Born: September 27, 1984
Birthplace: Belleville, Ontario, Canada
Avril Ramona Lavigne (/ˈævrɪl
Her debut studio album, Let Go (2002), emphasized a skate punk persona in which she has since been often referred by critics and music publications as the "Pop Punk Queen", due to her achievement and impact in the industry. Lavigne is considered a key musician in the development of pop punk music, since she paved the way for female-driven, punk-influenced pop music. Since her professional debut, Lavigne has sold more than 40 million albums and over 50 million singles worldwide, making her the third-best-selling Canadian female artist of all time, behind Celine Dion and Shania Twain.
Lavigne's breakthrough single, "Complicated", reached number one in several countries worldwide and led to Lavigne becoming the youngest female soloist to have a number-one album in the United Kingdom. Her second studio album, Under My Skin (2004), became Lavigne's first album to reach the top of the Billboard 200 chart in the United States, going on to sell 10 million copies worldwide. The Best Damn Thing (2007), Lavigne's third studio album, reached number one in seven countries worldwide and saw the international success of its lead single "Girlfriend", which became her first single to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Her fourth and fifth studio albums, Goodbye Lullaby (2011) and Avril Lavigne (2013), saw continued commercial success and were both certified gold in Canada, the United States, and other territories.
In addition to music, Lavigne voiced Heather, a Virginia opossum, in the animated film Over the Hedge (2006), and made her screen acting debut in Fast Food Nation (2006). In 2008, Lavigne introduced her clothing line, Abbey Dawn, and in 2009, she released her first perfume, Black Star, which was followed by Forbidden Rose in 2010, and Wild Rose in 2011. Lavigne has been married twice: to Deryck Whibley from 2006 to 2010, and Chad Kroeger from 2013 to 2015.Lavigne was born in 1984 at Belleville, Ontario, Canada. Her mother is of English, Scottish, and German descent, and her father, Jean-Claude Joseph Lavigne, is of French-Canadian origin. She was named "Avril" by her father after the French word for the month of April. He and Lavigne's mother, Judith-Rosanne "Judy" Lavigne (née Loshaw), recognized their child's vocal abilities when she was two years old and sang "Jesus Loves Me" on the way home from 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 Greater Napanee, Ontario, a town with a population of approximately 5,000. In school, she 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 led the family to church at Third Day Worship Center in Kingston, Ontario, where he often played bass. When Lavigne was 14 years old, her parents took 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 the 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 a Canadian management firm, Nettwerk, received a copy of Lavigne's karaoke performances recorded in her parents' basement. Jowett arranged for Lavigne to work with producer 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 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. Lavigne's band was chosen by Nettwerk, as they wanted young performers who were up and coming from the Canadian punk rock scene who would fit with Lavigne's personality.
Most critics and publications, such as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, NME, MusicMight, IGN and PopMatters, have identified Lavigne as a mix of alternative rock, pop punk and pop rock, influenced by a post-grunge sound.
While Lavigne denied being angry, her interviews were still passionate about the media's lack of respect for her songwriting. She said "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, saying that "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, saying that "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, saying that "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's earlier influences came from country music acts such as Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain; and alternative singer-songwriters such as Alanis Morissette, Lisa Loeb, Natalie Imbruglia and Janis Joplin. By the time she left school to focus on her music career, Lavigne was musically more influenced by skate punk, pop punk and punk rock acts such as blink-182, Sum 41, NOFX, Pennywise, Dashboard Confessional, Green Day, the Ramones, the Distillers and Hole. She also enjoyed metal bands such as Marilyn Manson, System of a Down, Incubus and the Used; as well as alternative bands such as Nirvana, No Doubt, the Goo Goo Dolls, Radiohead, Coldplay, Oasis, Third Eye Blind and Matchbox Twenty.
Because of these influences, musical genres, and Lavigne's 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 commented on the matter: "I have been labeled like I'm this angry girl, rebel ... punk, and I am so not any of them." However, she has also said that her music has punk influences: "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 heavy pop-rock, which is what I really do."
In 2003, Lavigne won an International Achievement Award for the song "Complicated" at the SOCAN Awards in Toronto. Lavigne received eight Grammy Awards nominations in two years, including Best New Artist. She has also received three American Music Awards nominations, one Brit Award nomination, and one MTV Video Music Award. She has received a total of 221 awards and 301 nominations.
