Avril Lavigne’s childhood and early life
Born to Jean-Claude Lavigne and Judith-Rosanne Lavignenée Loshaw in Ontario, Canada, on the 28th of September 1984, Avril Lavigne, her name meaning ‘April’ in French, first began singing in church with her mother at the very young age of two. The song ‘Jesus Loves Me,’ showed her mother that she had talent, and Mrs. Lavigne was certainly proud of her daughter.
Avril Lavigne has two siblings—Matthew, his older brother; Michelle the youngest—who tease her every time her mouth would began emitting music. She would sing to herself to sleep when she was young, and Matthew, getting annoyed, would bang on the wall. Certainly the two siblings were just getting carried away by childhood humour, but now of course they are proud of their sister.
The singer must have been five years old when she and her family moved to Nappanee, Ontario: a very small town with a small population (5,000 at that time).
She recalls being reprimanded often for misbehaving, sometimes even getting kicked out of her class. Her parents, more than ever, were supportive. They even turned their basement into a music studio, packing it with several guitars, a keyboard, a drum kit, and a microphone. As part of their parents-daughter bonding time, her parents took her to karaoke sessions.
Her passion for music intensely grew. As she was 14 years old, she performed at country fairs, singing songs of The Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, and Grath Brooks. At this very young age she wrote her first song entitled ‘Can’t Stop Thinking About You,’ about a teen crush of hers. She describes this object of her young infatuation as ‘cheesy cute.’
The Rise of Avril Lavigne
Her first activity in the business was way back in 1999. Avril Lavigne won a radio contest, allowing her to perform with Shania Twain, a Canadian musician, at the Corel Centre in Ottawa. An audience consisting of 20,000 people watched the two singers perform the song “What Made You Say That”. After the performance, she swore to Shania Twain that, just like her, she would become a famous singer someday.
Stephen Medd, a local folksinger, spotted her while she was performing with the Lennox Community Theater. Stephen Medd invited her to collaborate with him for his song ‘Touch the Sky,’ a song for his album Quinte Spirit which was released in 1999. Later, she sang Temple Life and Two Rivers for Stephen Medd’s album My Window to You, released in 2000.
Cliff Fabri, who was first manager, would have spotted her around this time. She was singing country songs at Chapters Bookstore in Kingston, Ontario. Cliff Fabri began sending VHS copies of The singer’s live home performances recorded in the basement of their house; it was Mark Jowett, co-founder of the Canadian management company Nettwerk, who received one of the VHS copies and immediately arranged for Avril Lavigne. Summer of 2000, in New York City, Peter Zizzo worked with the singer. Around this time she wrote the song ‘Why,’ and got noticed by Artista Records.
This was the singer’s starting point on earning a contract worth $2 million. She became one of the most popular pop punk artists of 2002 when she released her first album and earned her reputation of a ‘skater-punk’ persona.
‘Let Go’- Avril Lavigne’s breakthrough album
Avril Lavigne released her first album ‘Let Go’ in June 2002 and was certified as quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in six weeks’ time. Her album earned her a Best New Artist Award from the MTV Video Music Awards and three other awards for Favorite Female Artist, Favorite Breakthrough Artist and the Style Award at the 2003 MTV Asia Awards. The album also went on number one spot in the UK, Australia, and Canada and number2 inthe United States. ‘Let go’ produced 5 hit singles: ‘Complicated’, ‘Sk8tr Boi’, ‘I’m With You’, ‘Losing Grip’, and ‘Mobile’.
Under My Skin, 2004
She knew what this album should be. So she was picky with its sounds, theme, tones, and structures. The album came out with a mix of musical styles and a mix of pop, rock, punk, nu metal and post-grunge. Almost all of the songs in ‘Under My Skin’ album were written by the singer herself corroborating with Chantal Kreviazuk. She also wrote ‘Nobody’s Home’ with Evanescence’s Ben Moody. Her lead guitarist Evan David Taubenfeld co-wrote the rest of the songs. Under My Skin was released on May 25, 2004 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album charts. It was also ranked by the magazine as the 149th top selling albums of 2000s. ‘Don’t Tell Me’, the first single of the album landed on number one in various countries world-wide.
The Best Damn Thing, 2007
A more mature Avril Lavigne emerged in 2007 with ‘The Best Damn Thing’ album. The album came with explicit versions which got a Parental Advisory label on its limited and deluxe editions. As expected, the album hit number one in various charts including UK Album Chart and Billboard 200. Included in the album was the soundtrack for the movie Eragon, ‘Keep Holding On’. The song was so popular that the release of the album’s first single ‘Girlfriend’ was changed. And once ‘Girlfriend’ was released, it was a global success. As expected, it landed number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.
But the success of ‘Girlfriend’ was not without controversy. James Gangwer and Tommy Dunbar sued Avril Lavigne claiming that the song contained lyrics plagiarized from The Rubinoos’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’. She was acquitted after a settlement. Also in another instance, Avril Lavigne’s co-writer Chantal Kreviazuk claimed that the song ‘Contagious’ was based on a song she originated. She denied all allegations and threatened to take Chantal to court. The latter later on Chantal retracted her statements and made a public apology.
Avril Lavigne in 2011: Goodbye Lullaby
Seriously, it took the singer more than two years to make this album. The release of the album has been delayed several times before it finally took off on March 8, 2011. Recording begun as early as November 2008 but she made several revisions and added a couple of upbeat songs to the album. Reviews regarded ‘Goodbye Lullaby’ as a return from her original genre she displayed on her first two albums. But clearly, it was an attempt to move forward without really leaving the pop zone. Nonetheless, the album carries a gutsy tune with a clear message, Avril Lavigne cares.
The album included lead single ‘What The Hell’ which reached number one in Japan and Top 10 in different parts of the world. ‘Smile’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ were two other singles which received positive reviews and response from fans. Avril Lavigne was regarded by Rolling Stones as a romantic. Clearly she proves to her fans that she could make it on her own and she is an extraordinary songwriter with a good sense of music.
Today, Avril Lavigne shares her success with her backing band consisting of bass guitarist Al Berry, Rodney Howard on percussions and drums, Steve Ferlazzo on keyboard, Jim McGorman on rhythm guitar and Steve Fekete on lead guitar.