Debbie Gibson is not returning to the stage “out of the blue” with her new tour, even though it has been 11 years since her last album.
The pop icon has been performing non-stop ever since, taking on “Dancing with the Stars,” and producing and starring in films for the Hallmark channel.
She’s stunned audiences in 17 musicals in 17 years and delighted dedicated “Debheads” with a residency in Las Vegas.
“The Body Remembers” tour celebrates 35 years in a career that began on Long Island when her 1987 debut album, Out of the Blue, went triple-platinum at the age of 16.
Her single, “Foolish Beat,” made her the youngest artist to write, produce and perform a No. 1 track on the Billboard Hot 100.
She has sold more than 16 million albums worldwide and continues to build on her fan base with her latest album.
Ahead of her return to her roots with a tour stop at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts on June 11th, she spoke with The New York Independent about her growth as a performer, the creation of a personal album and the excitement of touring again.
New York Independent: The Body Remembers, your tenth studio album, boasts powerful anthems and beautiful music. What was your main motivation in creating it?
Debbie Gibson:I just write what I’m feeling and often take a mood or challenging situation I am in and flip it to be motivational and inspirational during the course of a song.
NYI: What sentiment and emotion do you hope fans will take away from the many layers of the album?
DG: I hope they will feel less alone in their experiences and emotions. I also wish for them the same feeling of empowerment that I get having processed emotions and landing on my feet after challenging life moments.
NYI: The Body Remembers allows for such a phenomenal way to get back on tour because of its energy and thoughtfulness. What do you enjoy most about being on the road?
DG:: Connecting with people through music and watching my community of fans connecting on their own with each other. It is my favorite thing to observe from the sidelines. I also recently got my own RV which is more like a mini tour bus, so this tour being its maiden voyage is quite profound and fun! I even do a bit of driving which really feeds my independent spirit.
NYI: How have music and the entertainment industry changed since your last album eleven years ago?
DG: Social media keeps everyone more connected than ever, and that connection has allowed me to really take the reins and do things on my own terms. [There is] more risk, but also the most gratifying rewards, because the journey with my team is all about our personal victories and keeping my vision pure and getting the music directly to the people….and we’re doing it!
NYI: How do you feel you have changed most as an artist?
DG: I am in many ways the artist I’ve always been-one who is authentic and takes on musical risks. But maybe because I am so clear and confident in who I am as an artist, it has allowed me to be more collaborative. The collaborations on this album with Fred Coury, Sean Thomas, DJ Tracy Young, Ashba, and on and on, have opened up new worlds for me, and the feeling of inclusiveness shows through in the spirit of the music.
NYI: I think that one of the reasons people enjoy your shows so much is that there is theatricality in it. How would you like to see yourself return to theater?
DG: I do eventually [want to return], but right now I am in rock ‘n roll mode and am staying here for a minute. I do want to do more theater and especially to create, compose and produce in the theater world.
NYI: Long Islanders are thrilled to have you back as you stop in Patchogue. What comes to mind if you were to choose a moment that was seminal to you in growing up in the area?
DG: Seeing Liberace at Westbury Music Fair, taking piano lessons from the late, great Morton Estrin (who taught my idol Billy Joel), doing community theater at The Bellmore Jewish Center, Hofstra, Town of Hempstead Teen Repertory Theater…the list goes on and on. Long Island fed my love for the arts in a way nowhere else could have. My parents helped my sisters and me take full advantage of all Long Island had to offer us as creative young people!
NYI: By what will fans be most surprised when they see you in concert?
DG: My diehard Debheads know all the places I go in a live show, but those who have not seen me in a while may be surprised by the journey we will all take from the highly choreographed to the super spontaneous acoustic and unplanned moments!
NYI: It is incredibly special that you have had such a great creative team by your side for so many years, some dating back to your childhood in Merrick. What is the most fulfilling aspect of preserving these relationships?
DG: My relationships are everything to me. It makes the journey so much sweeter onstage and off. Heather Moore, my manager, is a Long Island resident and has been rolling up her sleeves for over a decade leading up to this moment. She is my partner in crime. We are Thelma and Louise!
My whole band and crew are incredible and so many of us have history. Eddie Bennett and I met 20 years ago doing [Broadway’s] Chicago and Buddy Casimano and I went to Calhoun High School together and he has been with me all the way from Joey’s Place in Clifton, New Jersey to Wembley Stadium! We have all covered a lot of ground together and they continue to show up for me in ways that keep me in a continual state of gratitude.
NYI: What would you like to see yourself doing when your tour comes to its conclusion in a few weeks?
DG: I just finished my first holiday album in 35 years which includes a duet with two of my all time favorite Joes….Joe McIntyre [of New Kids on the Block] and my Dad. There will be lots of things surrounding promoting it later this year as well as other projects in the television and film worlds in the works.
NYI: You’re very open with your fans. Is there something that they would still be surprised to learn about you?
DG: I was a wannabe magician as a kid! I used to spend all my allowance at the magic store. I played a magician’s assistant in The Nassau Community College holiday show and got hooked. It’s also where I learned to juggle which I do often as a stress reliever!
To purchase tickets for a stop on Debbie Gibson’s The Body Remembers tour visit debbiegibsonofficial.com/events/.