Avril Lavigne

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This article is about the artist. For the album, see Avril Lavigne (album).
Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne 2013.jpg
Lavigne at the Wango Tango concert in Carson, California, May 2013
Born Avril Ramona Lavigne
(1984-09-27) 27 September 1984 (age 30)
Belleville, Ontario, Canada
Citizenship Canadian and French
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Years active 1999–present
Home town Greater Napanee, Ontario, Canada
Spouse(s)
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
Labels
Website
www.avrillavigne.com

Avril Ramona Lavigne (/ˈævrɨl ləˈvn/; AV-ril lə-VEEN; born 27 September 1984) is a Canadian-French[3][4][note 2] singer and songwriter. She was born in Belleville, Ontario, and spent most of her youth in the town of Napanee. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16 she had signed a two-album recording contract with Arista Records worth more than $2 million. In 2002, when she was 17 years old, Lavigne entered the music industry with her debut album Let Go, becoming one of the most popular pop punk artists, a reason she earned her reputation of a 'skater punk' persona and "pop punk princess"[5][6]. Since her professional debut she has sold more than 30 million albums and over 50 million singles worldwide.[7]

Let Go made Lavigne the youngest female soloist to reach number 1 in the UK. As of 2013, it has sold nearly 7 million copies in the United States[8] and over 17 million copies worldwide.[9] Her breakthrough single, "Complicated", peaked at number 1 in many countries around the world, as did the album Let Go. Her second studio album, Under My Skin, was released in May 2004 and was her first album to peak at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, eventually selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. The Best Damn Thing, Lavigne's third album, was released in 2007, becoming her third number 1 album in the UK Albums Chart and featuring her first U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number 1 single, "Girlfriend". Lavigne has scored six number-one singles worldwide, including "Complicated", "Sk8er Boi", "I'm with You", "My Happy Ending", "Nobody's Home", and "Girlfriend". Lavigne is one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the U.S., with over 11 million copies certified by the RIAA. Her fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby, was released in March 2011. Goodbye Lullaby gave Lavigne her fourth top 10 album on the U.S. Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart and her third number 1 album in both Japan and Australia. Three months after the release of Goodbye Lullaby, Lavigne began work on her eponymous titled fifth studio album, which was released by Epic Records on 1 November 2013[10][11][12] following her departure from RCA Records in 2011.

Lavigne took a break from recording music, pursuing careers in feature film acting and designing clothes and perfumes. She voiced a character in the animated film Over the Hedge in 2006. That same year, she made her on-screen feature film debut in Fast Food Nation. In 2008, Lavigne introduced her clothing line, Abbey Dawn, and in 2009, she released her first perfume, Black Star, which was followed by her second perfume, Forbidden Rose, in 2010 and her third perfume, Wild Rose, in 2011. In July 2006, Lavigne married her boyfriend of two years, Deryck Whibley, lead singer and guitarist for Sum 41. The marriage lasted four years, and in October 2009, Lavigne filed for divorce. Whibley and Lavigne continued to work together, with Whibley producing her fourth album, as well as Lavigne's single, "Alice", written for Tim Burton's film Alice in Wonderland. Lavigne married Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger in 2013.

Early life

Avril Ramona Lavigne was born in Belleville, Ontario. Her father, Jean-Claude Joseph Lavigne,[13] named her "Avril" after the French word for the month of April. At the age of two, she began singing church songs with her mother,[14] Judith-Rosanne "Judy" (née Loshaw). Judy recognized her two-year-old daughter's talents after hearing her sing "Jesus Loves Me" in church.[15] Lavigne has an older brother, Matthew, and a younger sister, Michelle,[16] both of whom teased her when she sang. "My brother used to knock on the wall because I used to sing myself to sleep and he thought it was really annoying."[15] Her father is of French descent and her mother has English, Scottish, and German ancestry.[17]

Dundas Street, one of the two main streets in Greater Napanee

When Lavigne was five years old, the family moved to Napanee, Ontario,[14] a town with a population of approximately 5,000.[18][19][20] Although she has been struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)[21][22] ever since she was a child and was sometimes kicked out of class for misbehaving, her parents supported her singing. Her father bought her a microphone, a drum kit, a keyboard, and several guitars, and converted their basement into a studio; following his own love for music Jean-Claude lead the family to church at Third Day Worship Center in Kingston, ON where he often played bass. When Lavigne was 14, her parents would take her to karaoke sessions.[23] Lavigne also performed at country fairs, singing songs by Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, and Shania Twain. She also began writing her own songs. Her first song was called "Can't Stop Thinking About You", about a teenage crush, which she described as "cheesy cute".[24]

"I've known all my life that this is what I was supposed to do..... Visualizing like what it would be like to be famous with my music. And always just dreaming, always daydreaming." – Avril Lavigne[23]

