Debbie Gibson: Reloaded

By: Jase Peeples

Photo: Troy Smith

Like so many other gay boys who grew up in the late eighties, I adored Debbie Gibson.

Her Out of the Blue cassette was the first tape I played so often it literally broke and her 1989 tour was the first rock concert I ever attended. I even pretended to be sick the day after her “Electric Youth” music video (which I recorded on VHS) debuted on MTV – just so I could stay home from school and memorize each step of the choreography.

From being bullied at school to coming out at the age of 16, her upbeat songs never failed to inspire me and were always a bright light during even the darkest of days.

Now more than 25 years later, I had the chance to chat with this wonderful woman about her brand-new video “Electric Youth Reloaded,” upcoming projects, and the love she has for her LGBT fans. What was the inspiration behind “Electric Youth Reloaded”?
Debbie Gibson: Jace Hall came to me and said "The youth of today are literally ‘electric’. They’re digital!” This was a giant gift and he pitched the idea of revisiting “Electric Youth”.  I immediately said "Yes! I am on board!" We shook hands and collaborated, had a blast, and we now hope people love it!

Has the meaning of “Electric Youth” changed for you over the years?
Oddly it has stayed the same, but I think that’s the point. Youth have always been on the cutting edge of technology and creativity.

Do you think you’ll revisit any of your other classic material like this in the future? Is there a possibility we could see an Out of the Blue Reloaded album down the road?
I always wanted to reimagine the hits and probably will do so!

In the 80s the press often placed you and Tiffany at odds, but there’s never been an actual rivalry between the two of you. In fact, you not only had the chance to work together on the film Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, but you also toured together last year. What’s it been like finally getting to work together after all these years?
I have loved getting to know the woman she has become and am in awe of her voice and her groundedness!

What are the chances of a Debbie Gibson/Tiffany duet in the future?
We are so different musically but never say never!

At what point in your career did you realize you were becoming a gay icon?
Am I? (Laughs) I think it was when I was hugged by a bunch of sweaty woman at a lesbian club in Brooklyn on a Friday after performing, and then on Saturday my Mom was collecting my fee from a gorgeous drag queen in Miami. At that point, I knew the gay audience would forever be a part of my life!

As a performer, do you notice a difference in the energy from the crowd when you’re performing at LGBT events or gay clubs?
Yes! It is a beautiful blend of an audience that demands my best yet and is there for FUN! It also helps that I now commune with the crowd as opposed to singing at them. Baby Debbie has grown up and lived some life.

From classic rock to show tunes you’ve performed music from a variety of genres throughout your career. Given the current popularity dance music is enjoying, is a new Debbie Gibson club track in the realm of possibility? Dare we hope for a Debbie Gibson/David Guetta team up in the future?
Oh yes! DG and DG is one of my dreams! He is a genius!

By the time you turned 17 you were a global pop star. How do you think you would’ve handled success if the media had been like it is today?
Well, they would not have found scandalous pictures on my cellphone! (Laughs)  But I feel bad for the lack of privacy kids have in the biz today. Although, had I been able to text and email on the road I may have had some sort of a social life that, in all honesty, I did not have back then. Not complaining, but that's how it was.

What is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about you?
That I live in a bubble! I actually prefer to do everything for myself and have become quite the domestic goddess. I live way more in the real world than most people know – which is great for my new songs!

Speaking of new songs, you shared a brand-new track, “Don’t Wake Me,” on your web site this week. Does this mean a new album will find its way to our ears soon?
Somewhat soon. I say if it takes a month or a year there’s no rush at this point. The bar is set high and the coming songs are the songs that were channeled in a way that those first two albums were channeled back in the day. I can only say that when it will have been worth the wait!

Check out the full video “Electric Youth Reloaded” below.

For more on Debbie Gibson visit her official website.