Avril Ramona Lavigne (pronounced /ˈævrɨl ləˈviːn/; born 27 September 1984) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, fashion designer, actress, and philanthropist. She was born in Belleville, Ontario, but spent the majority of her youth in the small town of Napanee. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16, she had signed a recording contract with Arista, now RCA Records. Record executive Antonio "L.A." Reid offered her a two-album deal worth more than $2 million. When she was 17 years old, Lavigne broke onto the music scene with her debut album, Let Go, released in 2002.
Let Go made Lavigne the youngest female soloist to reach #1 in the UK, and the album was certified four-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. As of 2009, over 16 million copies had been sold worldwide, more than 6 million of which were sold in the United States. Her breakthrough single, "Complicated", peaked at #1 in many countries around the world, as did the album Let Go. Her second album, Under My Skin, was released in 2004 and was her first album to peak at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 , eventually selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. The Best Damn Thing, Lavigne’s third album, was released in 2007. This album gave Lavigne her third #1 album in the UK Albums Chart and featured her first U.S. Billboard Hot 100 #1 single, "Girlfriend". Lavigne has scored a total of five #1 singles worldwide, including "Complicated", "Sk8er Boi", "I'm With You", "My Happy Ending" and "Girlfriend". With more than 30 million copies of her albums sold worldwide, Lavigne is currently one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the U.S., with over 10.25 million copies certified by the RIAA. Her fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby, will be released in March 2011.
Lavigne branched out from recording music, pursuing careers in feature film acting and designing clothes and perfumes. She voiced a character in the animated film, Over the Hedge, in 2006. That same year, she made her on-screen feature film debut in Fast Food Nation. In 2008, Lavigne introduced her clothing line, Abbey Dawn, and in 2009, she released her first perfume, Black Star, which was followed by her second perfume, Forbidden Rose, in 2010. Her third fragrance is due out in August 2011. In July 2006, Lavigne married her boyfriend of two years, Deryck Whibley, lead singer and guitarist for Sum 41. The marriage lasted a little over three years, and in October 2009, Lavigne filed for divorce. Whibley and Lavigne have continued to work together after the divorce, with Whibley producing her upcoming fourth album, as well as Lavigne's single, "Alice", written for Tim Burton's film Alice in Wonderland.
Avril Ramona Lavigne was born in Belleville, Ontario, the daughter of Judith-Rosanne "Judy" (née Loshaw) and Jean-Claude Lavigne. Her father, who is of French Canadian descent, named her Avril after the French word for the month of April. She has an older brother, Matthew, and a younger sister, Michelle. A daughter of a working-class family, Lavigne, at the age of two, began singing church songs along with her mother. When Lavigne was five years old, the family moved to Napanee, Ontario, a town with an approximate population of 5,000. Although she struggled with paying attention in school, sometimes kicked out of class for misbehaving, her parents were supportive of her singing. Her father bought her a microphone, a drum kit, a keyboard, several guitars, and converted their basement into a studio. When Lavigne was 14, her parents would take 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 1998, Lavigne won a radio contest to perform with fellow Canadian singer Shania Twain at the Corel Centre (now Scotiabank Place) in Ottawa, before an audience of 20,000 people. Twain and Lavigne sang "What Made You Say That", and Lavigne told Twain she was going to be "a famous singer". During a performance with the Lennox Community Theatre, Lavigne was spotted by local folk singer 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 the Canadian management firm Nettwerk, received a copy of Lavigne's karaoke performances recorded in her parents' basement, and arranged for Lavigne to work with Peter Zizzo in New York during the summer of 2000, where she wrote the song "Why?". It was on a subsequent trip to New York that Lavigne was noticed by Arista Records.
Lavigne would go on to sell more than 30 million copies of her albums worldwide, becoming one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the U.S., with over 10.25 million copies certified by the RIAA. Billboard named Lavigne the #10 pop artist in the "Best of the 2000s" chart, and she was listed as the 28th overall best act of the decade based on album sales, chart success, and cultural relativity in the U.S.
