Kate's Notes

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne

Avril Ramona Lavigne-Whibley (born September 27, 1984) is probably best known for her rocker chick, punk-skater persona that initially thrust her into the limelight. With the song “Complicated” off of her debut album, Let Go, came a new feisty voice in the young pop-punk genre from a delicate female Canadian. Since then she has maintained her prominence in the music industry through a bevy of #1 hits, her marriage to Deryck Whibley of the Canadian alternative pop band Sum 41, and through a series of interviews where she vehemently defends her style of music against other pop stars out there, contending that it takes talent to do what she does: play the guitar, and write and sing her own songs. She has also stated that the image she upheld as a skater-punk chick was only for photo shoots. "I'm not punk", she has claimed about herself, and about her music genre as well. Even though her image was born of a rough exterior, she has since then transformed her look into a more grown up glamour girl.

Now she is known as a Juno Award-winning, Grammy-nominated Canadian rock singer, songwriter, model, and occasional actress, with a sophisticated and feminine style, although she has stated she is still a "rock chick" at heart. Her first two albums, Let Go (2002) and Under My Skin (2004), have topped charts in several countries. Her third album The Best Damn Thing (2007) is to be released on April 17, 2007.

Avril Lavigne is featured in Maxim magazine's Girls of Maxim gallery. In 2006, she was included in Canadian Business Magazine's ranking of the most powerful Canadians in Hollywood, grabbing the seventh position. She has sold over 25 million albums worldwide.

Early Life and Career

Born in Belleville, Ontario to a French-born father, and a Franco-Ontarian mother (both Catholic), Lavigne’s musical talent was first spotted at the age of two when she began singing along with her mother to church songs. At age five, she moved with her family to Napanee, Ontario, where she sang in a church choir and taught herself to play the guitar. Avril is extremely close to her younger sister Michelle Lavigne and her older brother Matthew Lavigne. Michelle is two years younger than Avril while Matt (Matthew) is three years older than Avril.

At first distinguished from her female peers in her hometown population of 5,000 because of her affinity for the baseball field in the summer and the hockey rink in the winter, Avril later became recognizable in the community on the basis of her musical performances.

In 1998, Lavigne won a competition to sing with fellow Canadian singer Shania Twain on her first major concert tour. She appeared alongside Twain at her concert in Ottawa, appearing on stage to sing.

She was discovered by her first professional manager, Cliff Fabri, while singing country covers at a Chapters bookstore in Kingston, Ontario. During a performance with the Lennox Community Theatre, Avril was spotted by local folk singer Steve Medd (a relation of the influential Canadian journalist, Ben Medd), who invited her to sing on his song "Touch The Sky" for his 1999 album Quinte Spirit. She also sang on "Temple Of Life" and "Two Rivers" for his follow up album, My Window To You, in 2000.

At the age of sixteen she was signed by Ken Krongard, the artists-and-repertoire A&R representative of Arista Records, who invited the head of Arista, Antonio "L.A." Reid, to hear her sing in a New York City studio. She then completed work on her first album.

Lavigne dropped out of high school after the 11th grade when she secured a record deal.

Music career

The classification of Lavigne's style of music has been debated. All Music Guide and other reviewers consider her to be "teen pop" or "adult/alternative pop-rock." It is questioned whether her music style is punk. The reason for the confusion appears to be for her punk-like appearance early in her career, probably started by her record company in the beginning of her career as the punky alternative to Britney Spears. However, there have been several occasions where she has stated "I'm not punk." Avril told Vainquer Magazine in April 2005, that she considered her music to be pop rock.

She has been quoted as saying "Actually, I know for a fact there are some young female artists who don't even sing on their own records and who don't sing live. And that is pathetic,” referring to her more pop idol contemporaries.

While Avril's vocal range and high-energy musical style has brought her comparisons ranging from Alanis Morissette to Pink, she has been adamant in positioning herself as a unique artist, one who runs counter to the mainstream. This persona has been nurtured thanks to the lyrics of such songs as "Sk8er Boi," wherein Avril is none too subtle in voicing her anti-conformist stance, and through her public remarks regarding other female musicians, notably Britney Spears. It is a formula which, to date, has worked like a charm: for a debut artist, Avril boasts a staggering fan base, and the media interest surrounding this young singer seems far from receding. Conjoin this one-of-a-kind personality with a memorable voice and obvious musical talents, and it seems as if Avril may be in the spotlight for some time to come.

Levign has stated that she would like to be more rock oriented on her next album and that "I'm just coming out and I'm going to clearly be myself - I write what I feel, I never worry what others think.” She also has said that she can write about a song a day.

