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Avril Lavigne’s Bio
Avril Lavigne (born 27 September 1984) is a Canadian Singer-songwriter and Actress. She was born in Belleville, Ontario, and spent most of her youth in the town of Greater 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”. Since her professional debut she has sold more than 30 million albums and over 50 million singles worldwide.
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 and over 16 million copies worldwide. 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 US Billboard 200, eventually selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. The Best Damn Thing, Lavigne’s third album, was released in April 2007, becoming her third number 1 album in the UK Albums Chart and featuring her first US 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 US, 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 US 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 eponymously titled fifth studio album, which was released by Epic Records on 1 November 2013 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 Heather, a Virginia opossum, 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.
1999–2001: Early performances and record deal
In 1999, 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. Twain and Lavigne sang Twain’s song “What Made You Say That”, and Lavigne told Twain that she was going to be “a famous Singer“. 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. Fabri sent out VHS tapes of Lavigne’s home performances to several industry prospects, and Lavigne was visited by several executives. Mark Jowett, co-founder of the Canadian management firm Nettwerk, received a copy of Lavigne’s karaoke performances recorded in her parents’ basement. 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 during a trip to New York.
In November 2000, 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. 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. Having signed a record deal, and with support from her parents, she left school to focus on her Music career.
2002–03: Let Go
Reid gave A&R Joshua Sarubin the responsibility of 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 they initially struggled; although early collaborations with songwriter-producers including Sabelle Breer, Curt Frasca and Peter Zizzo resulted in some good songs, they did not match her or 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”, later released as her debut single—that the record company felt she had made a major breakthrough. Lavigne worked further with The Matrix and also with Singer-songwriter Cliff Magness. Recording of Lavigne’s debut album, Let Go, finished in January 2002.
Lavigne released Let Go in June 2002 in the US, where it reached number two on the Billboard 200 albums chart. It peaked at number one in Australia, Canadian, and the UK—this made Lavigne, at 17 years old, the youngest female soloist to have a number-one album on the UK Albums Chart at that time. 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. By May 2003, Let Go had accumulated over 1,000,000 sales in Canada, receiving a diamond certification from the Canadian Recording Industry Association. By 2009, the album had sold over 16 million units worldwide, and the RIAA certified the album six-times platinum, denoting shipments of over six million units in the US (it has sold 6.8 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan).
Lavigne’s debut single, “Complicated”, peaked at number one in Australia and number two in the US “Complicated” was one of the bestselling Canadian singles of 2002, and one of the decade’s biggest hits in the US, where subsequent singles “Sk8er Boi” and “I’m with You” reached the top ten. With these three singles, Lavigne became the second artist in history to have three number-one songs from a debut album on Billboard ’s Mainstream Top 40 chart. Lavigne was named Best New Artist (for “Complicated”) at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, won four Juno Awards in 2003 out of six nominations, 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”.
In 2002, Lavigne made a cameo appearance in the Music video for “Hundred Million” by the pop punk band Treble Charger. In March 2003, Lavigne posed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and in May she performed “Fuel” during MTV‘s Icon tribute to Metallica. During her first headlining tour, the Try to Shut Me Up Tour, Lavigne covered Green Day’s “Basket Case”.
2004–05: Under My Skin
Lavigne’s second studio album, Under My Skin, was released in May 2004 and debuted at number one in countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK, and the US. The album was certified five-times platinum in Canada has sold more than 10 million copies, including 3.1 million in the US. Lavigne wrote most of the album’s tracks with Canadian Singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, and Kreviazuk’s husband, Our Lady Peace front man Raine Maida, co-produced the album with Butch Walker and Don Gilmore. Lavigne said that Under My Skin proved her credentials as a songwriter, saying that “each song comes from a personal experience of mine, and there are so much[sic] emotions in those songs”. ‘Don’t Tell Me’, the lead single, reached the top five in the UK and Canada and the top ten in Australia. “My Happy Ending”, the album’s second single, was a top five hit in the UK and Australia; in the US, it was a top ten entry on the ‘Billboard Hot 100 and became a number-one pop radio hit, although the third single, “Nobody’s Home”, did not make the top 40 in the US.