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Avril Lavigne Biography
Avril Lavigne was born on September 27, 1984 in a 5,000 population town called Napanee, which is located in Ontario, Canada. As the middle child, she always tried to grab the attention when it wasn't on her.
Anything but ordinary. That's putting it mildly when describing Avril Lavigne. A skater-punk, a dynamic spirit, a true wild child. One of those rare creatures who started wowing people with her voice and character at around age 2. She was in many talent shows as a child. She got her first guitar at a young age.
"I always knew this was what I had to do," she says. "I remember when I was really young, standing on my bed like it was a stage, singing at the top of my lungs and visualizing thousands of people surrounding me". She segued from her bedroom to singing, well, whenever and wherever she could-starting in church singing gospel music, and on to festivals, then singing country music at fairs and talent contests-until she was discovered by Arista Records.
She broke out of Napanee, Ontario when she was 16. She had been writing her own songs ever since she got her first guitar and has been skateboarding ever since she was 14. A startlingly up-front and outrageous 17-year-old with everything it takes to reach stardom-completely on her own terms. "I'm just coming out and I'm going to clearly be myself-I write what I feel, I never worry what others think, " Avril avows. "I'm gonna dress what's me, I'm gonna act what's me and I'm gonna sing what's me".
Avril does exactly that on her debut CD, Let Go, flaunting sassy vocals, a crystal clear voice with real-girl lyrical style. "Anything But Ordinary" is a rockin' ode to individuality, while guitar-driven first single, "Complicated," is a simple song that kicks pretenders to the curb. The string-inflected "I'm With You" reaches out for connection to reflect Avril's more mellower side, but tracks like "Losing Grip" and "Unwanted" courageously confront rejection and betrayal with all the heaviness such subjects demand. Then there's "My World" and the metaphoric "Mobile," which perfectly articulate the Avril experience. "I have this awesome opportunity to fulfill my dream. I am all over the place, flying here and there, going through different stuff every day," she explains. "This is my lifestyle, but I wouldn't want a normal life or I'd get bored".
While she was in New York, she got signed to Arista Records by L.A Reid. "I don't like it when people say that Antonio "L.A" Reid discovered me. I discovered myself." Avril says. It pisses her off if anyone says something about L.A discovering her. This seventeen year old is very unique. She wrote every single one of her songs. "Everytime I got home, I went to my guitar and wrote a song about what happened to me that day. I don't care if nobody cares because it's the way I'm feeling and that's what I'm going to write about." Avril says, about the inspiration for her songs. That's what makes Avril so unique. She writes her own songs and she refuses to do something that she doesn't want to do. For instance, take a photo shoot. "At one photo shoot, they tried to glam me all up and I didn't like it. They just wouldn't listen to me." she says.
Although Avril virtually lived in the studio during that New York stint, her efforts didn't pay off at first. "I started working with these really talented people, but I just wasn't feeling it; the songs weren't representative of me," she admits. "Then they started talking about having people write for me, but I had to write myself. I had to do my music. It was a really stressful time, but I never considered giving up." Instead, she flipped coasts. Los Angeles gave Avril the fresh start she needed.
It was there that she hooked up with producer/songwriter Clif Magness, and "I was like, "Yeah! I've found my guy!'" she enthuses. "We totally clicked, because he just let me guide; he really understood me and let me do my thing." The songs for Let Go began pouring out, with Magness at the helm as well as up-and-coming production team the Matrix. Soon after Avril hooked up with Nettwerk Management who've steered the careers of Sarah McLachlan, Dido, Coldplay, Barenaked Ladies and Sum 41.
Avril couldn't be happier with the way the album turned out. "In this past year I've really grown as a writer. 'Complicated' wasn't written about anyone in particular. It is basically about life, people being fake and relationships." As to one of her favorite tracks, "Losing Grip," she says, "That is definitely one of my ex-boys-he didn't give me what I needed emotionally." Avril laughs, "It doesn't matter now, and plus I got a good song out of it."