In 1999,[25] Lavigne won a radio contest to perform with fellow Canadian singer Shania Twain at the Corel Centre in Ottawa, before an audience of 20,000 people.[14][18] Twain and Lavigne sang "What Made You Say That",[14] and Lavigne told Twain that she was going to be "a famous singer".[18] During a performance with the Lennox Community Theatre, Lavigne was spotted by local folksinger Stephen Medd. He invited her to contribute vocals on his song, "Touch the Sky", for his 1999 album, Quinte Spirit. She later sang on "Temple of Life" and "Two Rivers" for his follow-up album, My Window to You, in 2000. In December 1999, Lavigne was discovered by her first professional manager, Cliff Fabri, while singing country covers at a Chapters bookstore in Kingston, Ontario.[14][18] Fabri sent out VHS tapes of Lavigne's home performances to several industry prospects, and Lavigne was visited by several executives.[26] Mark Jowett, co-founder of the Canadian management firm Nettwerk, received a copy of Lavigne's karaoke performances recorded in her parents' basement.[27] Jowett arranged for Lavigne to work with Peter Zizzo during the summer of 2000 in New York, where she wrote the song "Why". Lavigne was noticed by Arista Records on a subsequent trip to New York.[26]

By 2013, Lavigne would go on to sell more than 50 million singles and 30 million copies of her albums worldwide,[7] becoming one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the U.S., with over 10.25 million copies certified by the RIAA.[28] In 2009, Billboard named Lavigne the number 10 pop artist in the "Best of the 2000s" chart.[29] She was listed as the 28th overall best act of the decade based on album and single chart performance in the U.S.[30]

Music career

2000–03: Let Go

In November 2000,[19] Ken Krongard, an A&R representative, invited Antonio "L.A." Reid, then head of Arista Records, to producer Peter Zizzo's Manhattan studio to hear Lavigne sing. Her 15-minute audition "so impressed" Reid that he immediately signed her to Arista with a deal worth $1.25 million for two albums and an extra $900,000 for a publishing advance.[20][14] By this time, Lavigne had found that she fit in naturally with her hometown high school's skater clique, an image that carried through to her first album, but although she enjoyed skateboarding, school left her feeling insecure. Armed with a record deal, she dropped out to focus on her music career,[19] but she still had to inform her parents of her decision. "I wasn't going to turn [the record deal] down. It's been my dream all my life. They knew how much I wanted this and how much I've put into it."[31][24]

Reid gave A&R Joshua Sarubin the responsibility for overseeing Lavigne's development and the recording of her debut album. They spent several months in New York working with different co-writers trying to forge an individual sound for her. Sarubin told HitQuarters that for awhile they struggled finding her sound and although early collaborations with songwriter-producers including Sabelle Breer, Curt Frasca and Peter Zizzo resulted in some good songs, they didn't match her and her voice. It was only when Lavigne then went to Los Angeles in May 2001 and created two songs with The Matrix production team – including "Complicated" – that the record company felt she had made a major breakthrough. Lavigne then worked further with The Matrix and also with singer-songwriter Cliff Magness. Recording finished in January 2002.[32]

Lavigne released her debut album, Let Go, on 4 June 2002 in the U.S., where it reached number 2 on the Billboard 200. It peaked at number 1 on the Australian, Canadian, and UK charts. This made Lavigne, at 17 years old, the youngest female soloist to have a number 1 album in the UK until that time.[33] By the end of 2002, the album was certified four-times platinum by the RIAA, making her the bestselling female artist of 2002 and Let Go the top-selling debut of the year.[34] By May 2003, Let Go had accumulated over 1,000,000 sales in Canada, receiving a diamond certification from the Canadian Recording Industry Association.[35] As of 2009, the album has sold over 16 million units worldwide,[36] and the RIAA has certified the album six-times platinum, denoting shipments of over six million units in the U.S.[37]

"I don't get overwhelmed, just because I feel like I've kind of prepared myself for it. All my life this is what I've wanted, what I've dreamed about, and I knew this would happen. I've been singing ever since I was really young and I've wanted this so bad, and I told myself I would do it." – Avril Lavigne on her success [19]

Lavigne's debut single and the album's lead single, "Complicated", peaked at number 1 in Australia and number 2 in the U.S. "Complicated" was one of the bestselling Canadian singles of 2002, and it was also featured on the teen television show, Dawson's Creek. "Complicated" later ranked on the Hot 100 Singles of the Decade list at number 83.[38]

Subsequent singles, "Sk8er Boi" and "I'm With You" reached the top ten in the U.S.[39] Thanks to the success of her first three singles, Lavigne was the second artist in history to have three number 1 songs from a debut album on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40.[40] For the music video to "Complicated", Lavigne was named Best New Artist at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards.[41] She won four Juno Awards in 2003 out of six nominations,[42] received a World Music Award for "World's Bestselling Canadian Singer", and was nominated for eight Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for "Complicated" (2003).[43]

In 2002, Lavigne made a cameo appearance in the music video to "Hundred Million" by the pop punk band Treble Charger.[44] In March 2003, Lavigne posed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine[45] and, later in May,[46] performed "Fuel" during MTV's Icon tribute to Metallica.[47] During her first headlining tour, the Try To Shut Me Up Tour, Lavigne covered Green Day's "Basket Case".[48] Lavigne was featured in the 2003 game, The Sims: Superstar, as a non-playable celebrity.[49]

2004–05: Under My Skin

Lavigne in Vancouver during her promotional tour for Under My Skin in April 2004

Lavigne co-wrote "Breakaway" with Matthew Gerard, which was recorded by Kelly Clarkson for the soundtrack to the 2004 film The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.[50] "Breakaway" would later be included on Clarkson's second album and released as the album's lead single. Lavigne covered the Goo Goo Dolls song "Iris", performed with the band's lead singer John Rzeznik at Fashion Rocks,[51] and she posed for the cover of Maxim in October 2004.[52] She also recorded the theme song for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. "I made the song a little more edgy", Lavigne said. "There are a lot of loud guitars, and we picked the tempo up a little and sang it with a little more attitude." Lavigne rearranged the song with the help of producer Butch Walker.[53]

