The girl just wants to have fun

Deborah Gibson on Tiffany, teenage stress and enjoying life now
by Christopher Toh
05:55 AM Sep 27, 2010

It’s taken a while, but ’80s pop princess Deborah Ann “Debbie” Gibson is finally making her way back to Singapore. Along with fellow ’80s pop music icon Rick Astley and Johnny Hates Jazz, Gibson will be performing here at the MediaCorp Class 95FM anniversary concert called Retrolicious. And Gibson fans old enough are happy they get to see her again.

“I remember going to her concert at the NUS (National University of Singapore) sometime back in the ’90s,” said Wong Jin, 30.

“I recently saw a video of her on YouTube,”

said Jo Lim, 33. “She still looks good.”

According to Erina Cook, Class 95’s senior programme director, picking ’80s artistes was a no-brainer. “The music of the ’80s is a big staple for our Class 95 listeners. This being our 20th year, what better way to celebrate such a milestone with a concert reliving the best of the ’80s?” she said. “We’re confident that it’ll be an ’80s festival that people will remember for a long time.”

(According to the station, there will be a “Best Dressed” and “Retro Dance-Off” competition as well.)

Meantime, Gibson said she was more than happy to be back. (She was previously slated to star in a musical here but had to cancel.) “I’ve grown a lot since I’ve last performed in Singapore. The audience can expect a strong performance, a lot of interaction as I love my fans, and first and foremost a lot of FUN! Oh, and a great costume, of course!” she wrote in an email interview.

Back in the ’80s, Gibson had a string of hits like Foolish Beat, Shake Your Love, Only In My Dreams, Electric Youth and Lost In Your Eyes. Her success is even more significant when you consider that at 17, she was the youngest artist to write, produce, and perform a No 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 charts (for Foolish Beat), and she still holds that record to date. No mean feat, considering that many hit songs then were composed by production teams like Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Hold a candle to that, Justin and Taylor.

Her rivalry with fellow ’80s teen sensation Tiffany may have been well-documented, but Gibson said in a 2009 interview: “All the rivalries that were in the press were just that – fabricated rivalries. In fact, Tiffany is on my speed dial on my phone.”

The duo even played up their rivalry in an upcoming movie, the SyFy shlocker Mega Python Vs Gatoroid. “Oh yes! You can go to my site to see the trailer for the movie! I had a blast working with her!” she said.

If it seems that Gibson is having fun these days, it’s because she’s realised the importance of enjoying her life. “I guess that I have a great balance in my life of doing what I love in my career and having a great personal life too. I have a lot of freedom. I’ve just learnt to really live moment to moment and go with the flow,” she said.

“I’ve always been disciplined (but) when I was younger, I was always stressed out I barely knew, for instance, I sold out big arenas,” she added. “All that hit me later on. I was always so focussed on my work; I forgot to enjoy certain really cool aspects of being in show business. If anything, I’ve learned to enjoy it all more: I can work hard and take everything in as it is happening.”

Through the years, Gibson has also made a name for herself acting on the theatre circuit acting in productions of Les Miserables, Chicago and The King And I; hosting and appearing on TV variety shows, and starting a youth camp called Camp Electric Youth. Oh, and there was that Playboy pictorial in 2005. Yes, we had to ask: How do you still look so hot?

“Like any female, I feel hotter some days than others! I’m pretty healthy… I watch what I eat but also indulge and have fun, workout a bit … the usual! No big secrets!”

Still, if there’s one thing the singer would like to be remembered for, it’s her original songs. “To be known as having contributed original music, to me, is the most important,” she said. “Music lives on long after we’re gone. Hey! That almost rhymed! That may have to be a new song.”

And speaking of all things new, Gibson said she has two new albums in the works. One is Japanese cover songs in English to be released worldwide in November. It also includes Lost In Your Eyes in Japanese as well as Rise from the documentary 3 Billion And Counting by Dr. Rutledge. “And I am halfway through an album of all new original material!” she added. “Can’t wait to tour and perform those songs! But right now I’m just so excited to come perform the nostalgic hits for all of you in Singapore!”.

Retrolicious: A Class 95FM 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert happens on Oct 9, 8pm, at the Fort Canning Park. Tickets at $95 from Sistic. For more details, visit


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