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Happy Birthday, Debbie Gibson! (And May Josh Groban Sing to You)

The eternally, electrically youthful pop singer shares her wishes for her dream collaborations.

Happy birthday, Debbie Gibson! Born on Aug. 31, 1970, Gibson roared to her first Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Only in My Dreams,” before turning 17 and has totaled five Hot 100 top 10s, including the No. 1s “Foolish Beat” and “Lost in Your Eyes.” The latter love song’s parent album, Electric Youth, crowned the Billboard 200 for five weeks in 1989.

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Following her biggest hits, Gibson has gone on to shine on Broadway (17 musicals in 17 years), tour with fellow ’80s chart queen Tiffany (the two were never rivals, contrary to pop lore) and, most recently, star in the UP TV movie The Music in Me.

As Gibson blows out the candles and gets the first slice, Billboard presented her with five birthday-related questions for her big day.

What’s the favorite birthday present you’ve ever received?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. My man has gotten me many sentimental things – which shall remain private – that stand out. My late voice teacher Guen Omeron once gave me this beautiful hanging porcelain dove. She said she got it because it was “peaceful … but in flight.”

If you could pick one person, who would you like to have sing “Happy Birthday” to you?
My Dad. He’s got a Pat Boone crooner-type voice. I never tire of him singing to me. Ok … and maybe Josh Groban.

To which one person would you like to sing “Happy Birthday”?

Not Josh Groban (laughs), because my version would be a bit more rough around the edges. I would love to sing it to my grandparents again, because that would mean they would still be here.

With which person would you like to sing “Happy Birthday,” as a duet?

Trisha Yearwood. I think our harmonies would be awesome and we’d blend well. Maybe we could sing it to Garth [Brooks].

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What birthday wish do you hope comes true this year? (Don’t worry; you can answer here and it will still come true!)
I’m really ready to have no limitations based on recent health challenges. I’m on a great path and I know with that one wish fulfilled, all the others on my list will come true. That’s my selfish wish. I do wish on a daily basis that, quite simply, all people are at peace in their lives and able to be happy. I always say, “Life’s tough … but I’m tougher!” I hope others can adopt that motto and are able to thrive no matter what curveballs are thrown at them.
I call this my “arrival day,” because there is no birth and, therefore, no death, just the day we arrive here in this human form. Plus, on August 31st, I get to say, “I’ve arrived!” (laughs)