Avril Ramona Lavigne (pronounced /ˈævrɨl ləˈviːn/; born 27 September 1984) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, fashion designer, and occasional actress. Lavigne has sold more than 30 million copies of her albums worldwide. She is currently one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the United States, with over 10 million copies certified by the Recording Industry Association of America. Billboard named Lavigne the #10 pop artist of the 2000s as well as the 28th overall best act of the decade based on album sales, chart success, and cultural relativity in the USA. She was also ranked second most successful Canadian artist of the 2000s in the U.S., behind Shania Twain.
Lavigne broke into the recording industry with her debut album, Let Go, released in 2002. As of 2009, over 16 million copies were sold worldwide, more than 6 million of which were sold in the United States. Her second and third albums, Under My Skin and The Best Damn Thing, reached number one on the Global charts. Lavigne has scored five number-one singles worldwide, including “Complicated”, “Sk8er Boi”, “I’m With You”, “My Happy Ending” and “Girlfriend”. She is currently working on her fourth studio album, due in June 2010.
Avril Ramona Lavigne was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Judith-Rosanne “Judy” (née Loshaw) and Jean-Claude Lavigne. Lavigne’s father is of French Canadian descent, and named her Avril after the month “April” in French. She has an older brother, Matthew, and a younger sister, Michelle. Lavigne’s mother was the first to spot young Lavigne’s talent. A daughter of a working-class family, Lavigne, at the age of two, began singing church songs along with her mother. 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 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 2000 album, My Window to You.
In November 2000, Lavigne was signed by Ken Krongard, an A&R representative to Arista Records, who invited the head of Arista, Antonio “L.A.” Reid, to hear her sing at the Manhattan studio of producer Peter Zizzo. Signed as a singer, Lavigne was pitched with songs written by others. However, she dismissed them, insisting she wanted to write herself. For a year, Lavigne and Arista had conflicts in musical direction. She collaborated with the production team The Matrix, and the ensuing album became Let Go.
Because her songs have evolved, covering a variety of styles of music, Lavigne is not easily defined by only a few genres. Her music has been described as rock, pop rock, alternative rock, pop, pop punk, alternative pop, post-grunge, teen pop, and powerpop.
Lavigne’s influences are varied, and include Courtney Love, Goo Goo Dolls, Blink-182 and Janis Joplin.
Lavigne had 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, but her feature film debut was in the 2006 animated film Over the Hedge, which is based on the comic strip of same name. She voiced the character Heather, a Virginia Opossum.
Lavigne acted in the Richard Gere film The Flock, as the girlfriend of a crime suspect, and also appeared in the film Fast Food Nation, based on the book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.
In August 2006, Canadian Business magazine ranked her the seventh top Canadian actor dominating in Hollywood in their second-annual ranking Celebrity Power List. She is ranked second with the most web hits, and sixth in TV mentions.
In July 2008, Lavigne launched the clothing line Abbey Dawn, featuring a back-to-school collection. It is produced by Kohl’s, which is the brand’s exclusive US retailer. Named after Lavigne’s childhood nickname, Abbey Dawn is designed by Lavigne herself and concepts emanate from her. Kohl’s describe Abbey Dawn as a “juniors lifestyle brand”, which includes apparel and jewellery with skull and zebra patterns similar to the artwork featured on The Best Damn Thing album. Lavigne wore some of the clothes and jewellery from her line at various concerts before its official launch. The designs were also featured on the internet game Stardoll, where figures can be dressed up as Avril Lavigne. On 14 September 2009, Lavigne took her latest collection for her clothing line to be a part of the New York Fashion Week, one of the most prestigious fashion shows around the world.
Lavigne released her first fragrance called Black Star, created by Procter & Gamble Prestige Products. The fragrance was announced via Lavigne’s official website on 7 March 2009. Black Star, which contains notes of pink hibiscus, black plum and dark chocolate, released in summer 2009 in Europe, and later in America and Canada. It was expected to generate $50 million in sales.
