When singer, songwriter and musician Avril Lavigne first burst onto the music scene at age 17 in 2002, she was known as a young pop-punk tomboy who refused to resort to skin-baring come-ons; preferring instead to entice the record-buying public with her powerhouse voice, high-spirited melodies and straight-talking lyrics. Staying steadfastly true to herself and putting music before image paid off both critically and commercially for the Canadian-born artist.
Lavigne shot to global pop stardom in 2002 with six-time-platinum debut album Let Go, followed by triple-platinum 2004 album Under My Skin and 2007 platinum-seller The Best Damn Thing. She has concurrently scored a string of international hit singles, including “Complicated,” “Sk8er Boi,” “I’m With You,” “Losing Grip,” “Don’t Tell Me,” “My Happy Ending,” “Nobody’s Home,” “Keep Holding On,” “Girlfriend,” “When You’re Gone,” “Hot,” and “The Best Damn Thing.” She has earned eight Grammy nominations, won seven Juno Awards in Canada and sold more than 30 million albums and nearly 20 million tracks worldwide
Lavigne also launched a second career as an entrepreneur by creating well-received fashion and lifestyle brand Abbey Dawn, and three fragrances (Black Star, Forbidden Rose and Wild Rose). She has also branched out into film work (Over the Hedge, Fast Food Nation, The Flock), and has long committed herself to philanthropic activities including the Avril Lavigne Foundation, which she founded to work with leading charitable organizations in designing and delivering programs, raising awareness and mobilizing support for children and youth living with serious illnesses and disabilities.
With her multiple creative endeavors and impressive musical success, it’s worth noting that while Lavigne may be young by veteran performer standards, she has evolved as a person and as an artist since releasing The Best Damn Thing. Proof of that came with 2011 fourth album Goodbye Lullaby, which showed maturity and insight gained through experience.
“I pushed myself and didn’t hold back,” Lavigne said of Goodbye Lullaby, for which she wrote or co-wrote every song and wrote and produced two — “4 Real” and “Goodbye” — entirely on her own.
“I allowed myself to be vulnerable,” she said. “I think it’s during the real moments that people can relate the most. Those who have heard the album have had very strong emotional reactions to the songs, so I realized that when something is so real, it will probably touch somebody. The beauty of music is that it’s open to interpretation.”
A small-town girl from Napanee, Ontario, Lavigne had already been writing, singing, and performing for a few years before releasing breakthrough album Let Go. In addition to her hit albums and singles, she has also graced feature films soundtracks such as Sweet Home Alabama, Bruce Almighty, Legally Blonde 2, The Princess Diaries 2 and The House Bunny. Lavigne wrote “Alice” in 2010 for Tim Burton film fantasy Alice in Wonderland. The video for “Alice” depicted Lavigne’s own adventure down the rabbit hole, and she also brought her fashion brand into the mix by designing Alice in Wonderland pieces for Abbey Dawn that sold in stores in connection with the film.
It’s been a whirlwind journey for Lavigne, who says the thing she values most about her career is getting the opportunity to hit the road and perform for her fans around the world.
“My fans are hardcore,” she said. “They are very dedicated and really supportive — the kind of fans who stick around. It’s been an amazing experience meeting them after shows and reading their letters, because the things they’ll say to me are very special. People have come up and started crying, saying, ‘You have no idea what your music has done for me.’” That’s all I need to hear. If I can give even one person strength through my music, that’s pretty frickin’ special.”