Interviewed and written byAaron Robinson – Editor
Consciousness Magazine had the opportunity to interview singer and songwriter, Debbie Gibson. At the age of 16, she was one of the world’s most sensational teenage stars, loved by many fans; nonetheless, the youngest person to ever write, produce and perform a #1 hit single “Foolish Beats.”
Today Debbie is still pursuing her career, while involved in Broadway, appearing on television shows and advocating for various organizations that have a supportive cause. Here is what she has to say.
CM: What inspired you to want to raise awareness for global child poverty?
Debbie Gibson: I saw firsthand when sponsoring children in the late 80’s and 90’s, when I was just a kid myself, what a difference the smallest amount of money can make. We wake up complaining about rain, having a cold, trivial things…when there are people waking up right now feeling like the world forgot about them with no heat, no food…it is devastating that with all the excess there is in the world that people are living this way.
CM: How did you become affiliated with Children’s International?
DG: They reached out to an agent I work with for a list of suggestions. When Greg and Gretchen from CI saw my name on the list they said “wait a minute…didn’t she actually sponsor children through our organization?” Truth in advertising so to speak! I first became aware of CI while flipping through a magazine at age 17 and started sending checks. I eventually got to meet my “kids” in Manila while on tour and witness firsthand that the organization was real and doing remarkable work.
CM: On your journey, what was your reaction, after meeting an impoverished family who lived in the cemetery?
DG: I had a complete meltdown the day before the shoot. I called my close friends, my boyfriend, my therapist….I was exhausted starting the journey and was so vulnerable. I truly didn’t think I could handle seeing children living in these conditions. I experienced a kind of exhaustion and a depression that you cannot possibly know until a mother breaks down and cries because you hug her.
CM: You run the “Electric Youth” summer camp and music programs for young, aspiring songwriters and performers. Do you look forward to doing this endeavor over the years?
DG: I do! It is a calling! I joke that I don’t have any kids of my own but I have about 200 little soldiers I have sent into the world hopefully armed with skills, a work ethic and a respect for this challenging business.
CM: As an artist, how does it feel to hold the world’s record for being the youngest writer/producer/performer of the #1 hit Foolish Beat?
DG: I cannot believe no one has beat it! Justin Bieber still has time (laughs). Taylor Swift is the closest in terms of writing, though producing is still a male dominated art for some reason.
CM: Are you looking to tour in the Unites States in the future?
DG: Absolutely, one hundred percent. Look for a new album in 2011!
CM: As an actress, can we expect more from you on Broadway?
DG: Unless it is originating a role or it blows away my Cabaret experience, which is hard to do, not anytime soon. I would prefer to concentrate on my music. But, Jimmy Van Patten and I have written an original musical called THE FLUNKY. I would love to musical supervise and cast amazing new talent!
CM: Do you have anything that you would like to add before we end the interview?
DG: Yes! My car just got towed because the transmission just blew, but I am happily sitting in an Espresso Cafe doing this interview and, to take things full circle back to Children’s International, I would like to say “May that be the worst thing that happens to me today.” I am happy and healthy (and caffeinated!) And, on a serious note, I do hope everyone will find it in their hearts to sponsor a child. If everyone reading this did just that, a child who – as we speak – is eating rice, or nothing at all, and suffering in silence, literally will have a new and improved life in a matter of weeks. Medical care, new clothes, nutritious meals….you cannot believe. But, DO…because it is SO easy for you to make a difference.
Last modified: April 16, 2023