Debbie Gibson was my full-time occupation for six years. In that time, I saw her emerge as a huge star in the late ’80s. She was only 17 when she released her triple platinum debut album Out of the Blue. Now 48, she is about to hit the road on her MixTape Tour.
The album contained her hit song “Foolish Beat,” which made her the youngest, female artist to write, produce and perform a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 song. The record still stands to this day.
Debbie Gibson’s double-platinum second album Electric Youth in 1989, included another No. 1 hit, “Lost in Your Eyes.”
Unlike today’s pop stars, Gibson also has another distinction. She is the only songwriter on every one of her singles that reached the Top 20 on the charts.
Debbie Gibson was recognized by ASCAP as Songwriter of the Year along with Bruce Springsteen in 1989.
In 2006, Gibson reached No. 24 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart with “Say Goodbye,” a duet with Jordan Knight. In 2017, she validated her relevance, again, with her highest-charting hit, “I Am Peaceman,” in 25 years. It was a duet with Sir Ivan.
Gibson has also starred on Broadway and touring musicals including playing Eponine in Les Misérables and Sandy in Grease. She also has independent film and television credits to her name.
She was truly a memorable and ground-breaking project for which the memories I have are golden. Her then-manager hired me almost a full year before anything was released.
In that time, I had the opportunity to devise the perfect PR plan. And, most assuredly, the media was totally responsive. It was a ground-breaking project for me, which I continually refer back to in my PR practice today.
She remains a friend and a true talent. As part of the Mix Tape Tour, headlined by New Kids On The Block, I thought I’d reminisce about those golden years with her.
And, truth be told, it could well happen for her all over again.
TheImproper reached her by phone at her home in Las Vegas.
IM: How did the MixTape tour come about?
Gibson: In a true “Life imitating art” moment, I was on set for my Hallmark movie “Wedding of Dreams” and NKOTB’s manager called my manager Heather about the tour the same day we were filming the scene where my character, also named “Debbie” was asked to join a big summer tour. So….script your life people! It works! I hear the idea had been floating around for a while and this was the “dream lineup” which I was so honored to hear. It was a very quick YES!
IM: I well remember seeing the New Kids at Westbury many, many years ago. Did you ever think back then, you’d like to tour with them?
Gibson: They kind of belonged to Tiffany (laughs) so, I didn’t think so but am SO thrilled this has come about. I am a fan of the “boys” for their talent, integrity, and stamina to persevere and reinvent themselves over the years. They have managed to stay authentic and always relevant which is tricky to do.
IM: Are you writing new material?
Gibson: YES! I am always writing but, I got a bit sidelined temporarily from recording and touring because of illness but I have spent the last half a year or so laying new material down and I can honestly say that this is the start of a brand new chapter. It is SO exciting!
IM: What are you listening too these days?
Gibson: Ooooh…. I am literally listening to the Pop Before it Breaks station right now because I love hearing and picking hits before they actually become hits. I am OBSESSED with the song “Lost on You” by Laura Pergolizzi otherwise known as LP. I also love young talent like Troye Sivan and Shawn Mendes. I am a huge Sia fan and also Panic at the Disco. The list goes on and on. I always appreciate people saying that my era of music was the best but I think we all stay young and modern by embracing the fantastically talented and creative artist emerging. Oh… I love Halsey too. I am a true POP fan!
IM: We stopped working together right before the Anything Is Possible album … which I thought was just terrific.
Gibson: Awwww…. thank you. I think because we remained close over the years and I enlisted your help for many one off projects, I loved that album too because it was a glimpse into an honest transition from childhood to adulthood! And… Lamont Dozier….come ON!
IM: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Gibson: Well, way before the Oscar win I had Mark Ronson on my shortlist ! Sia, Charlie Puth, Justin Tranter, Kyle Kelso and Mike Shimshack….to name a few ! I’ve been loving working with Lars of Deekay Music who I met doing the NKOTB track 80’s “Baby.”
IM: I remember one time in LA, introducing you to Jeff Lynne at Bernie Taupin’s restaurant Cicada … who I think would still be a great producer for you.
Gibson: I love ELO! I will have to look him up to see what he has been doing currently. I am always up for a great collaboration!
IM: Where are you based these days.
Gibson: Las Vegas. I love it. The sun is always shining Great food and great shows!
IM: How many dates in the MixTape tour?
Gibson: 55 Shows in 53 cities. Come hang out on the bus!
IM: I hope to see you at Nassau Coliseum.
Gibson: You will for sure! Can’t wait ! Saw Billy Joel there all throughout my childhood so it always holds special memories. Galleria Pizza used to deliver pizzas there during our tour rehearsals. We may have to do that again!