By 2013, Lavigne had sold more than 50 million singles and 40 million copies of her albums worldwide, becoming one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the US, with over 12.4 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 US.
Lavigne is considered a highlight in the pop-punk and alternative pop-rock scene since she helped to paved the way for the success of female-driven punk-influenced pop music, such as Paramore, Skye Sweetnam, Fefe Dobson, Lillix, Kelly Osbourne, Krystal Meyers, Tonight Alive, and Hey Monday. She has been compared to alternative female singer-songwriters of the 1990s such as Alanis Morissette, Liz Phair and Courtney Love and earned a reputation as the greatest female representative of pop-punk music, and has been called one of the female singers who best represent 2000s rock music. Lavigne also was seen as a fashion icon for her skatepunk and rocker style. "Sk8er Boi", "He Wasn't" and "Girlfriend" are frequently listed among the best pop-punk songs of all time by critics.
Lavigne holds a Guinness World Record as being the youngest female solo artist to top the UK album chart, on January 11, 2003 at the age of 18 years and 106 days. The album Let Go reached number one in its 18th chart week. She also was the first to reach 100 million views on a YouTube video, with her 2007 single "Girlfriend". Lavigne was the first western artist to do a full tour in China, with The Best Damn Tour in 2008; and is considered the biggest western artist in Asia, especially in Japan where her first three albums have sold more than 1 million copies, being the only Female Western Artist since the 2000s to achieve it. Avril Lavigne is the only artist to have performed on three different multi-sport event, such as two closing ceremonies of Winter Olympic Games (Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010) and in the opening ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
The singer's influences extend beyond pop rock, pop punk and teen pop to include acts such as Aly & AJ, Busted, Hilary Duff, Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens, Jessie J, Jonas Brothers, Brie Larson, Lesley Roy, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, Ariana Grande, Paramore, Amy Studt, Meghan Trainor, Hey Monday, Kelly Osbourne, Amanda Palmer, Misono, YUI, Demi Lovato, Kirstin Maldonado, and PVRIS. Lavigne also has fueled a ferocity influence on indie rock singer-songwriters, such as, Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail and Liz Phair.
On the rise of mid-to-late 2010s emo hip hop and emo rap, Lavigne have been noted as an influence of various musicians from that scene, like: Lil Uzi Vert, Princess Nokia, Lloyd Banks, Vic Mensa, Nipsey Hussle, John River, Baly Baby, Noname and Rico Nasty. American rapper Fat Tony, explained that Lavigne's traces of influences on hip hop and rap music comes because "she delivered a great visual catchy package that describes all of them". Rico Nasty named one of her alter egos, Trap Lavigne, citing "She is a perfect representation of being hard and soft she hated the term punk, but she was so punk rock".
Lavigne was featured in the 2003 game The Sims: Superstar as a non-playable celebrity.
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, 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 first volume was released in April 2007, and the second followed in July 2007. The publication Young Adult Library Services nominated the series for "Great Graphic Novels for Teens".
In September 2011, Lavigne appeared on the Hub Network televised singing competition Majors & Minors as a guest mentor, alongside other singers including Adam Lambert and Leona Lewis.
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 called her the "pop punk princess" and the female answer to Blink-182. 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." 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 developing 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".
Lavigne has been the subject of a conspiracy theory that states that she committed suicide in 2003, and was replaced by a body double who had previously been recruited to distract paparazzi. This originated as a joke on a Brazilian blog, but has since been embraced by some theorists.
|2002||Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Herself||Cameo appearance; performed "Sk8er Boi"|
|2003||Saturday Night Live||Herself||Season 28, episode 9|
|2004||Going the Distance||Herself||Cameo appearance; performed "Losing Grip"|
|2004||Saturday Night Live||Herself||Season 29, episode 19|
|2006||Fast Food Nation||Alice|
|2006||Over the Hedge||Heather||Voice only|
|2007||The Flock||Beatrice Bell|
|2010||American Idol||Herself||Guest judge (Los Angeles auditions)|
|2011||Majors & Minors||Herself||Guest mentor|
Avril Lavigne supports the following charitable cause: Children.