Debbie Gibson on early success: 'We were like the Von Trapp family'

Pop icon Debbie Gibson stars in the new inspirational UP TV movie “The Music In Me” as a woman who gives up her singing dreams to help her family.

She says that while she’s acted before, the role was new territory. “I love the idea that it is a grounded normal human being. I’ve played like, crazy kitchy characters and I’ve done sci-fi movies where I’m saving the world in a strapless dress and running from giant critters," she told FOX411. "There was no 'Mega' anything in this, and I love the 'Mega' movies, 'Mega Shark' and all of that were a blast, but this is grounded in reality and it’s a relatable character.”

Gibson, 44, also debuts a new song in the movie called “Promises” and has been back in the studio recently. “Usually I’m preparing for a live show and then recovering and preparing… and it’s hard to squeeze the studio time in," she said.

Her hit album “Electric Youth” -- recorded when she was 16 -- marked its 26th anniversary last month. “I literally submitted a hundred songs to Atlantic Records before they agreed to release one," she said. "And that one was only to the dance clubs, which at the time was like the 'Oh by the way well throw this out and see what happens.'"

What happened changed Gibson's life.

"Little did they know that between my mom-ager Diane at the time, my two dancers, myself, my sister Karen doing sound and lights for me, we were like, we’re going to take the club world by storm," she said. "Meanwhile I was 16. We were like the Von Trapp family like going to clubs in east LA, gay clubs in Miami, teen clubs in New Jersey, I mean, I was everywhere and we got that record going in such a grass roots way and it eventually… it took 65 weeks from the time 'Only In My Dreams' came out to top the pop charts whereas now things debut at #1. The power of the Internet.”

“The Music In Me” premieres on UP TV April 12th.