Let Go (2001-2003)

Let Go was released on June 4, 2002 in the United States, reaching number two there and number one in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. This made Lavigne the youngest female soloist to have a number-one album in the UK up until that time (in 2003, 17-year-old English singer Joss Stone broke Lavigne's record). Lavigne described her first release Let Go as an album with "a couple of rock songs on it" and has voiced a desire to write more rock-oriented songs in the future.

Just over one month after its release, Let Go was certified both Gold and Platinum by the RIAA and reached multi-Platinum status, and just six months after its debut, it was certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA. It sold a total of 13,197,000 copies worldwide. It was the best selling album of the year for a female artist and for a debut album in 2002.

Four singles from the album were released. "Complicated" went to number one in Australia, while reaching number two on the U.S. Hot 100, and it was also one of the best-selling Canadian singles of 2002. Lavigne tied a record set by Natalie Imbruglia when "Complicated" held the number one spot on the Contemporary Hit Radio chart (which tracks air play on the radio) for 11 weeks in a row. "Sk8er Boi" reached the top ten in the U.S. and Australia, "I'm With You" reached the top ten in the U.S and the UK, and "Losing Grip" reached the top ten in Taiwan, and the top twenty in Chile.

Her first video, "Complicated", cost over $1 million.

Lavigne was named "Best New Artist" at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, won four Juno Awards in 2003 (out of six nominations), a World Music Award for World's Best-Selling Canadian Singer, and was nominated for 8 Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year for "Complicated" and Best New Artist.

Under My Skin (2004-2005)

Avril Lavigne's second album Under My Skin was released on May 25, 2004 in the U.S. It debuted at number one in the U.S., the UK, Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Ireland, Thailand, Korea and Hong Kong and sold more than 380,000 copies in the U.S. in its first week. Avril Lavigne wrote most of the album with Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, though some tracks were co-written by Ben Moody (formerly of Evanescence), Butch Walker of Marvellous 3, and her former lead guitarist Evan Taubenfeld. Kreviazuk's husband, Our Lady Peace front man Raine Maida, co-produced the album with Butch Walker and Don Gilmore.

Lead single "Don't Tell Me" went to number one in Argentina and Mexico, the top five in the UK and Canada, and the top ten in Australia and Brazil. "My Happy Ending" reached the top ten in the U.S., and was her third-biggest hit there, but third single "Nobody's Home" did not make the top forty. The fourth single from the album, "He Wasn't", reached a fair twenty-three in the UK and twenty-five in Australia, and was not released in the U.S. Fall To Pieces was released as the final single from the album, but did not do as well as previous singles.

Lavigne won two World Music Awards in 2004 for World's Best Pop/Rock Artist and World's Best-Selling Canadian Artist. She received five Juno Award nominations in 2005, picking up three, including Fan Choice Award, Artist of the Year, and Pop Album of the Year. She also won the award for Favourite Female Singer at the eighteenth Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

Lavigne co-wrote "Breakaway" with Matthew Gerard, which was recorded by Kelly Clarkson for the soundtrack to the film The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004). "Breakaway" was later included on Clarkson's second album Breakaway, being released as the album's first single. "Breakaway" peaked in the U.S. top ten and provided Clarkson with a substantial hit.

Avril was touring throughout most of 2005 and pursuing her acting and modelling careers. Lavigne represented Canada at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. She performed her song, "Who Knows", during the eight minutes of the Vancouver 2010 ortion. She also was the voice of Heather the possum in Dreamworks motion picture, Over The Hedge.

By the end of the year Avril Lavigne also co-wrote with Dr. Luke, the song "Keep Holding On" for the movie soundtrack Eragon. It has peaked at #17 in Billboard Hot 100.

The Best Damn Thing (2007)

Her third album The Best Damn Thing is currently set for release on April 17, 2007 (but might be put out earlier due to internet leaks) and is produced by Dr. Luke (Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Lady Sovereign and Daughtry), her husband Deryck Whibley (Sum 41), Rob Cavallo (Green Day, The Goo Goo Dolls, My Chemical Romance, Jewel), Butch Walker and herself. Travis Barker (Blink-182) has also recorded drums for Lavigne's new album. Avril says that her new album will contain love songs since "That's what I'm feeling at the moment," and that she enjoys being able to write songs with Butch Walker. It is said on the message board on her official website that her new album will contain 15 songs. "Of course, I still have my boy-bashing songs, but they're very playful. So the record is really fun and cool and different and honestly, I think it's my best record yet. I can say that with confidence."

