Debbie Gibson has been writing and performing music for crowds all over the world ever since she was sixteen years old. Her 1987 album Out of the Blue cemented her status as a pop music “teen queen.” She even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records when her hit “Foolish Beat” reached #1 on the charts in 1988; she became the youngest female singer to write, produce and record her own chart-topping song.
Throughout her career, she has sold over 16 million albums and has seen nine of her singles reach the U.S. Top 40, including the #1 hits “Lost in Your Eyes” and the aforementioned “Foolish Beat.” Now, Debbie Gibson returns to Florida as a special performer at the 2014 Headdress Ball, which will be held on Saturday, September 20 at the Hilton Orlando. The Headdress Ball, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is a benefit for the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida.
We were very grateful to speak with Debbie Gibson in an interview you’ll only find on hotspotsmagazine.com.
We’re excited to have you in Orlando! When you visit Florida, what are the things you must see and do while you’re here?
My family! And honestly, I’m in and out so quick this time I will love seeing the cozy hotel bed!
Why was it important for you to participate in the Headdress Ball fundraiser?
Now that I’ve been through a specific health challenge, I realize the importance of having the community and others understand what you’re going through. I also understand the importance of prevention, as we all tend to feel invincible at some points in our lives. I applaud the fact this organization was started in memory of one particular person. I think that is an incredible personal touch to the whole event but instead of dwelling on the loss this event is festive and celebrates spirit and life itself through headwear, [laughs] which as you can see from the picture I have always been drawn to!
Can you give us a sneak peek of what your performance is going to be like at the Headdress Ball, and can you also tell us what your post-show mini-concert is going to be like?
I can only say all my upbeat hits, as well as some of my favorite hits, will be jam packed into an exciting performance at both the main event and after party! And get ready to shake it!
Can you share with us a story or event in your life that made you realize you wanted to find a cure for HIV/AIDS and become an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness?
When I was just a preteen and teenager, I sang at a place called “Something Different” in New York City. There was a waiter there named Bobby Lee and he also sang and performed in the evenings after the kid’s showcase. I was too young to understand it all but he was the first person I knew who suffered through HIV and AIDS. That was the beginning of my awareness and support.
You participate in a lot of events geared toward the LGBT community. How did you first become an “ally” to the LGBT community, and how has supporting equality for all people shaped the person you are today?
I am, as a result, sensitive and open, and [there’s] a side benefit of not being judgmental toward others if you learn to not judge yourself as harshly. The LGBT community has also showed me how loyal a community and audience can be! It’s a “blow with the wind and trends” kinda group of people!
You’ve kept up a busy schedule despite being ill with Lyme disease and going through treatment to be rid of it. How are you feeling now? How much did you have to slow down your work schedule while dealing with this illness?
I was in denial for about eight months and kept working through it all, searching for answers. I am now on an upswing with all-natural methods. I am a fan of kinesiology. This past year I had to slow it down and really search for answers and get the rest I needed. The Headdress Ball marks my “coming-out party” if you will. [I’m] starting a new chapter of stamina and great health!
After the Headdress Ball is over, will you be returning to Florida anytime soon? If you could choose anywhere in the state, where do you want to go to next?
I am actually heading to Canada right after Florida to start a movie for the Up! Network and [I] can’t wait! Within Florida itself I’d have to say both Boca [Raton] and St. Augustine! If I said one or the other, one of my parents would be mad at me!