The "Lost in Your Eyes" singer tells PEOPLE that she would give her 16-year-old self some advice

By Steve Helling
August 31, 2020 02:45 PM
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Debbie Gibson
Robert John Kley

The year was 1987. An unknown 16-year-old Long Island girl named Debbie Gibson released her first pop album, entitled Out of the Blue. It became a worldwide hit, spawning five hit singles and selling more than five million copies.

Gibson even made music history: the chart-topping "Foolish Beat" made her the youngest female artist to write, produce and perform a No. 1 single – a record that endures today.

During the late 1980s, Debbie Gibson became a teen sensation, gracing magazine covers and making countless TV appearances. (She was even on The Hollywood Squares, which was a very big deal at the time.)

Her follow-up album, Electric Youth, went straight to the top and spawned three hit singles, including the chart-topping "Lost in Your Eyes," which spent three weeks at No. 1. As Gibson matured and her teen pop status faded, she performed on Broadway and acted in several TV movies, all the while continuing to put out new music.

Gibson turns 50 on Monday. To celebrate her milestone year, she reflects back on advice she would give her teen self. Here are her three most salient pieces of advice.

Debbie Gibson in 1989
Ron Galella, Ltd/WireImage

1.  Stop Worrying; You Don't Have to Be Perfect

"If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to worry less and enjoy more," Gibson tells PEOPLE. "I always was a perfectionist to a fault, especially in preparing for live shows. As I've evolved, I've learned what we consider the imperfections are actually what make us unique and what makes a one-of-a-kind live performance!"

2. Follow Your Gut

"Always trust your instincts," Gibson says she would tell her younger self. "Follow them in music, in love and in health. Nobody knows what's best for you better than you!"

3. Remember: You're a Bad Liar! 

"Don't cheat at Pictionary," she laughs. "You know you're a bad liar and will end up confessing and blowing it for the whole team!"

What's next for Gibson? She will appear on Lucifer this season on a musical episode entitled "Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam." She is playing Shelly Bitner, a controlling helicopter mom who oversees every aspect of her teenage son's life.