Lavigne's second studio album, Under My Skin, was released on 25 May 2004, debuting at number 1 in several countries, including Australia, Mexico, Canada, Japan, the UK, and the U.S.[54] The album has sold more than 10 million copies. Lavigne wrote most of the album's tracks with Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk. Kreviazuk's husband, Our Lady Peace front man Raine Maida, co-produced the album, along with Butch Walker and Don Gilmore. Lavigne went on the Live and By Surprise twenty-one-city mall tour in the US and Canada to promote the album, accompanied by her guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld. Each performance consisted of a short live acoustic set of songs from the new album. At the end of 2004, Lavigne embarked on her first world tour, the Bonez Tour, which had stopovers in almost every continent and lasted for the entire 2005 year.

"This record definitely proves that I'm a writer and people can't knock that, because each song comes from a personal experience of mine, and there are so much emotions in those songs." – Avril Lavigne[55]

"Don't Tell Me", the lead single of the album, went to number 1 in Argentina and Mexico and reached the top five in the UK and Canada and the top ten in Australia and Brazil. "My Happy Ending", the album's second single, went to number 1 in Mexico and the top five in the UK and Australia. In the US, it reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 and went to number 1 in the Mainstream Top 40, making it her fourth-biggest hit there. The third single, "Nobody's Home", did not make the top 40 in the US, reaching number 1 only in Mexico and Argentina. The fourth single from the album, "He Wasn't", reached top 40 positions in the UK and Australia and was not released in the U.S.[56]

Lavigne won two World Music Awards in 2004 for "World's Best Pop/Rock Artist" and "World's Bestselling Canadian Artist". She received five Juno Award nominations in 2005, and picked up three, including "Artist of the Year". She won the award for "Favorite Female Singer" at the eighteenth annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards[57] and was nominated in every MTV Award show shown around the world.

2006–08: The Best Damn Thing

Main article: The Best Damn Thing
Lavigne at the Los Angeles premiere of Over the Hedge, April 2006

On 26 February 2006, Lavigne represented Canada at the closing ceremony of the Torino Olympics, performing her song "Who Knows" during the eight-minute Vancouver 2010 portion.[58]

While Lavigne was in the studio working on her third album, Fox Entertainment Group approached her to write a song for the soundtrack to the 2006 fantasy-adventure film Eragon. She wrote and recorded two "ballad-type" songs, but only one, "Keep Holding On", was used for the film.[59] Lavigne admitted that writing the song was challenging, making sure it flowed with the film. She emphasized that "Keep Holding On", which later appeared on the album, was not indicative of what the next album would be like.[60][61]

Lavigne in June 2008 performing in the Netherlands

Lavigne's third album, The Best Damn Thing, was released on 17 April 2007, which Lavigne immediately promoted with a small tour. Its lead single, "Girlfriend", topped the Billboard Hot 100 the same week The Best Damn Thing debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. "Girlfriend" was Lavigne's first single to reach this number 1 position.[62] The single was a worldwide hit; it also peaked at number 1 in Australia, Canada, Japan, and Italy and reached number 2 in the UK and France. "Girlfriend" was recorded in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Japanese, and Mandarin. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry ranked "Girlfriend" as the most-downloaded track worldwide in 2007, selling 7.3 million copies, including the versions recorded in eight different languages.[63][64] "Girlfriend" ranked on the Hot 100 Singles of the Decade list at number 94.[65]

"When You're Gone", the second single, went to number 3 in the UK, the top five in Australia and Italy, the top ten in Canada, and was close to reaching the top twenty in the U.S. In December 2007, Lavigne, with annual earnings of $12 million, was ranked number eight in the Forbes "Top 20 Earners Under 25".[66] "Hot" was the third single and has been Lavigne's least successful single in the U.S., charting only at number 95. In Canada, "Hot" made the top ten, and in Australia, the top 20. The Best Damn Thing has sold over 6 million copies worldwide.

During this era, Lavigne won nearly every award she was nominated for, including two World Music Awards for "World's Bestselling Canadian Artist" and "World's Best Pop/Rock Female Artist". She took her first two MTV Europe Music Awards, received one Teen Choice Awards for "Summer Single", and was nominated for five Juno awards.

In mid-2007, Lavigne was featured in a two-volume graphic novel, Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes. She collaborated with artist Camilla d'Errico and writer Joshua Dysart on the manga, which was about a shy girl named Hana who, upon meeting her hero Avril Lavigne, learned to overcome her fears. Lavigne said, "I know that many of my fans read manga, and I'm really excited to be involved in creating stories that I know they will enjoy." The volumes were released on 10 April (one week prior to the release of The Best Damn Thing) and in July, respectively. The publication Young Adult Library Services nominated the series for "Great Graphic Novels for Teens".[67]

In March 2008, Lavigne undertook a world tour named The Best Damn Tour to support the album. In that same month, she also appeared on the cover of Maxim for the second time of her career.[68] In mid-August, Malaysia's Islamic opposition party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, attempted to ban Lavigne's show in Kuala Lumpur, judging her stage moves "too sexy". Her concert on 29 August was considered as promoting wrong values ahead of Malaysia's independence day on 31 August.[69] On 21 August 2008, MTV reported that the concert had been approved by the Malaysian government.[70]

