Today, a week before she kicks off a limited Las Vegas engagement with New Kids on Block member Joey McIntyre, Debbie Gibson releases her first new pop album in 20 years, The Body Remembers.

So what took so long?  Debbie says, essentially, life got in the way.

Initially, the pop star switched her focus from music to the stage. “I went into a theater tunnel, like, I wanted to check off every theater role that I ever wanted to play, and I did that till my late 30s,” she tells ABC Audio.

During that time, Debbie appeared in Les Misérables, Grease, Funny Girl, Beauty & the Beast, Cabaret, and The King and I, among others.  But then, she admits, “I had a very rough decade.”

“A lot of illness, a lot of change…all kinds of things that have all worked themselves out now,” Debbie explains.  She also was dealing with what she calls “a very intense relationship that was great when it was great,” which ended, she says, when they both realized it wasn’t healthy.

“So…I’ve been through a lot of life stuff,” she adds. “And…the music has now lifted me out of that…it was just ready to emerge.”

Meanwhile, Debbie promises that fans won’t have to wait as long for her next record.

“I’m already on to the album after this, which is what happened with…Out of the Blue and Electric Youth,” she says, referring to her first two albums. “It was, like, I had so much life to sing about, so many songs stored up, out they came…the floodgates were open.”

Debbie notes, “This album is super-upbeat and intense, and the next one’s gonna be a little more singer-songwriter and introspective…It’s just the way it’s flowed.”

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