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Avril Lavigne Whibley, better known by her birth name of Avril Lavigne (IPA: /ˈævrəl.ləˈviːn/), (born September 27, 1984) is a Canadian rock/punk-pop singer, musician and actress. In 2006, Canadian Business Magazine ranked her the seventh most powerful Canadian in Hollywood, and in 2007 she won ninth place in the Jabra Music Contest for the Best Band in the World, based on fan votes from around the world.
Lavigne’s birth name is usually pronounced in an anglicized way as /ˈævrəl ləˈviːn/ (“La-Veen”) (in French it is commonly pronounced /aˈvʁil laˈviːɲ/ (help·info)). Avril is French for “April”, while la vigne means “the vine” or “the vineyard“.
Lavigne’s debut album, Let Go, was released in 2002, and over 18 million copies were sold worldwide. and was certified six times platinum in the United States. Her second and third albums, Under My Skin (2004) and The Best Damn Thing (2007), respectively, reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. Lavigne has scored five number one songs worldwide to date and a total of eleven top ten hits, including “Complicated“, “Sk8er Boi“, “I’m with You“, “My Happy Ending“, and “Girlfriend“. She’s ranked # 50 on VH1’s “50 Greatest Women Of The Video Era” show list.
Avril Lavigne was born in Napanee, Ontario to a devout Christian family. Lavigne’s musical talent was first spotted at the age of two when her mother says Lavigne began singing along with her on church songs. The family moved to Napanee, Ontario, when Lavigne was five years old.
In 1998, Avril 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 “What Made You Say That“.
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, Lavigne 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 at the New York City studio of producer Peter Zizzo. She then completed work on her first album, Let Go. The Matrix, who worked extensively with Lavigne on the album, commented on her songwriting, saying, “We conceived the ideas on guitar and piano. Avril would come in and sing a few melodies, change a word here or there.”
Let Go (2002–2004)
- Main article: Let Go (Avril Lavigne album)
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, at seventeen, the youngest female soloist to have a number-one album in the UK up until that time.
Just over one month after its release, Let Go reached multi-platinum status in late-August, and was certified triple platinum two weeks after. Before the end of 2002, just six months after its debut, it was certified four times platinum by the RIAA. It sold a total of 14 million 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 one of the best-selling Canadian singles of 2002. Lavigne tied a record set by Natalie Imbruglia‘s “Torn” when “Complicated” held the number one spot on the contemporary hit radio chart (which tracks air play on the radio) for eleven 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
Lavigne was named “Best New Artist” 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 Best-Selling Canadian Singer”, and was nominated for eight Grammy Awards, including “Song of the Year” for “Complicated” and “Best New Artist“.
Under My Skin (2004–2005)
- Main article: Under My Skin
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. 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, her former lead guitarist Evan Taubenfeld, and her former drummer Matt Brann. 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” went to number one in Mexico and it reached the top ten in the U.S. making it her third-biggest hit there, but third single “Nobody’s Home” did not make the top forty in the U.S., and it only went to number one in Mexico and Argentina. The fourth single from the album, “He Wasn’t“, reached top forty positions in the UK and 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 performing in Geneva on June 9, 2005.
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 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. The song peaked inside the U.S. top ten and provided Clarkson with a substantial hit.
Lavigne went on a “Live and by Surprise” twenty-one city mall-tour in the U.S. and Canada, starting on March 4, 2004, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to promote Under My Skin. Each performance consisted of a short live acoustic set of songs from the new album. She was accompanied by her guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld. The venue in each city was not announced until forty-eight hours before the show. The tour was very popular and was successful in promoting the album. The set at Indianapolis on March 25, 2004, at Glendale mall included “He Wasn’t”, “My Happy Ending”, “Don’t Tell Me”, “Take Me Away”, “Nobody’s Home”, “Sk8er Boi”, and “Complicated”. Selections of this tour were released on the Avril Lavigne Live Acoustic EP, which was released in U.S. Target stores.
Lavigne was touring throughout most of 2005, and pursuing her acting and modelling careers. She represented Canada at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, performing her song “Who Knows” during the eight minutes of the Vancouver 2010 portion.