2009–11: Goodbye Lullaby

[For] this record, I just really... wanted to sing.... I just wanna have silence around me, and have these acoustic songs and really deliver. – Avril Lavigne

Only a month after completing The Best Damn Tour, Lavigne began recording in her home studio in November 2008 with the song "Black Star",[71] written to help promote her first fragrance of the same name.[72] By July 2009, nine tracks had been recorded for the new album,[71] including the songs "Fine", "Everybody Hurts" and "Darlin". Several of the tracks were written in Lavigne's youth. "Darlin" was the second song Lavigne wrote as a 15-year-old while living in Napanee, Ontario. Lavigne described the album as being about "life". She stated, "It's so easy for me to do a boy-bashing pop song, but to sit down and write honestly about something that's really close to me, something I've been through, it's a totally different thing."[72] With the exception of the album's lead single, "What the Hell", Lavigne described the songs on the album as different from her earlier material: "I'm older now, so I think that comes across in my music, it's not as pop rock".[73]

In January 2010, while simultaneously writing and recording for her new album, Lavigne worked with Disney clothing designs inspired by Tim Burton's feature film, Alice in Wonderland. She asked the executives if she could write a song for the film. The result was the song "Alice",[74] which was played over the end credits[75] and included on the soundtrack, Almost Alice.[76]

On 28 February 2010, Lavigne gave a performance at the concert portion of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony, performing "My Happy Ending" and "Girlfriend".[77] Lavigne was honoured to perform at the ceremonies, but she regretted not being able to attend the U.S. vs. Canada hockey match. "They had us on lockdown. We weren't allowed to leave our trailers, for security purposes."[78]

In September 2010, Lavigne's third single from her debut album, "I'm With You", was sampled by Rihanna on the track "Cheers (Drink to That)", which is featured on Rihanna's fifth studio album, Loud (2010).[79][80] In August 2011, she was featured in the music video for Cheers (Drink To That). "It's exciting to me because that was always one of my favorite songs, and for it to come out 10 years ago and so now to have it sampled and back out on the radio is pretty dope."[81] In December 2010, American singer Miranda Cosgrove released "Dancing Crazy", a song written by Lavigne, Max Martin and Shellback. It was also produced by Martin.[82] On 23 September 2011, Lavigne appeared in the Hub network show Majors & Minors as a guest mentor, alongside other singers including Adam Lambert and Leona Lewis. About the show, Lavigne stated, "I sang for them, and they performed for me. I was just blown away. I got to talk to them about music and the music industry, and they were all just so excited."[81]

The release dates for Goodbye Lullaby and its lead single were pushed back several times. In response to these delays, Lavigne said, "I write my own music and, therefore, it takes me longer to put out records 'cause I have to live my life to get inspiration."[83] She also said that she had enough material for two records.[83] In November, Lavigne was featured in Maxim, where she revealed that Goodbye Lullaby took two and a half years to complete,[84] but she cited her record company as the reason for the album's delays, stating that the album had been completed for a year.[85] Goodbye Lullaby was released on 8 March 2011.[86][73] The lead single, "What the Hell", premiered on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve on 31 December 2010.[86]

2012–present: Avril Lavigne

Main article: Avril Lavigne (album)
Lavigne in New York City, May 2013

Three months after the release of Goodbye Lullaby, Lavigne announced that work on her fifth studio album had already begun, with eight songs written so far. The new album will musically be the opposite of Goodbye Lullaby, with a release date scheduled for sometime in 2012. [87] Lavigne explained, "Goodbye Lullaby was more mellow, but the next one will be pop and more fun again. I already have a song that I know is going to be a single, I just need to re-record it!"[88][89][90] In late 2011, Lavigne confirmed that she had moved to Epic Records, which is now headed by L.A. Reid.[91][92]

In November 2011, Lavigne stated that she entered the studio to start recording new songs for the album.[81] In April 2012, Lavigne confirmed that she had completed the recording process on her fifth album and that she would be taking a short hiatus before releasing it and embarking on "her next artistic journey". On 17 August 2012, Lavigne began finalizing work on her fifth studio album by starting the mixing process and laying down last minute ad-libs and backing vocals, before completely wrapping up production two days later on 19 August.

Aside from work on her new album, Lavigne contributed two cover songs to the Japanese animated film One Piece Film: Z; "How You Remind Me" by Nickelback and "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett.[93]

On 9 April 2013, the lead single from Lavigne's fifth studio album, "Here's to Never Growing Up", was produced by Martin Johnson of the band Boys Like Girls, [94] was released. Chart-wise, the track peaked at #20 on Billboard Hot 100 in the US, as well as the Top 20 in Australia and the UK and the Top 10 in Ireland and Japan. The second single "Rock n Roll" premiered on Lavigne's official YouTube channel on 18 July 2013 and was released on 27 August 2013.[95] The third single "Let Me Go", featuring Lavigne's husband Chad Kroeger of rock band Nickelback, was released on 15 October 2013.[96]

