Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne Whibley (born September 27, 1984), better known by her birth name of Avril Lavigne (pronounced /ˈævrɨl ləˈviːn/), is a Canadian Grammy award-nominated rock singer, musician, fashion designer and actress. In 2006, Canadian Business Magazine ranked her the seventh most powerful Canadian in Hollywood.

Lavigne’s debut album, Let Go, was released in 2002. Over 16 million copies were sold worldwide and it was certified six times platinum in the United States. Her second and third albums, Under My Skin (2004) sold 8 million copies and The Best Damn Thing (2007) currently over 5 million copies sold respectively, reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. Lavigne has scored six 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” which became #1 hits in the ARC Top 40. In December 2007, Lavigne was ranked at #7 in the Forbes “Top 20 Earners Under 25”, with an annual earnings of $12 million. Currently, Avril Lavigne has sold about 30 million albums worldwide.

 

Background

Lavigne was born in Belleville, Ontario on September 27, 1984, the daughter of Judy and John Lavigne. Lavigne’s birth name is usually pronounced in an anglicized way as above (“La-Veen”). In French, it is commonly pronounced /avʁil laˈviɲ/ (help·info)). Avril is French for “April”, while la vigne means “the vineyard”. Her French-Canadian parents are devoutly Baptist. She has an elder brother, Matthew, and a younger sister, Michelle. Lavigne’s mother was the first to spot young Lavigne’s talent. At the age of two, Lavigne began singing along with her mother on church songs. The family moved to Napanee, Ontario, when Lavigne was five years old.

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 “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, 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 had a fabulous and unique experience with Avril, who was then a 16-year-old rapidly growing songwriter with tremendous raw talent. The songs were conceived on piano and guitar by four people: The Matrix (3) and Avril. Avril was instrumental in the songs’ creation. We were all very close during the making of the record.”

Music career

Let Go (2002–2003)

Let Go was released on June 4, 2002 in the United States, it has reached 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.

The album shows definite pop rock roots; however, alternative and post-grunge influences can be heard in some of the songs.

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 was the best selling album of the year for a female artist and for a debut album in 2002. As of December 2007 the album has sold 6.6 million copies in the U.S and more than 16 million worldwide.

Four singles from the album were released. The first single, “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 Chile.

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 (2004–2006)

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.

This album has a stronger alternative feel, along with songs showing punk-pop edges (such as He Wasn’t and I Always Get what I Want), or soft post-grunge sounds (Freak Out and Who Knows).

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 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 “Favorite 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 album has sold more than 8 million copies.

The Best Damn Thing (2007–present)

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. Lavigne’s third single from the album is “Hot”.

This album has a high punk-pop influence, with punk rock guitar riffs and poppy choruses.

“Girlfriend” has been used as the theme song for the Japanese idol hosted talk show Cartoon KAT-TUN. On May 2, 2007, she made a guest appearance during the show. She played a game of darts with the KAT-TUN group.

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. The album had sold a total of 4.1 million copies worldwide in by December 2007. Avril is currently on the “Best Damn Thing” tour the duration of this tour lasts until August 13th 2008. (extension dates may occur)

Allegations of plagiarism and criticism of songwriting

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, saying “I would like to apologize for any misconceptions concerning Avril Lavigne, which may have resulted from statements I made in my interview with Performing Songwriter Magazine. It was not my intention to call Avril’s songwriting ability or ethics into question. My statements and any inference from my statements, which call into question Avril’s ethics or ability as a respected and acclaimed songwriter, should be disregarded and are retracted. Avril is an accomplished songwriter and it has been my privilege to work with her.”. Kreviazuk and Lavigne share the same manager, Nettwerk Management.

In January 2008 Dubar and Gangwer dropped their lawsuit and retracted their allegations of plagiarism after the case was settled confidentially.

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.

Other works

Covers

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. Lavigne has also covered The Goo Goo Dolls’ mega-hit “Iris”, actually performing a duet of the song with the band’s lead singer and lyricist John Rzeznik at the Fashion Rocks concert in 2004, which was produced by Eric Book.

Other covers which were performed live include:

  • “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan
  • “No One Needs to Know” by Shania Twain
  • “Basket Case” by Green Day
  • “The Scientist” by Coldplay
  • “All the Small Things” by blink-182
  • “Chop Suey!” by System of a Down
  • “Fuel” by Metallica
  • “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett
  • “You Were Mine” by Dixie Chicks
  • “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer
  • “Adia” by Sarah McLaughlin
Other appearances
  • “Hundred Million” by the pop-punk band Treble Charger
  • “Bethamphetamine (Pretty, Pretty)” by the hard rock singer Butch Walker
  • Lavigne has also been featured in a comic series called Make 5 Wishes. She stars as herself, a pop star, who is idolized by the protagonist of the story.
Abbey Dawn

Abbey Dawn is a clothing line produced by Kohl’s and designed by Avril Lavigne, scheduled to be released in the US in July. The line is named after Avril’s childhood nickname. Described as a “juniors lifestyle brand”, the line will include hoodies and jeans with skull and zebra patterns similar to the artwork on Lavigne’s album The Best Damn Thing.