During early 2004, Lavigne went on the Live and By Surprise acoustic mall tour in the US and Canada to promote ‘Under My Skin’, accompanied by her guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld. In late 2004, Lavigne embarked on her first world tour, the year-long Bonez Tour. Lavigne won two World Music Awards in 2004, for ‘World’s Best Pop/Rock Artist’ and ‘World’s Bestselling Canadian Artist’, and won three Juno Awards from five nominations in 2005, including ‘Artist of the Year’. She won in the category of ‘Favorite Female Singer‘ at the eighteenth annual Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
Lavigne co-wrote the song ‘Breakaway’, which was recorded by Kelly Clarkson for the soundtrack to the 2004 film ‘The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement’. ‘Breakaway’ was released as a single in mid 2004 and subsequently included as the title track on Clarkson’s second album, ‘Breakaway’. Lavigne performed the Goo Goo Dolls song ‘Iris’ with the band’s lead Singer John Rzeznik at Fashion Rocks in September 2004, and she posed for the cover of Maxim’ in October 2004. She recorded the theme song for ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’ (released in November 2004) with producer Butch Walker.
2006–08: The Best Damn Thing
In February 2006, Lavigne represented Canada at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics, performing her song ‘Who Knows’ during the eight-minute Vancouver 2010 portion. Fox Entertainment Group approached Lavigne to write a song for the soundtrack to the 2006 fantasy-adventure film ‘Eragon‘; her contribution, ‘Keep Holding On’, was released as a single to promote the film and its soundtrack.
Lavigne’s third album, ‘The Best Damn Thing’, was released in April 2007 and debuted at number one on the US ‘Billboard’ 200, subsequently achieving platinum status in Canada selling more than 1.7 million copies in the US and six million worldwide. Its lead single, Girlfriend’, became Lavigne’s first number-one single on the US ‘Billboard’ Hot 100 and one of the decade’s biggest singles. The single also peaked at number one in Australia, Canada, and Japan, and reached number two in the UK and France. As well as English, ‘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. ‘When You’re Gone’, the album’s second single, reached top five in Australia and the United Kingdom, the top ten in Canada, and the top forty in the US. ‘Hot’ was the third single and charted only at number 95 in the US, although it reached the top 10 in Canada and the top 20 in Australia.
Lavigne won two World Music Awards in 2007, for ‘World’s Bestselling Canadian Artist’ and ‘World’s Best Pop/Rock Female Artist’. She won her first two MTV Europe Music Awards, received a Teen Choice Award for ‘Summer Single’, and was nominated for five Juno Awards. In December 2007, Lavigne was ranked number eight in ‘Forbes’ magazine’s list of ‘Top 20 Earners Under 25’, with annual earnings of $12 million. In March 2008, Lavigne undertook a world tour, The Best Damn Tour, and appeared on the cover of ‘Maxim’ for the second time. 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. On 21 August 2008, MTV reported that the concert had been approved by the Malaysian government.
2009–11: Goodbye Lullaby
In January 2010, Lavigne worked with Disney clothing designs inspired by Tim Burton’s feature film ‘Alice in Wonderland‘. She recorded a song for its soundtrack, ‘Alice’, which was played over the end credits and included on the soundtrack album Almost Alice. In February, Lavigne performed at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony. Lavigne’s song ‘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). ‘Cheers (Drink to That)’ was released as a single the following year, and Lavigne appeared in its Music video. 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.
Lavigne began recording for her fourth studio album, ‘Goodbye Lullaby’, in her home studio in November 2008, its opening track, ‘Black Star’, was written to help promote her first fragrance of the same name. Lavigne described the album as being about her life experiences rather than focusing on relationships, and its style as less pop rock than her previous material, reflecting her age. The release date for ‘Goodbye Lullaby’ was delayed several times, which Lavigne said was because of her label. ‘Goodbye Lullaby’ was released in March 2011, and its lead single, ‘What the Hell’, premiered in December 2010. ‘Goodbye Lullaby’ sold 368,000 copies in the US and received Juno Award nominations for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year.
2012–present: Avril Lavigne
Three months after the release of Goodbye Lullaby, Lavigne announced that work on her fifth studio album had already begun, describing it as the musical opposite of Goodbye Lullaby and “pop and more fun again”. In late 2011, Lavigne confirmed that she had moved to Epic Records, headed by L.A. Reid. Lavigne contributed two cover songs to the 2012 Japanese animated film One Piece Film: Z: “How You Remind Me” (originally by Nickelback) and “Bad Reputation” (by Joan Jett).
