A Canadian singer-songwriter, fashion designer.
She was born in Belleville, Ontario, but spent most of her youth in the small 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 broke onto the music scene with her debut album Let Go. Since her professional debut, she has become one of the most successful artists in the world, selling 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 17 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 album, Under My Skin, was released in 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, Lavigneís 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 fifth album, which will be released on Epic Records following her departure from RCA Records.
Lavigne branched out 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 a little over three 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.
Avril Ramona Lavigne was born in Belleville, Ontario. Her father, Jean-Claude Joseph Lavigne, 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, Judith-Rosanne "Judy" (nťe Loshaw). Judy recognized her two-year-old daughter's talents after hearing her sing "Jesus Loves Me" in church. Lavigne has an older brother, Matthew, and a younger sister, Michelle, 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."
When Lavigne was five years old, the family moved to Napanee, Ontario, a town with a population of approximately 5,000. Although she struggled with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)and was sometimes kicked out of class for misbehaving as a child, 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. When Lavigne was 14, her parents would take her to karaoke sessions.
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".
In 1999, Lavigne won a radio contest to perform with fellow Canadian singer Shania Twain at the Corel Centre (now Scotiabank Place) in Ottawa, before an audience of 20,000 people Twain and Lavigne sang "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 on a subsequent trip to New York.
By 2013, Lavigne would go on to sell more than 50 million singles and 30 million copies of her albums worldwide, becoming one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the U.S., with over 10.25 million copies certified by the RIAA. In 2009, Billboard named Lavigne the number 10 pop artist in the "Best of the 2000s" chart. She was listed as the 28th overall best act of the decade based on album and single chart performance in the U.S
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.
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". 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".
When Lavigne first gained publicity, she was known for her tomboyish style, in particular her necktie-and-tank-top combinations. She preferred baggy clothes, skater shoes or Converses, wristbands, and sometimes shoelaces wrapped around her fingers. During photo shoots, instead of wearing "glittery get-ups", she preferred wearing "old, crumpled T's". In response to her fashion and musical influences, the media would call her the "pop punk princess".
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. "Iím not made up and Iím not being told what to say and how to act, so they have to call me the anti-Britney, which Iím not." By November 2002, however, Lavigne stopped wearing ties, claiming she felt she was "wearing a costume". 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."
Lavigne eventually took on a more gothic style as she began her second album, Under My Skin, trading her skating outfits for black tutus and earning an image marked by angst. During The Best Damn Thing years, Lavigne changed directions. She dyed her hair blonde with a pink streak, wore feminine outfits, including "tight jeans and heels", and modelled for magazines such as Harper's Bazaar. 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".
She now tries to eat healthy foods and practises yoga, soccer, surfing, rollerblading, and street hockey.
Avril Lavigne discography
Let Go (2002)
Under My Skin (2004)
The Best Damn Thing (2007)
Goodbye Lullaby (2011)
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