Lavigne announced in March 2010 that her second fragrance will be called “Forbidden Rose” and will be an extension of Black Star’s “follow your dreams” personal message. Lavigne stated the advertising campaign is a Gothic-garden theme.
By the end of 2008 Lavigne signed contract with Canon Canada and appear as image of the brand on campaigns and publicity commercials promoting the latest line of cameras as well a full range of products. One year later in 2009 she exteded her partnership with Canon to now be part of Asia’s campaign beginning with a new commercial.
Lavigne has been involved in a number of charitable activities, such as Make Some Noise, Amnesty International, Erase MS, 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 took part of the Unite Against Aids concert presented by ALDO in support of Unicef on November 28 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec Canada.
Lavigne worked with Reverb, a non-profit environmental organization, for her 2005 east coast tour. She covered “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” for War Child’s Peace Songs compilation. Lavigne recorded a cover of the John Lennon song “Imagine” as her contribution to the compilation album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. Released on 12 June 2007, the album was produced to benefit Amnesty International’s campaign to alleviate the crisis in Darfur.
Before closing the decade on 5 December 2009 Lavigne return on stage after more than a year performing in Mexico City her two biggest hits of the 2000s “Complicated” and “Girlfriend” in an acoustic version among Evan Taubenfeld and Jim (band member) during the biggest charity event of Latin America “Teleton”. She stated, “Knowledge is power. Learn about the world outside of your own and try and do whatever you can to give back.”
Lavigne has been featured in a comic series Avril Lavigne’s Make 5 Wishes. She stars as herself, a pop star who is idolized by the protagonist of the story.
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 is a vegetarian “in case anyone caught her eating meat”.
Lavigne said in a 2004 interview that her favourite party song was 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, she answered: “Iris, by Goo Goo Dolls. I’d put a few Coldplay and Oasis songs. Radiohead – The Bends is one of my favorite albums”.
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 separated husband Deryck Whibley, a fellow Canadian singer who is the lead singer/guitarist of punk band Sum 41. They began dating in February 2004 and on 27 June 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 15 July 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”.
It was announced on 17 September 2009, that Lavigne and Whibley had split up and that divorce papers would soon follow. On 9 October 2009, Lavigne filed for divorce.
- Al Berry – bass guitar, backing vocals (2007–present)
- Rodney Howard – drums, percussion, backing vocals (2007–present)
- Steve Ferlazzo – 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)
- Mark Spicoluk – bass guitar, backing vocals (April–September 2002)
- Jesse Colburn – rhythm guitar (2002–January 2004)
- Evan Taubenfeld – lead guitar, backing vocals (2002–September 2004)
- Craig Wood – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, vocals (2004–January 2007)
- Matt Brann – drums, percussion, vocals on (2002–February 2007)
- Charlie Moniz – bass guitar (2002–February 2007)
- Devin Bronson – lead guitar, backing vocals (2004–08)
Main article: Avril Lavigne discography
- Let Go (2002)
- Under My Skin (2004)
- The Best Damn Thing (2007)
- My World (2003)
- Live at Budokan (2005)
- Live in Toronto (2008)
|2002||Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Herself||Television episode (Bada-Ping!) Guest-star; performed “Sk8er Boi”|
|2004||Going the Distance||Herself||Cameo; performed “Losing Grip”|
|Saturday Night Live||Herself||performed|
|2006||Fast Food Nation||Alice||College activist|
|Over the Hedge||Heather||Voice|
|2007||The Flock||Beatrice Bell||Suspect’s Girlfriend|
|2010||American Idol||Herself||Guest judge for “Auditions: Los Angeles”|
- Lavigne was signed to Arista Records in November 2000, according to MTV. An article in Rolling Stone magazine claimed it was in December 2001. For a year following her deal with the label, nothing was working with Lavigne due to artistic differences between her and Arista. She was about to be dropped off the label, until she consulted to the production team The Matrix. The ensuing album, Let Go, was released on June 4, 2002.
- “Girlfriend” was re-recorded in eight different languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Japanese, and Mandarin.