In an interview with Ryan Seacrest in April 2013, Lavigne confirmed that she was still in the recording process of the album, saying "I'm actually still in the studio, I'm still making my record. I still have one more song left to write that I'm going to do by myself, because I love to do that, it's important for me."[97] In another interview with Digital Spy, Lavigne commented that she had written so many songs for her upcoming album that she was considering to issue two back-to-back albums instead of a singular release.[98]

In July 2013, the title of Lavigne's fifth studio album was announced to be eponymous in her name and was released in November 2013.[99] Lavigne later revealed the cover art for the album on 8 August 2013 via her Instagram account[100] and the official track listing on 5 September 2013.[101]

In August 2014, Avril played at music festival Summer Sonic in Tokyo, Japan [102]

Musical style and songwriting

Lavigne in February 2011

Themes in Lavigne's music include messages of self-empowerment from a female or an adolescent view.[103] Lavigne believes her "songs are about being yourself no matter what and going after your dreams even if your dreams are crazy and even if people tell you they're never going to come true."[104] On her debut album, Let Go, Lavigne preferred the less mainstream songs, such as "Losing Grip", instead of her more radio-friendly singles, such as "Complicated", saying that "the songs I did with the Matrix... were good for my first record, but I don't want to be that pop anymore."[105] Lavigne's second album, Under My Skin, had deeper personal themes underlying each song. Lavigne explained, "I've gone through so much, so that's what I talk about.... Like boys, like dating or relationships".[106] In contrast, her third album, The Best Damn Thing, was not personal to her. "Some of the songs I wrote didn't even mean that much to me. It's not like some personal thing I'm going through."[107] Her objective in writing the album was simply to "make it fun".[108] Goodbye Lullaby, Lavigne's fourth album, was much more personal than her earlier records,[71] with Lavigne describing the album as "more stripped down, deeper. All the songs are very emotional".[109] Ian McKellen defined her as "... a punk chanteuse, a post-grunge valkyrie, with the wounded soul of a poet and the explosive pugnacity of a Canadian." on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in 2007. [110][111]

Growing up, Lavigne listened to Blink-182, Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty and Shania Twain,[105] and her influences include Courtney Love and Janis Joplin.[106] Because of these influences, musical genres, and her personal style, the media often defined her as punk, something she denied being. Lavigne's close friend and guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld, said, "It's a very touchy subject to a lot of people, but the point is that Avril isn't punk, but she never really pretended to claim to come from that scene. She had pop punk music and the media ended up doing the rest".[112] Lavigne also commented on the matter: "I have been labeled like I'm this angry girl, [a] rebel... punk, and I am so not any of them."[55] Although she stated to have punk influences on her music: "I like to listen a lot to punk rock music, you can notice a certain influence of punk in my music. I like an aggressive music, but pretty enough pop-rock, which is what I really do."[113]

"I know my fans look up to me and that's why I make my songs so personal; it's all about things I've experienced and things I like or hate. I write for myself and hope that my fans like what I have to say. – Avril Lavigne[104]

Most critics identify Lavigne as some form between teen pop and pop-punk: Publications such as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, NME, MusicMight, IGN and PopMatters have identified Lavigne as a mix of rock, teen pop, and pop punk,[114][115][116][117][118][119] influenced by a grungey pop rock sound.[120][121][122][114][123]

While Lavigne denied being angry, her interviews were still passionate about the media's lack of respect for her songwriting. "I am a writer, and I won't accept people trying to take that away from me", adding that she had been writing "full-structured songs" since she was 14.[55] Despite this, Lavigne's songwriting has been questioned throughout her career. The songwriting trio, the Matrix, with whom Lavigne wrote songs for her debut album, claimed that they were the main songwriters of Lavigne's singles, "Complicated", "Sk8er Boi" and "I'm with You". Lavigne denied this, asserting that she was the primary songwriter for every song on the album. "[N]one of those songs aren't from me".[105] In 2007, Chantal Kreviazuk, who wrote with Lavigne on her second album, accused Lavigne of plagiarism[124] and criticized her songwriting. "Avril doesn't really sit and write songs by herself or anything". Lavigne also disclaimed this, and considered taking legal action against Kreviazuk for "clear defamation" against her character.[125] Kreviazuk later apologized: "Avril is an accomplished songwriter and it has been my privilege to work with her".[124] Shortly after that, Tommy Dunbar, founder of the band, The Rubinoos, sued Lavigne, her publishing company, and Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald for allegedly stealing parts of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" for her song "Girlfriend".[126] Gottwald defended Lavigne, stating, "me and Avril wrote the song together.... It has the same chord progressions as ten different Blink-182 songs, the standard changes you'd find in a Sum 41 song. It's the Sex Pistols, not the Rubinoos."[125] In January 2008, the lawsuit was closed after a confidential settlement had been reached.[127]

Other work

Film career

Lavigne became interested in appearing on television and in feature films. The decision, she said, was her own. Although her years of experience in making music videos would be to her advantage, Lavigne admitted her experience in singing removed any fear of performing on camera. She specifically mentioned that the video "Nobody's Home" involved the most "acting".[104] Her first television appearance was in a 2002 episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,[128] performing "Sk8er Boi"[129] with her band in a nightclub.[130] She later made a cameo appearance in the 2004 film Going the Distance. The main characters bump into her backstage at the MuchMusic Video Awards[131] after her performance of "Losing Grip".[132]