 

Film career

Lavigne made her film debut in the animated film Over the Hedge, which is based on the comic strip of same name. She worked alongside William Shatner, Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Wanda Sykes, Nick Nolte and Steve Carell. She is also acting in the Richard Gere film The Flock, as the girlfriend of a crime suspect, and her third project was Fast Food Nation, based on her favorite book. Lavigne wrote and recorded a song titled “Keep Holding On” with Dr. Luke, for the Eragon film soundtrack; it was included on her third album, The Best Damn Thing. The song was released for digital download on November 28, and made its worldwide debut on radio on November 17. It reached the top spot on the Canadian top twenty. She also recorded the theme song for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

Lavigne made a cameo in the film Going the Distance and also appeared in an episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, performing “Sk8er Boi” with her band.

It was reported by the British publication The London Paper that she recently landed a lead role in an upcoming film. “I’ve got a film role coming up – something you wouldn’t expect from me, something deep and dark.”

 

Filmography
Year Title Role Notes
2002 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Herself Television episode (Bada-Ping!) Guest-star; performed “Sk8er Boi”
2004 Going the Distance Herself Cameo; performed “Losing Grip”
2004 Madtv Herself Cameo; performed
2006 Fast Food Nation Alice College activist
2006 Over the Hedge Heather Voice
2007 The Flock Beatrice Bell Suspect’s Girlfriend
2009 TBA TBA Lead role

 

Media image

In Lavigne’s official MySpace page, she affirms that her music genre is Pop/Punk/Rock; but Allmusic and other reviewers consider her “Punk, Punk-pop, Pop/Rock, Alternative Rock, Alternative Pop-Rock, Modern Rock and Post-Grunge”. The reason for the confusion appears to be for her punk-like appearance, however, she has frequently stated that she’s “not punk”, and that she never claimed to be. Lavigne said this despite her many claims to be a “skater punk” in her earlier years. Lavigne cites many early punk bands and figures as influences, but her music has little in common with 1970s punk rock.

Personal life

In the January 2003 issue of Seventeen magazine, she admitted to “snagging a bite of Matt’s cheeseburgers every now and again.” She said also she prefers not to eat meat, but will not say she’s a vegetarian “in case anyone caught her eating meat”.

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, which represents her now husband Deryck Whibley.

In February 2004, she began dating fellow Canadian singer Deryck Whibley, the lead singer/guitarist of 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 Montecito, California. When asked if they were ready for kids the couple said “not right now but somewhere down the road.”

Avril once said in an interview that her favorite party song is “Hey Ya”, by Outkast. She likes listening to Third Eye Blind, Oasis, Marilyn Manson, System of a Down and Blink-182, and loves especially the track “I Miss You”. Asked what she would put on a mix tape to a boy she liked, Avril answered: “Iris”, by Goo Goo Dolls. I’d put a few Coldplay and Oasis songs. Radiohead — The Bends is one of my favorite albums.”

Charities

Lavigne has been involved in a number of charities, such as Make Some Noise, Amnesty International, AmericanCPR.org, Camp Will-a-Way, Music Clearing Minefields, U.S. Campaign for Burma, Make-a-Wish Foundation and War Child. She has also appeared in ALDO ads with YouthAIDS to raise money to educate people worldwide about HIV/AIDS.

Lavigne worked with Reverb, a non-profit environmental organization, for her 2005 east coast tour.

Lavigne also covered ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ for War Child’s Peace Songs compilation.

Avril Lavigne has also been taking part of the Unite Against Aids concert presented by ALDO in support of Unicef on November 28th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec Canada. Special guest artists also includes Marie-Mai and Sarah McLachlan. Canada’s #1 winner of the United Against Aids Video Contest, Sina Soksowath Var has won the contest with a total of 161 votes winning Avril’s autographed album and photo.

Backing band

Current members
  • Al Berry — bass guitar, backing vocals (2007 – present)
  • Rodney Howard — drums, percussion, backing vocals (2007 – present)
  • Stephen Anthony Ferlazzo Jr. — electronic keyboard, backing vocals (2007 – present)
  • Jim McGorman — rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2007 – present)
  • Steve Fekete — lead guitar, backing vocals (2008 – present)
  • Sofia Toufa — backing vocals, dancer (2007 – present)
  • Lindsay Bluafarb — backing vocals, dancer (2007 – present)

 

Past members
  • Mark Spicoluk — bass guitar, backing vocals (April 2002 – September 2002)
  • Jesse Colburn — rhythm guitar (2002 – January 2004)
  • Evan Taubenfeld — lead guitar, backing vocals (2002 – September 2004)
  • Craig Wood — rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2004 – January 2007)
  • Matt Brann — drums, percussion (2002 – February 2007)
  • Charlie Moniz — bass guitar (2002 – February 2007)
  • Devin Bronson — lead guitar, backing vocals (2004 – 2008)

Soon after departing Lavigne’s band, Taubenfeld formed The Black List Club, later signing up Bronson as lead guitarist.

Discography

Albums

Year Album
2002 Let Go
  • 1st studio album
  • Released: June 4, 2002
2004 Under My Skin
  • 2nd studio album
  • Released: May 25, 2004
2007 The Best Damn Thing
  • 3rd studio album
  • Released: April 17, 2007

Singles

Single Year Album
2002 “Complicated” Let Go
“Sk8er Boi”
“I’m with You” 2
2004 “Don’t Tell Me” Under My Skin
“My Happy Ending”
“Nobody’s Home”
2005 “He Wasn’t” 7
2007 “Girlfriend” The Best Damn Thing
“When You’re Gone”
“Hot”
2008 “The Best Damn Thing”

Awards

Read more about Avril Lavigne Awards at WikiPedia: List of Avril Lavigne awards

References

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External links

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