My 80s Playlist: Debbie Gibson on her Guinness World Records and ‘aggressive’ new music

Virgin Radio

13 Nov 2023, 16:57

Debbie Gibson, Steve Denyer

Credit: Virgin Radio

80s singer and actress Debbie Gibson opened up about her recording-setting career and how her new music shows off her more aggressive side. 

Debbie stopped by Virgin Radio 80s Plus to chat to Steve Denyer on another edition of My 80s Playlist, and while they spoke about the records that made the decade, Steve couldn’t help but ask about Debbie’s own incredible career. 

The singer-songwriter released her debut album, Out of the Blue in 1987 when she was only 16, but the youngster had written and produced much of the record herself. 

Watch Debbie Gibson's full My 80s Playlist below:

She had major hits with Foolish Beat, Lost in Your eyes and Say Goodbye, and one helped propel Debbie into the Guinness World Records book. 

Foolish Beat in 1988 made Debbie the youngest female artist to write, produce and perform a Billboard Hot 100 number one single, and while on My 80s Playlist, the New York native shared why it was important to be a part of the entire process of her music. 

“I always wanted to solely produce, especially with my ballads,” Debbie explained to host Steve. She likened the experience of controlling her own music to that of George Michael in Wham! after watching the recent Netflix documentary. After a “hit-making producer” got their hands on a Michael track, he complained that it was “simpler than that.” It was a moment that struck a chord with Debbie. 

“That’s the key, when you can translate your purest vision, it’s always the best,” she continued. “Simplicity is key with those songs. You want a great bass part. You want a great piano, you want some strings, you want a great vocal, keep it open, keep it about the song, serve the song.”

It turns out Foolish Beat wasn’t the only song to put Debbie on the record-breaking map, but it was her song after, Lost in your Eyes, which helped secure her the second place in the same category too. 

She added: “It kind of put me in a small club of people who've done that and it's an honour that I still hold that record and I'm always like, kids helped me pass the torch to you! My ego loves it but the mentor in me would love to see the next young'un step up in that world.”

As well as continuing her reign in the Guinness World Record books, Debbie also recently released her first album of original music in 20 years - A Body Remembers. 

The 2021 album was written during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Dancing with the Stars alum admitted it had a much more “aggressive” sound than fans might remember.

“It’s not my Brandi Carlile album,” Debbie joked. “It’s very full of dance, pop, rock. I guess the melodic hooks that if you grew up with my music in the 80s you've grown to love and expect from me. I love a good hook that you cannot get out of your head for days or weeks or months. 

“The lyrics really reflect my life and how I live my life. I don't shy away from life and love and experiences and when you are on the frontlines of your own life, you're gonna go through a lot of crap. I work out my crap and through music. So a lot of songs kind of often start with me in that angsty place. It's really taking you on a journey of flipping that script and empowering yourself from whatever experiences you have and not judging them.”

You can listen to Virgin Radio 80 Plus HERE. You can also listen on DAB+ in London and Central Scotland and on smart speakers across the UK, as well as via the Virgin Radio UK app.