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Debbie Gibson Itching For A Comeback

The Chicago Cubs celebrated "'80s night" at Wrigley Field on Monday with '80s teen sensation Debbie Gibson throwing out the first pitch, singing the National Anthem and performing "Take Me Out to the

The Chicago Cubs celebrated "'80s night" at Wrigley Field on Monday with '80s teen sensation Debbie Gibson throwing out the first pitch, singing the National Anthem and performing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the traditional 7th inning stretch sing-along. It took a while, but eventually the pitch made it over home plate for a strike. Keeping balls in the air seems to be what Deborah, as she goes by now, is good at these days. Her career is quite a juggling act.

Gibson spoke with Billboard.com about a bevy of current and future projects and about how she's itching to get back on the airwaves. She's got a full plate that keeps her running from movies to musicals to a week-long Deborah Gibson cruise, to a spread in Playboy and a well-timed single, "Naked." But all this running around seems to have distracted her. While proud of the breadth of her work, "Versatility," she says, "serves you as a writer but not necessarily as an artist."

"After spending time in L.A. doing projects in the film and TV world and doing tons of Broadway," she says, "I'm feeling the need to really focus on my first love, music. I'm ready for my big Tina Turner/'What's Love Got To Do With It' radio comeback."

While there's no timetable in place for getting back into the studio, she has self-released two collections of songs for die-hard fans through her Web site. She has also written a pair of songs including a "dance-pop club type" for an independent film called "Coffee Date," that she will appear in with Wilson Cruz ("My So Called Life"). Shooting is scheduled to begin in August.

Gibson feels there is starting to be a backlash against "celebrities who are famous for being famous" and getting recording contracts. The time is coming again for "singer/songwriters who are self-created," she believes.

She's not alone in that feeling. Recently, old friends from the business are helping her with artist development and matching with collaborators such as Marti Frederiksen (Aerosmith). While she writes every day, she is still working on exactly what her musical direction will be. Among other outlets is studying jazz/blues piano to find a "different sophistication."

"As you mature, lyrically, the songs get more sophisticated and you want the music to support that," she says.