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Deborah Gibson, known as Debbie as a youth, burned up the charts in the 1980s with teen pop smashes like "Lost in Your Eyes" and "Shake Your Love."
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Musician. Deborah Gibson was born on August 31, 1970 in Merrick, New York on Long Island. Gibson began taking piano lessons from Morton Estrin (who also taught Billy Joel) at the age of 5, and quickly proved herself a musical prodigy. She wrote her first song, "Make Sure You Know Your Classroom," at age 6, and in fifth grade she composed an opera. "It was called Alice in Operaland," Gibson recalls. "Alice encountered characters in famous operas." In addition to composing, Gibson also started performing at a very young age. She began acting in community theater productions from the age of 5, and as an 8-year-old she joined the children's chorus at New York City's famed Metropolitan Opera House. Despite her busy schedule as a young songwriter and performer, Gibson found time to enjoy the pleasures of childhood. "I don't ever feel I was robbed of my childhood," she says. "I hung on to all that I could."
Gibson built a makeshift studio in her family's garage and began dedicating what little free time she had to writing and recording music. When she won $1,000 in a songwriting contest as a 12-year-old (for a song she had written called "I Come From America") Gibson's parents realized their daughter's musical talents might translate into a career. They hired Doug Breibart to serve as Gibson's manager, and Breibart taught her how to arrange, engineer and produce her own music. By the time she turned 15 in 1985, Gibson had recorded more than 100 of her own songs.
Later that year, Gibson signed with Atlantic Records and began recording her debut album with famous music producer Fred Zarr. She released Out of the Blue in 1987, which rocketed to the top of the charts and made Debbie Gibson a pop icon virtually overnight. The album reached No. 7 on Billboard's Hot 100 Albums chart and was certified three times platinum. Her first two singles, "Only in my Dreams" and "Shake your Love," both peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard charts. The album's third single, "Foolish Beat," reached No. 1, making Gibson the youngest person in history to write, perform and produce a No. 1 single—a record she still holds today.
Debbie Gibson managed to live a double life as both a chart-topping recording artist and a seemingly normal student at Calhoun High, her local public school in Merrick. "I'd put on a baseball cap and no makeup, and nobody would recognize me," Gibson recalls. She graduated with honors in 1988 and even attended her senior prom after giving the DJ one condition: "I asked them not to play my records that night," Gibson remembers. "I didn't want to intrude on the evening."
Upon graduating from high school in 1988, Gibson immediately began work on another album. She released her second and most famous album, Electric Youth, in 1989, and it held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts for five weeks. The first single, "Lost in Your Eyes," also peaked at No.
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