The ‘80s teen pop princess talks to xinmsn about posing nude for Playboy magazine, her thoughts on settling down and thinks Lady Gaga has got guts
Text and Photos: Joyce J. Chansingh
Sitting across the table from me dressed in a grey top with a speck of sequined sparkle and black leggings is one-time teen pop sensation Debbie Gibson; she is an icon without a doubt. And you forgot how cute she was now that she’s all grown up.
Truth is, at 40, Debbie looks healthy, happy and fabulous. Above all, that fun-loving distinctiveness of Debbie is unmistakable.
Indeed, the Electric Youth singer just wants to have fun.
“I’m never like socially inhibited and I’m just out to have a good time!” says Debbie who’s in Singapore to perform at Retrolicious, the MediaCorp Class95FM anniversary concert as well as be a guest judge on last night’s One Moment of Glory on Channel 5.
Long before X Factor or American Idol came along, 80s pop princess Deborah Ann “Debbie” Gibson has already exploded into the music scene at the tender age of 16 with a hugely successful showbiz career.
With a string of hits like Only In My Dreams, Foolish Beat, Electric Youth and Lost In Your Eyes, the American singer-songwriter quickly became the youngest artist to write, produce and perform a No. 1 single – Foolish Beat – on the Billboard charts, a record that she still holds to date.
A truly talented artist, Debbie – who’s also a Broadway performer, having acted in productions of Les Miserables, Chicago and The King And I – has been keeping herself busy appearing on TV variety shows and starting a youth camp called Camp Electric Youth.
Fans would be thrilled to know the singer-songwriter is currently working on a new album for release later this year and an upcoming movie where she co-stars with fellow ’80s teen sensation Tiffany in a Syfy movie Mega Python vs Gatoroid set to be released in 2011.
On posing for Playboy
In 2005, Debbie Gibson who’s always maintained a squeaky-clean pop star image since her showbiz debut appeared in the March issue of Playboy magazine.
Citing the experience as “a turning point” in her life, Debbie agreed to pose in an effort “to brave her own perception and other people’s perception of her image”.
“I’m so aware that I boxed myself into a corner with the perception that I started as a teenage performer and so I’d never do this or never do that. I was almost preaching about it.’
“I know I’m putting myself out there to be critcized potentially but it’s something that I feel good about it. It was a big thing for me.”
On marriage and motherhood
Debbie who’s currently in a relationship is in no hurry to tie the knot or become a mother despite saying in an interview years ago that she’d like to have many kids.
“I know! It’s funny because at 18 or 19 years old, I’d have thought by 30 I’ll be living in a ranch and raising six kids.”
“When you are younger obviously you’ve this vision of some timeline you are supposed to live by. Honestly I’m very happy with my life the way it is now. I love my man and I may end up having a kid or two, may get married, may not? No idea.”
Describing her two-and-a-half-years relationship with Dr. Taylor Rutledge, 40, as “work-in-progress”, Debbie doesn’t believe the piece of paper or marriage ceremony makes a relationship any stronger. In fact she “feels more married already than a lot of my married friends”.
On Lady Gaga
“She’s got guts and she’s got the talent to back it up, and she knows that,” said Debbie when asked of her thoughts on recent pop idols especially of Lady Gaga’s musical styles and influences.
“And that’s what makes her so amazing. If she were to come up with all these beautiful images but with no goods to back it up, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Admittedly, the veteran performer cited Sheryl Crow and Tina Turner as her all-time favourite singers.
“What works for me to get my attention is really just someone standing there and sing.
“Then again, an artiste like Lady Gaga, she’s in a category of her own. She has no rivals and I applaud her.”
Retrolicious happens on Oct 9, 8pm, at the Fort Canning Park. Tickets at $95 from Sistic.