She moved into feature film acting cautiously, choosing deliberately small roles to begin with. In November 2005, after going through an audition to land the role, Lavigne travelled to New Mexico[133] to film a single scene in the 2007 film, The Flock.[134] She played Beatrice Bell, the girlfriend of a crime suspect, appearing alongside Claire Danes and Richard Gere. Gere gave Lavigne acting tips between takes.[134] On her role in The Flock, Lavigne said, "I did that just to see how it was and to not jump into [mainstream acting] too fast".[104] The Flock would not be released in American theatres, and because it would not be released in foreign markets until late 2007, it would not be considered Lavigne's debut. The film made $7 million in the foreign box office.[135]

Lavigne's feature film debut was voicing an animated character in the 2006 film Over the Hedge, based on the comic strip of the same name. She voiced the character Heather, a Virginia Opossum. Recording the characters' voices was devoid of interaction with other actors. Lavigne stated, "All the actors went in individually, and [director] Tim and [screenwriter Karey] and directors were there with me every time I went in, and they made it go so smoothly; they made me feel comfortable.... That was the interesting part, going in by yourself, with no one else to kind of feed off of."[136] Lavigne found the recording process to be "easy" and "natural", but she kept hitting the microphone as she gestured while acting. "I'd use my hands constantly and, like, hit the microphone stand and make noises, so Tim and Karey had to tell me to hold still.... It's hard to be running or falling down the stairs and have to make those sounds come out of your mouth but keep your body still." Lavigne believed she was hired to perform Heather because of her rock-star status. "[The director] thought I'd give my character... a bit of attitude".[104] The film opened on 19 May 2006, making $38 million over its opening weekend. It went on to gross $336 million worldwide.[137]

In December 2005, Lavigne signed on to appear in Fast Food Nation, based on the book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.[138] The fictionalized adaptation, directed by Richard Linklater, traces fast-food hamburgers contaminated with cow feces back to the slaughterhouses.[139] Lavigne played Alice, a high school student intent on freeing the cows.[140][141] The film opened on 17 November 2006 and remained in theatres for 11 weeks, grossing $2 million worldwide.[142]

Both Over the Hedge and Fast Food Nation opened at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, which Lavigne attended. Lavigne felt honoured to be able to attend and was proud of her work. When asked if she would pursue her film career, she stated that she wanted to take her time and wait for the "right parts and the right movies." Lavigne was aware of the roles she had chosen. "I wanted to start off small and to learn [that] I wouldn't just want to throw myself into a big part."[104] In August 2006, Canadian Business magazine ranked her as the seventh top Canadian actor in Hollywood in their second-annual ranking Celebrity Power List. The results were determined by comparing salary, Internet hits, TV mentions, and press hits.[143]

Fashion design

"I just love clothes and colors and patterns. I'm very visual and very hands-on."

In July 2008, Lavigne launched the clothing line Abbey Dawn, featuring a back-to-school collection. It is produced by Kohl's, which is the brand's exclusive U.S. retailer. Named after Lavigne's childhood nickname, Abbey Dawn is designed by Lavigne herself.[144][145] Kohl's describes Abbey Dawn as a "juniors lifestyle brand",[64] which incorporates skull, zebra, and star patterns, purples and "hot pinks and blacks". Lavigne, who wore some of the clothes and jewellery from her line at various concerts before its official launch, pointed out that she was not merely licensing her name to the collection. "I actually am the designer. What's really important to me is that everything fits well and is well-made, so I try everything on and approve it all."[146] The clothing line incorporates Lavigne's musical style and lyrics, "after the release of my first album, I realized how much fashion was involved in my musical career".[81]

The designs were also featured on the Internet game Stardoll, where figures can be dressed up as Avril Lavigne.[147] On 14 September 2009, Lavigne took her then latest collection for her clothing line to be a part of the New York Fashion Week,[148] returning in 2011.[81] In December 2010, the clothing line was made available to over 50 countries through the line's official website.[149][109] "It's fun to be a chick and design clothes and things I'd like for myself. I design things I [can't] find."[78]

Lavigne released her first fragrance, Black Star, created by Procter & Gamble Prestige Products. The fragrance was announced on Lavigne's official website on 7 March 2009. Black Star, which features notes of pink hibiscus, black plum and dark chocolate, was released in summer 2009 in Europe, and later in the US and Canada.[150] When asked what the name meant, Lavigne replied, "I wanted [the bottle] to be a star, and my colors are pink and black, and Black Star resembles being different, and standing out in the crowd, and reaching for the stars; the whole message is just about following your dreams, and it's okay to be unique and be who you are."[151] Black Star won the 2010 Best "Women's Scent Mass" by Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW).[152] Black Star was followed by a second fragrance in July 2010, Forbidden Rose, which took two years to develop.[153] It features notes of red apple, winepeach, black pepper, lotusflower, heliotrope, shellflower, praline agreement, sandalwood, and vanilla.[154] Its message is an extension of Black Star's "follow your dreams",[155] though the tagline for the new perfume is "Dare to Discover".[156] The commercial takes place in a gothic garden setting,[155] where Lavigne, upon entering the garden, finds a single, purple rose.[156] Lavigne launched a third fragrance, Wild Rose, in August 2011 and filmed the commercial for it in late 2010.[109] The tagline for the fragrance is "Dare to discover more".[157] It features notes of mandarin, pink grapefruit, plum, orange blossom, frangipani, blue orchid, musk, sandalwood and crème brûlée.[158]

