Upclose with Debbie Gibson

Many remember the 80s as an era of fashion mishaps. What fashion trend did you regret following the most, or is there one you’d like to revive?
I hate shoulder pads now but those rubber bracelets we used to wear were really cool and still are. I saw a little kid wearing some just the other day!

What is it about the music scene that hasn’t changed?
There will always be artistes that critics hate because they are young and popular. Also, there are still acts who deserve to be heard and aren’t. Showbiz has never been and will never be fair. It is not for the faint-hearted.

Any teen idols you personally admire or can’t stand?
Well, there’s no one I dislike, really. I wish everyone the best. I love Taylor Swift because she writes, plays and carries herself with grace.

Which star has made the biggest impact on you?
Without people like Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler, none of us women would be crossing over into film and theater.

Does any particular concert stand out in your memory?
I remember there was one show at the Radio City Music Hall that was sold out where I ran up a tiny staircase along the side of the theater wall and into the balcony. Fans and security were freaking out!

Thank you for “Foolish Beat”; it is such a classic. What’s the story behind it?
Actually, I had yet to experience love when I wrote it! The melody and lyrics just came to me. I was inspired by music that was popular on radio and my two older sisters who were constantly having drama with boys.

Ah… the joys of youth. Was there anything that was not so joyful; like trouble dealing with fame?
I was very young. I had my share of anxiety attacks and meltdowns, but there wasn’t this media addiction that young stars have now. I wanted attention for my music, not my personal life. On the one hand, I didn’t feed the media scandalous stories. On the other hand, the media wasn’t looking for them the way they are now.
Describe a bizarre moment in your life as a star.
Happily bizarre and surreal was meeting Michael Jackson and sharing the stage with Billy Joel and Elton John. But it is always bizarre when people ask for autographs in restrooms!
Catch the multi-talented Debbie Gibson in action at the Retrolicious concert on Oct 9, 8pm at Fort Canning Park, 51 Canning Rise, 6332-1300. $48-95 from Sistic.