Lavigne revealed on her Myspace.com blog that the first single from the album will be "Girlfriend." "Girlfriend" was supposed to be released on January 29th but the date has changed due to "Keep Holding On"'s increasing popularity on the radio. Avril will supposedly debut her video for "Girlfriend" on February 26th and her single premiered on Ottawa radio station Hot 89.9 on the morning of February 7, 2006. Avril has already shot the video for "Girlfriend." The Malloy Brothers, creators of her first video Complicated & "He Wasn't" directed the new video.

Movie Career

Avril Lavigne made her film debut in the animated film Over the Hedge, which is based on the comic strip of same name, alongside William Shatner, Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, and Steve Carell. She played one of the possums, Heather, in the film. She is also acting in the Richard Gere film The Flock, and her third project is Fast Food Nation, based on her favorite book. Lavigne has also written and recorded a new song titled "Keep Holding On" with Dr. Luke, to be part of the Eragon movie soundtrack, and will likely make the third album. The song was released for digital download on November 28, and made its worldwide debut on radio on November 17.

Personal Style and Influence

Until 2003, Lavigne travelled with a bag full of about 30 neckties. Some of them she bought, and the rest she took from her father; some were sent to her by fans. For a period in 2002 through 2003, girls across the country were wearing necktie’s, obviously influenced by Lavigne. Because of this, Lavigne stopped wearing neckties in 2003, as she was horrified at the media references to her style overshadowing her music, and that she was starting a fashion trend.

Avril Lavigne spoke about her new look in a September 2006 interview. She explains, "When I was in high school I was a little shit, hanging out with the guys, getting drunk, getting in fights, playing hockey. My band were [sic] all guys, so I was only around guys, but when I got older I started being more of a chick. I broke out on the scene looking like the 17-year-old that I was. And from then to now I look really different—but that's called growing up.”

Her personal style now borders on young-glamorous. She has stopped wearing cut off pants and all-star shoes, in favor of a more refined, feminine exterior.

Personal life

It has been speculated that Avril Lavigne is a vegetarian, but she has said many times that she is not. In the January 2003 issue of Seventeen magazine, she admitted to "snagging a bite of Matt's cheeseburgers every now and again." Also in a recent interview, she said she prefers not to eat meat, but will not say she's a vegetarian "in case anyone caught her eating meat."

As a teenager she would hang out at the La Pizzeria restaurant in Napanee, Ontario. In her Under My Skin Bonez documentary, she has stated that pizza with olive toppings is her favorite food, although she doesn't eat it too much because pizza is not good for her voice. Since her rise to fame, the restaurant has named a pizza after Avril that contains her favourite toppings and there is a guest book for fans to sign which is picked up by Avril when she visits friends and family in her home town.

Lavigne is good friends with Pink,Vanessa Carlton, and Fefe Dobson.

Avril Lavigne has a star tattooed on the inside of her left wrist that matches the style of the one used for her first album artwork. It was created at the same time as friend and musical associate Ben Moody's identical tattoo. In late 2004, she had a small pink heart-shaped tattoo featuring the letter 'D' applied to her right wrist — thought to be a reference to husband Deryck Whibley. She has bought a house with him in Beverly Hills.

Avril Lavigne was romantically linked to her former guitarist Jesse Colburn but despite rumours, she claims that she did not have a relationship with another former guitarist Evan Taubenfeld. However, Evan still considers Avril to be his "dearest friend in the whole world" as said on a recent Q&A on his band's official website. In a J-14 magazine from 2004, she talks about her first kiss being when she was 14 years old. In M magazine in 2003, an article was published about an ex-boyfriend selling her love letters on eBay.

In February 2004, she began dating fellow Canadian singer, Deryck Whibley, the lead singer/guitarist of pop punk band Sum 41. On June 27, 2005, Lavigne and Whibley became engaged. Whibley proposed to Avril Lavigne by surprising her with a trip to Venice, a gondola ride, and then a romantic picnic, which seems fitting as she has said "I might look like a tough chick - and I am - but I'm also a hopeless romantic inside."

On July 15, 2006, the couple married in Catholic ceremony that began at 5 p.m. that lasted only 20 minutes at a private estate in the California coastal city of Montecito. Lavigne wore a Vera Wang gown, carried pearl white Australian roses and was walked down the aisle by her father. Deryck Whibley wore a Hugo Boss suit and was accompanied by four best men. They were Steve Jocz and Cone McCaslin from Sum 41, Matthew Lavigne (Avril's older brother), and Sum 41's close friend Robb Dipple. Avril's younger sister Michelle Lavigne was one of Avril's bridesmaids. There were about 110 guests in attendance.

The hit song "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls was played as their wedding song. When asked if they were ready for kids they said "not right now but somewhere down the road."


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