In January 2010, Lavigne began working with Disney to incorporate Alice in Wonderland-inspired designs into her Abbey Dawn line of clothing.[74] Her designs were exhibited at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in California beginning in May through September, alongside Colleen Atwood's costumes from the 2010 film.[159]

Philanthropy

Lavigne singing in Amsterdam, June 2008

Lavigne has been involved with many charities, including Make Some Noise, Amnesty International, Erase MS, AmericanCPR.org, Camp Will-a-Way, Music Clearing Minefields, U.S. Campaign for Burma, Make-a-Wish Foundation and War Child. She has also appeared in ALDO ads with YouthAIDS to raise money to educate people worldwide about HIV/AIDS. Lavigne took part in the Unite Against AIDS concert presented by ALDO in support of UNICEF on 28 November 2007 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.[160] In November 2010, Lavigne attended the Clinton Global Initiative.[161]

Lavigne worked with Reverb, a non-profit environmental organization, for her 2005 east coast tour.[162] She covered "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" for War Child's Peace Songs compilation, and she recorded a cover of the John Lennon song "Imagine" as her contribution to the compilation album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. Released on 12 June 2007, the album was produced to benefit Amnesty International's campaign to alleviate the crisis in Darfur.[163]

On 5 December 2009, Lavigne returned to the stage in Mexico City during the biggest charity event in Latin America, "Teleton". She performed acoustic versions of her hits "Complicated" and "Girlfriend" with Evan Taubenfeld and band member, Jim McGorman.[164] In 2010, Lavigne was one of several artists who contributed their voices to a cover of K'naan's "Wavin' Flag" as a benefit single to help raise money for several charity organizations related to the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[165]

On 14 September 2010, Lavigne introduced her charity, "The Avril Lavigne Foundation", which aims to help young people with serious illnesses and disabilities[161][166] and works with leading charitable organizations;[149] The foundation partners with the Easter Seals, Make-A-Wish foundation and Erase MS,[167] the latter two being charities Lavigne has previously worked with. Her work with the Make-A-Wish foundation was the inspiration behind her own charity, with Lavigne stating, "I just really wanted to do more".[166] Lavigne said on the foundation's website, "I have always looked for ways to give back because I think it's a responsibility we all share".[168] Philanthropist Trevor Neilson's 12-person firm, "Global Philanthropy Group", advises Lavigne with her foundation as well as several other celebrities, including musician John Legend.[161]

Personal life

Public image

When Lavigne first gained publicity, she was known for her tomboyish style,[169] in particular her necktie-and-tank-top combinations.[170][171] She preferred baggy clothes, skater shoes or Converses,[78] wristbands, and sometimes shoelaces wrapped around her fingers.[23] During photo shoots, instead of wearing "glittery get-ups", she preferred wearing "old, crumpled T's".[19] In response to her fashion and musical influences, the media would call her the "pop punk princess"[5][6] and the female answer to Blink-182.[172] Press and fans regarded her as the "anti-Britney", in part because of her less commercial and "real" image, but also because she was noticeably headstrong. "I'm not made up and I'm not being told what to say and how to act, so they have to call me the anti-Britney, which I'm not."[23] By November 2002, however, Lavigne stopped wearing ties, claiming she felt she was "wearing a costume".[20] Lavigne made a conscious effort to keep her music, and not her image, at the forefront of her career. "I'm just saying, I don't want to sell sex. I feel that's sort of lame and low. I've got so much more to say."[173]

"I have to fight to keep my image really me.... I rejected some gorgeous publicity shots because they just didn't look like me. I won't wear skanky clothes that show my booty, my belly or my boobs. I have a great body. – Avril Lavigne[19]

Lavigne eventually took on a more gothic style as she began her second album, Under My Skin, trading her skating outfits for black tutus[6] and earning an image marked by angst.[174] During The Best Damn Thing years, Lavigne changed directions. She dyed her hair blonde with a pink streak, wore feminine outfits,[175] including "tight jeans and heels",[78] and modelled for magazines such as Harper's Bazaar.[169] Lavigne defended her new style: "I don't really regret anything. You know, the ties and the wife-beaters and all... It had its time and place. And now I'm all grown up, and I've moved on".[175] She now tries to eat healthy foods and practises yoga, soccer, surfing, rollerblading, and street hockey.[78]

Tattoos

Lavigne's XXV and star tattoos on her right forearm, and 30, lightning bolt, and star tattoos on her left wrist

Only a few of Lavigne's tattoos are unique to her, the rest are matched with those of her friends.[78] Lavigne had a star tattooed on the inside of her left wrist that was created at the same time as friend and musical associate Ben Moody's identical tattoo.[176] In late 2004, she had a small pink heart around the letter "D" applied to her right wrist, which represented her then-boyfriend, Deryck Whibley.[78][177] Lavigne and then-husband Whibley got matching tattoos in March 2010, in celebration of his 30th birthday.[78] In April 2010, Lavigne added another tattoo on her wrist, that of a lightning bolt and the number 30.[178]

Everything is always spur-of-the-moment. All of my tattoos, I decide that second and do it. – Avril Lavigne[78]