The lead single from Lavigne’s fifth studio album, “Here’s to Never Growing Up” (produced by Martin Johnson of the band Boys Like Girls), was released in April 2013 and reached top 20 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 and in Australia and the UK. The second single, “Rock n Roll”, was released in August 2013 and the third, “Let Me Go” (featuring Lavigne’s husband Chad Kroeger of Nickelback), was released in October 2013. The album, eponymously titled Avril Lavigne, was released in November 2013 and sold 125,000 copies in the US; in Canada, it was certified gold and received a Juno Award nomination for Pop Album of the Year. During mid 2014, Lavigne opened for boy band Backstreet Boys’s In a World Like This Tour and played at the Music festival Summer Sonic in Tokyo, Japan.
In an April 2015 interview with Billboard, Lavigne announced plans to release a new single titled “Fly”, which was released 26 April, in association with the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, and to release a Christmas album.
Musical style and songwriting
Themes in Lavigne’s Music include messages of self-empowerment from a female or an adolescent view. 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.” 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.” 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”. 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.” Her objective in writing the album was simply to “make it fun”. Goodbye Lullaby, Lavigne’s fourth album, was much more personal than her earlier records, with Lavigne describing the album as “more stripped down, deeper. All the songs are very emotional”. 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.
Growing up, Lavigne listened to Blink-182, Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty and Shania Twain, and her influences include Courtney Love and Janis Joplin. 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”. 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.” 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.”
“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
Most critics identify Lavigne as some form between pop-rock 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, influenced by a grungey pop rock sound.
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. 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”. In 2007, Chantal Kreviazuk, who wrote with Lavigne on her second album, accused Lavigne of plagiarism 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. Kreviazuk later apologized: “Avril is an accomplished songwriter and it has been my privilege to work with her”. 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”. 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.” In January 2008, the lawsuit was closed after a confidential settlement had been reached.
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 was 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”. Her first television appearance was in a 2002 episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, performing “Sk8er Boi” with her band in a nightclub. 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 after her performance of “Losing Grip”.
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 to film a single scene in the 2007 film, The Flock. She played Beatrice Bell, the girlfriend of a crime suspect, appearing alongside Claire Danes and Richard Gere. Gere gave Lavigne acting tips between takes. 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”. The Flock was not released in American theatres, and because it was not released in foreign markets until late 2007, it is not considered Lavigne’s debut. The film made $7 million in the foreign box office.
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.” 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”. The film opened on 19 May 2006, making $38 million over its opening weekend. It went on to gross $336 million worldwide.
In December 2005, Lavigne signed to appear in Fast Food Nation, based on the book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. The fictionalized adaptation, directed by Richard Linklater, traces fast-food hamburgers contaminated with cow feces back to the slaughterhouses. Lavigne played Alice, a high school student intent on freeing the cows. The film opened on 17 November 2006 and remained in theatres for 11 weeks, grossing $2 million worldwide.
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.” 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.
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 US retailer. Named after Lavigne’s childhood nickname, Abbey Dawn is designed by Lavigne herself. Kohl’s describes Abbey Dawn as a “juniors lifestyle brand”, 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.” 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”.
The designs were also featured on the Internet game Stardoll, where figures can be dressed up as Avril Lavigne. On 14 September 2009, Lavigne took her then latest collection for her clothing line to be a part of the New York Fashion Week, returning in 2011. In December 2010, the clothing line was made available to over 50 countries through the line’s official website. “It’s fun to be a chick and design clothes and things I’d like for myself. I design things I [can’t] find.”
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. 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.” Black Star won the 2010 Best “Women’s Scent Mass” by Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW). Black Star was followed by a second fragrance in July 2010, Forbidden Rose, which took two years to develop. It features notes of red apple, winepeach, black pepper, lotusflower, heliotrope, shellflower, praline agreement, sandalwood, and vanilla. Its message is an extension of Black Star’s “follow your dreams”, though the tagline for the new perfume is “Dare to Discover”. The commercial takes place in a gothic garden setting, where Lavigne, upon entering the garden, finds a single, purple rose. Lavigne launched a third fragrance, Wild Rose, in August 2011 and filmed the commercial for it in late 2010. The tagline for the fragrance is “Dare to discover more”. It features notes of mandarin, pink grapefruit, plum, orange blossom, frangipani, blue orchid, musk, sandalwood and crème brûlée.
In January 2010, Lavigne began working with Disney to incorporate Alice in Wonderland-inspired designs into her Abbey Dawn line of clothing. 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.
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