Her album "Under My Skin" opens with the dramatic tracks "Take Me Away" and "Together," which set the scene for the kick-ass guitars and radio-ready chorus of "Don't Tell Me," a song of willful female empowerment that picks up where "Complicated" left off. From there it's a one-two punch of three-chord guitar licks ("He Wasn't") and head-bopping optimism ("Who Knows") alongside swirling, brooding melodies ("Freak Out") and moody tracks ("Forgotten," "Nobody's Home") that reveal a darker side of Avril Lavigne.
"I grew up so much in the past two years," admits the Napanee, Ontario, native. "I've been through a lot, I've learned a lot, and experienced a lot both good and bad. These songs are about all of that, and each is very personal to me." Working with producers, Butch Walker (of the Marvelous 3), Raine Maida (of Our Lady Peace), Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Pearl Jam), Avril co-wrote the dozen introspective songs on Under My Skin in near secrecy. "I'd just come off my world tour and got back to Toronto and was writing right away," the 19-year-old says. "I had no idea what I was going to do. No one did. People wondered if I'd run out of things to write about, but it was the opposite."
After a lunch date with fellow Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk turned into a major chick-bonding session, Avril and Chantal sat down to write. The chemistry was ineffable. "We got together one night and all of a sudden we had a song," she says. "No one knew what I was up to, not my management, not my label." The duo got together the next night and wrote another song. "We did that for two weeks and wrote 12 songs." Momentum took over and by summer Avril was moving into Chantal and her husband Raine Maida's Malibu house to record. "I was only off my tour for a couple of weeks, and I was ready to record," Avril recalls.
The California air provided a needed escape from Avril's frantic life. "It was a great time for me, living out there, being out of the public eye, and having my independence. And my friendship with Chantal evolved into one of the best I've ever had." Chantal and Avril would spend all night in the studio perfecting the songs. During the day, Avril learned the city by driving to and from the studio and wherever she needed to be. No photos, no interviews, no pressure. Eventually they recorded most of the songs in Raine's studio, and those songs appear unaltered on Under My Skin. The rest of the tracks, co-written with her guitarist Evan Taubenfeld (and one track with former Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody), were cut just up the road. "I was involved in every aspect of making this record. I'm very hands-on," she says. "I knew how I wanted the drums, the guitar tones, and the structures to be. I understand the whole process so much better this time because I've been through it. I'm really picky with my sound."
Picking favorites out of her 12 hand-made babies is another matter. "They all mean so much to me, but I love 'Together,' which is all about being in a relationship and knowing it's not right. It's a song that basically says, it's not working out honey." A couple of other tracks mine dysfunctional relationships and have hooks as catchy as those on "Complicated" and real-life narratives (like "Sk8er Boi"), but what truly underscores Avril's growth are the more positive tracks, such as "Who Knows" and "Take Me Away." "I guess that's just the way that I am now," admits the former supposed attitude junkie. Deep, piano-driven tracks like "Together" and "Forgotten" reflect Avril's growth, maturity, and change since the release of Let Go. "I'm happy with what I'm doing and have faith that everything is going to work out for the best." She's also found a feminine side to offset her well-publicized tomboyishness. "I'm such a chick. I'm a hopeless romantic, and surprisingly old-fashioned," Avril laughs. "That's why I wrote a song about not giving it up to just any guy ["Don't Tell Me"]." Girly quirks aside, Avril's anxious to get the show on the road. "It feels so good to be singing new songs," she says. "I feel refreshed and I'm looking forward to the next thing."
Optimistic or melancholic, Avril's two-year wild-ride on the rock-star express has shaped her world view and taught her a whole lot about balance. "The songs on Under My Skin are definitely deeper than those on Let Go," she says, "But I still love a good pop song. I'm basically just a girl who likes to write, who likes to rock out, and who wants music to be a part of my life forever."
But Avril's music is capable of reaching the girls and the guys, and more than a few adventurous adults too-and she's chomping at the bit to bring it to 'em. "I can't wait to be out there; I want to rock the world! I want people to know that my music is real and honest - it came from my heart. I was just being true to myself."