Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Debbie Gibson, Tiffany reunite for tour By Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY

NEW YORK — The two biggest female teen-pop stars of the 1980s will start a tour together Friday night, in Westbury, NY. So let's cut right to the chase: Were Debbie Gibson and Tiffany ever rivals?

Hardly, they insist. Gibson, now 40, recalls listening to Tiffany's breakthrough single, a chart-topping 1987 cover of I Think We're Alone Now, "every time I was on a plane, during takeoff, because it's so driving. My sister and I had a Walkman, and we each had headphones, and we'd listen together."
And Gibson's 1988 ballad Lost In Your Eyes, another No. 1 hit, "is one of my favorite songs," coos Tiffany, 39.
"Aw, thank you," says Gibson. "See? It's been mutual admiration, always."
Speaking in a rehearsal studio days before launching "Journey Through the '80s" — which includes five additional dates, wrapping in Chicago Aug. 13 — Gibson and Tiffany present a study in complementary contrasts. Tiffany, now pursuing a career in country music, is sporty in a jersey shirt and acid-wash jeans. Gibson, who spent much of her 20s and 30s performing in musical theater, looks pertly elegant in a long-sleeved mini-dress.
The two initially joined forces for the cheeky horror flick Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, which aired on Syfy earlier this year. "I thought it would be something our fans would love," Tiffany says. "But people had really always expected us to do something musically."
Gibson notes, "We're very different artists, with totally different influences. But that's why this show is so cool."
As its title suggests, the tour will be, in Gibson's words, "unashamedly about the '80s," with each singer offering both her own hits and personal favorites. (They'll also perform together.) Gibson is "incorporating lots of straight-up pop, like Michael Jackson and Madonna," in addition to a medley of show tunes. "Tiffany suggested that, since Broadway influenced me greatly."
Tiffany plans to include selections by Stevie Nicks, Guns N' Roses and John Mellencamp. "And Joan Jett, because when I was 12, before I got a record deal, I used to sit on my lawn and listen to I Love Rock & Roll, and think, 'One day I'm going to get out of this town.'"
In their private lives, too, the women have pursued disparate paths. Tiffany is now in her second marriage — "I've lived country music," she quips — and has a 19-year-old son, a college sophomore studying to be a civil engineer. Gibson has never wed, though she has been with her current boyfriend, a doctor specializing in preventative medicine, for three and a half years.
"I'm just now learning how to integrate a real relationship into my career," Gibson admits, adding, "There are a lot of successful but lonely women in theater, and that's where I spent the better part of 17 years, between the ages of 21 and 38. When you do eight shows a week, you don't have time for much else."
Both nonetheless consider themselves lucky survivors of early stardom. Gibson observes that in their heyday "teen stars weren't as big as they are now. We weren't up for Grammys, like Justin Bieber was. With us, it was, 'Oh, they don't really count.' Now they have whole award shows for teens."
Tiffany figures that she and Gibson may have retained their sanity through the years "because we're songwriters. For me, songwriting has been like therapy. It's kept me out of therapy."
Gibson laughs. "I'm in therapy, and I write songs."
She's working on an album of original material and will release a single on iTunes, Rise, later this year. Tiffany is promoting her own new album, Rose Tattoo, and writing a book that she hopes to publish next year. "It's about my life, and how to survive in the music business."
Her advice for today's young aspirants? "You need to learn to be your own best friend, as stupid as that sounds," Tiffany says. "I think Debbie and I are success stories, because we've shown that you can be a teen artist and still have a life. We're positive role models in that sense."

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