The Best Damn Thing (2007–present)
- Main article: The Best Damn Thing
Lavigne in Hong Kong, 2007.
Lavigne in the 2007 MuchMusic Video Awards.
Lavigne’s third album, The Best Damn Thing, was released on April 17, 2007 and debuted at number one in the U.S. The album was produced by Dr. Luke, Lavigne’s husband Deryck Whibley, Rob Cavallo, Butch Walker and Lavigne. Travis Barker recorded drums for the record. The first single from the album was “Girlfriend“, which became Lavigne’s first single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. On Ryan Seacrest‘s radio show Lavigne said that “When You’re Gone” would be the second single. Avril’s third single from the album is “Hot”.
Lavigne has been doing a small tour to promote The Best Damn Thing, with tickets available only to members of her fan club. She began the tour in Calgary, Alberta, and played for a crowd of around two hundred. This show was aired on television on April 2, 2007, on the CBC Network.
On May 25, 2007, Lavigne, her co-songwriter Lukasz Gottwald, and her record label were sued by songwriters James Gangwer and Tommy Dunbar over claims that her song “Girlfriend” infringes on their 1979 song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”, originally performed by The Rubinoos. In June 2007, Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, with whom Lavigne wrote the majority of her second album, Under My Skin, spoke to Performing Songwriter magazine about Lavigne’s songwriting, saying, “I mean, Avril, songwriter? Avril doesn’t really sit and write songs by herself or anything. Avril will also cross the ethical line and no one says anything. That’s why I’ll never work with her again. I sent her a song two years ago called ‘Contagious’, and I just saw the tracklisting to this album and there’s a song called ‘Contagious’ on it—and my name’s not on it. What do you do with that? See, I won’t [call the lawyers], I’ll just tell you. Art should not be subject to that kind of controversy.” On July 6, Lavigne denied both accusations in an open letter on her website, claiming that she had “never heard the [Rubinoos] song in [her] life” and also that she is considering taking legal action against Kreviazuk with regards to her allegations, which she considers “damaging to my reputation and a clear defamation of my character”. On July 10, Kreviazuk made a full public apology and retracted the statements made in the aforementioned interview.
The song “I Don’t Have to Try,” also stirred up controversy. Similarities between this song and Peaches’ 2003 song, “I’m the Kinda” has sparked further plagiarism speculations.
Lavigne recorded a cover of the John Lennon song “Imagine” as her contribution to the album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.
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 favourite food, although she doesn’t eat it too much because pizza is detrimental to her voice. Since her rise to fame, the restaurant has named a pizza after Lavigne that contains her favourite toppings and there is a guest book for fans to sign that Lavigne picks up when she visits friends and family in her home town.
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, with whom she has bought a house in Bel-Air, previously owned by another famous couple: Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler for $9.5 Million. The house has 8 bedrooms, 10.5 bathrooms, an office, elevator, a high-tech kitchen and a 10-car garage.
Lavigne was romantically linked to her former guitarist Jesse Colburn, but despite rumors, she did not have a relationship with another former guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld. However, Taubenfeld still considers Lavigne 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 fourteen years old.
In 2004, reports emerged that Hilary Duff and Lavigne were fighting. “I read that I was supposedly mad at my fans for dressing like me”, Newsweek quoted Lavigne as saying. “They quoted Hilary Duff saying, ‘Avril needs to appreciate her fans more and blah, blah, blah.’ I’m like, excuse me? First off, it’s not even true. I never said that. And second, who the hell cares what she has to say about my fans? Whatever. Hilary Duff’s such a goody-goody, such a mommy’s girl.” Recently, there were reports of drama between the two at a Maxim party in New York – with a complication in arrival times causing an unwanted run-in. Lavigne was said to be furious, pacing around and pressuring her company to leave.
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 Lavigne by surprising her with a trip to Venice, a gondola ride, and then a romantic picnic.
The couple married in a Catholic ceremony attended by about 110 guests on July 15, 2006 at a private estate in the California coastal city of Montecito. When asked if they were ready for kids the co
uple said “not right now but somewhere down the road.”