Her love of tattoos, however, gained media attention in May 2010, after Lavigne and Brody Jenner each got matching tattoos of the word "fuck" on their ribs.[179][180] Lavigne appeared in the June/July cover story for Inked magazine, where she discussed and showed off her tattoos, including an "Abbey Dawn" on her left forearm and an "XXV" and star on her right. Although she confirmed the "fuck" tattoo verbally in the article (calling it her "favorite word"[78]) she had it applied after the magazine's photo shoot.[181] She added that she eventually wanted to get a "big-ass heart with a flag through it with a name.... I'm going to wait a few years and make sure I still want it then. I have to wait for that special someone to come back into my life."[78] In July 2010, Lavigne had her boyfriend's name, "Brody", tattooed beneath her right breast.[182] The couple announced that they broke up in January 2012.[183]

French citizenship

Lavigne's father being French, she has herself been legally French from birth, as the country applies jus sanguinis.[184] She applied for her French passport and received it in February 2011.[4] In January 2012, Lavigne's house in Bel-Air, on the market since May 2011,[185] sold,[186] and Lavigne moved to Paris, France to study the French language. She rented an apartment and attended a Berlitz school.[3][187] She later held her second wedding in the South of France.[188]

Relationships

Marriage to Deryck Whibley

Lavigne's ex-husband, Deryck Whibley

Lavigne and Deryck Whibley, lead singer and guitarist for the band Sum 41, began dating when Lavigne was 19 years old, after being friends since she was 17.[189] Only a few weeks before they met, Lavigne admitted that she was not meeting boys because her bodyguards were frightening them away. In June 2005, Whibley surprised Lavigne with a trip to Venice, Italy including a gondola ride and a romantic picnic, and on 27 June, he proposed to her.[190]

She at first wanted to have a "rock n' roll, goth wedding", but she admitted to having doubts about going against tradition. "I've been dreaming about my wedding day since I was a little girl. I have to wear the white dress.... People thought that I would [wear a] black wedding dress, and I would have. But at the same time, I was thinking about the wedding pictures, and I wanted to be in style. I didn't want to be thinking, 20 years later, 'Oh, why did I wear my hair like that?'"[191]

The wedding was held on 15 July 2006. About 110 guests attended the wedding, which was held at a private estate in Montecito, California.[192] Lavigne, wearing a gown designed by Vera Wang walked down the aisle with her father, Jean-Claude, to Mendelssohn's "Wedding March". Lavigne chose a colour theme of red and white, including red rose petals and centrepieces of distinctly coloured flowers. The wedding included cocktails for an hour before the reception and a sit-down dinner. The song "Iris", by the Goo Goo Dolls, was played during Lavigne and Whibley's first dance.[193]

Seven months into their marriage, Lavigne stated that she was "the best thing that's ever happened to him", and suggested that she helped Whibley stay off drugs since they had begun dating. "He doesn't do drugs. Clearly, he used to, because he talked about it, but I wouldn't be with someone who did, and I made that very clear to him when we first started dating. I've never done cocaine in my life, and I'm proud of that. I am 100 percent against drugs."[191] The marriage lasted four years. It was announced on 17 September 2009 that Lavigne and Whibley had split up and that divorce papers would soon follow.[194] On 9 October 2009, Lavigne filed for divorce, releasing the statement, "I am grateful for our time together, and I am grateful and blessed for our remaining friendship."[189] The divorce was finalized on 16 November 2010, officially ending the marriage.[195]

Marriage to Chad Kroeger

Lavigne began dating fellow Canadian rocker Chad Kroeger, frontman of the band Nickelback, in July 2012.[196][197][198][199] The relationship blossomed after they began working together in March 2012 to write and record music for Lavigne's fifth album.[197][200][199] Lavigne and Kroeger became engaged in August 2012, after one month of dating.[200][196] The couple married at the Château de La Napoule, a reconstructed medieval castle on the Mediterranean Sea in the South of France, on 1 July 2013, which is Canada Day.[199][201] They had their honeymoon in Portofino, Italy.[202]

Backing band

Lavigne performing in 2011 with Steve Fekete on lead guitar and Al Berry on bass
Current members
Past members
  • Evan Taubenfeld – lead guitar, backing vocals (2002–2004)
  • Devin Bronson – lead guitar, backing vocals (2004–2008)
  • Steve Fekete – lead guitar, backing vocals (2008–2013)
  • Jesse Colburn – rhythm guitar (2002–2004)
  • Craig Wood – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2004–2007)
  • Jim McGormanrhythm guitar, backing vocals (2007–2013)
  • Mark Spicoluk – bass, backing vocals (2002)
  • Charlie Moniz – bass (2002–2007)
  • Matt Brann – drums, percussion, backing vocals (2002–2007)
  • Sofia Toufa – backing vocals, dancer (2007–2008)
  • Lindsay Bluafarb – backing vocals, dancer (2007–2008)

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Herself Cameo appearance; performed "Sk8er Boi"
2004 Going the Distance Herself Cameo; performed "Losing Grip"
2006 Fast Food Nation Alice High school activist
2006 Over the Hedge Heather Voice only
2007 The Flock Beatrice Bell Suspect's girlfriend
2010 American Idol Herself Guest judge (Los Angeles auditions)
2011 Majors & Minors Herself Guest mentor

Discography

Concerts

See also

Notes

  1. ^ For more info about post-grunge, see the Background section of her first two albums Let Go and Under My Skin.
  2. ^ France applies jus sanguinis, making Avril Lavigne legally French from birth, her father being a French national.

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