came to me in the wee hours of the morning when I was half asleep. I am often jumping up out of bed to lay something down. I am glad to hear you like the song!
- Being an actress versus being a musician on tour: Would you say the same work ethic applies? Do you prefer one or the other? Why?
Yes to the work ethic thing. Any successful show biz person makes it look easy but there is a tremendous amount of work and discipline that goes into it all. As a for instance, after so many years of needing to keep my voice healthy on the road, I found it challenging to keep my speaking voice healthy on set. There needs to be a book dedicated to that or maybe there is (laughs) or my acting teacher Howard Fine needs to offer that course because you are constantly working then changing clothes quickly, eating on the go, then laying down for a catnap and it goes on and on all day. I love that I feel like a newbie in the film genre. I am learning so much every minute. I can self-produce vocals in the studio but I have no idea how to gauge whether or not I am over acting or pushing in spots. I DO know when something drops in and is totally real because it is an undeniable feeling and very exciting. But, it is two different energies. One is a sprint – meaning a concert – but, the sprints are strung together to become a marathon, and the film process is more of a marathon. I would love to continue to perform in both mediums though stage is my home base!
- Keeping up on social media and everyday life stuff: How do you manage your time in a day or even in a week?
Thank God I am not 20 so my life and career don’t depend on social media! I try to balance work and play. I am at my best when I have a disciplined schedule though these days my life is all over the place, which is a blessing and a curse. It is a luxury to be able to make most of my own schedule but can leave me feeling like a feather in the wind! It is always interesting…never the same day twice!
- How important are music videos in the industry today? How do they compare to videos from 20 years ago?
That is a great question. I still think visual art is important. Look at what Sia has done with the medium. She was able to so beautifully step aside and let the visuals for her art speak for her. I do think overall though they were more exciting 20 years ago because everything had not been seen already. It is hard to do something surprising. Is there ever going to be a moment again in history where people gather round their television set like they did when Thriller premiered? I don’t think so!
- In your career you have played with great musicians. What would be your greatest memories and achievements until now?
Ahhhh, sharing the stage with Billy Joel and Elton John at the same time at MSG ranks as top of the list forever! I also got to duet live with Michael Bolton, which was thrilling because that man can SANG! Winning ASCAP Songwriter of the year and tying with Bruce Springsteen was surreal. Starring on Broadway and in The West End were childhood dreams. I am a lucky gal!
- What goals as a musician have you yet to achieve?
To have a round two that is more badass than round one!
- Do you have any more movie projects in mind?
I do! I have some ideas “percolating” that I am quietly cultivating as well as two musicals in the works. FlunkyTown with Jimmy Van Patten and Skirts with Hilary Carlip and Katie Ford. Hamilton was a game changer. Broadway audiences are starving for new original work.
- Where do you see music in general going in 20 years from now?
Well, I always get people that say “music was so much better back when you started.” I disagree! That was then, and the music had a purity and simplicity back then, but I am a huge fan of Sia, Kygo, Nick Jonas, Shawn Mendes and Ella Henderson. Usher never disappoints, Neither does Eminem, and I would still love to write some hooks for him because my current writing style is haunting and melodic and can be taken in the direction of a David Foster production or the melodies can be placed over Urban beats and live in that way. But, my point is I love the current musical landscape. I am a country fan too… Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood. I recently saw Craig Wayne Boyd from The Voice who rocked it! There is such innovative and melodic stuff out there. And, have you heard Disturbed’s “The Sound of Silence”? Proof that audiences still crave traditional melody and story and great lyrics but music fans are open to hearing the classics in a newly interpreted way. I hope that in 20 years music keeps progressing in the same way it has in the last 20 years because I am so not disappointed in the way things are going!