Avril Ramona Lavigne (pronounced
/ˈævrɨl ləˈviːn/; born September 27, 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.
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 to Jean-Claude Lavigne, of French Canadian
descent, and his Franco-Ontarian wife Judith-Rosanne "Judy" Loshaw, in
Belleville, Ontario, Canada. Her father 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 Catholic 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,
Green Day, and Janis Joplin.
Lavigne released her debut album, Let Go, on June 4, 2002 in the United
States, where it reached number two. It peaked at number one in Australia,
Canada, and the United Kingdom. This made Lavigne, at 17, the youngest
female soloist to have a number-one album in the United Kingdom until that
time. By the end of 2002, the album was certified four-times platinum by
the RIAA, making her the best-selling female artist of 2002 and Let Go as
the top-selling debut of the year. By May 2003, Let Go had accumulated
over 1,000,000 sales in Canada, receiving a diamond certification from the
Canadian Recording Industry Association. As of 2009, the album has sold
over 16 million units worldwide. RIAA has certified the album six-times
platinum, denoting shipments of over six million units in the US.
Lavigne's debut single and the album's lead single, "Complicated", went to
number one in Australia and number two in the United States. "Complicated"
was one of the best-selling Canadian singles of 2002. "Complicated" was
also featured on the teen television show, Dawson's Creek. Subsequent
singles "Sk8er Boi" and "I'm With You" reached the top ten in the United
States. Thanks to the big success of her first three singles, Lavigne was
the second artist in history to have three #1 songs from a debut album on
the Billboard Mainstream Top 40. 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
Best New Artist and Song of the Year for "Complicated" (2003) and "I'm
With You" (2004).
In 2002, Lavigne made a cameo appearance in the music video to "Hundred
Million" by the pop-punk band Treble Charger.
In March 2003, Lavigne posed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and,
later in May, performed "Fuel" during MTV's Icon tribute to Metallica.
Lavigne covered Green Day's "Basket Case" during her first headlining
tour, the Try To Shut Me Up Tour.
Lavigne co-wrote "Breakaway" with Matthew Gerard, and was recorded by
Kelly Clarkson for the soundtrack to the 2004 film The Princess Diaries 2:
Royal Engagement. "Breakaway" was later included on Clarkson's second
album, Breakaway, and released as the album's lead single. She covered The
Goo Goo Dolls' mega-hit "Iris", performed with the band's lead singer John
Rzeznik at Fashion Rocks and posed for the cover of Maxim magazine in
October 2004. She also recorded the theme song for The SpongeBob
Lavigne's second studio album, Under My Skin, was released on May 25,
2004, debuting at number one in several countries, including Australia,
Mexico, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The
album has sold more than 10 million copies. Lavigne wrote most of the
album's tracks with Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk.
Kreviazuk's husband, Our Lady Peace front man Raine Maida, co-produced the
album with Butch Walker and Don Gilmore. Lavigne went on a "Live and by
Surprise" twenty-one city mall-tour in the U.S. and Canada to promote the
album, each performance consisted of a short live acoustic set of songs
from the new album. She was accompanied by her guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld,
by the end of 2004 and during a whole year in 2005 Lavigne embarked into
her first world tour the "Bonez Tour" which visited almost every continent
around the world.
"Don't Tell Me" the first single of the album went to number one in
Argentina and Mexico, top five in the UK and Canada, and top ten in
Australia and Brazil. "My Happy Ending", the album's lead single, went to
number one in Mexico, top five in the UK and Australia, In the United
States it reached the top ten of Billboard Hot 100 and went to #1 in the
U.S. Mainstream Top 40, making it her fourth-biggest hit there. Third
single "Nobody's Home" did not make the top 40 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 40 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 "Artist of the
Year". She won the award for "Favorite Female Singer" at the eighteenth
Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, and was nominated in every MTV
Award show shown around the world.
Lavigne 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.
While Lavigne was in the studio in 2006 for her third studio album, Fox
Entertainment Group approached her to write a song for the soundtrack to
the 2006 fantasy-adventure film Eragon. She wrote and recorded two
"ballad-type" songs, one of which "Keep Holding On" ended up being used
for the film. Lavigne admitted that writing the song was challenging,
making sure it flows along with the film. She, however, noted that "Keep
Holding On" was not indicative of what the next album would be. The song,
which later appeared on the album, debuted on radio on November 20, 2006,
and later released for digital download on November 28.
Lavigne's third album, The Best Damn Thing, was released on April 17,
2007. Lavigne undertook a small tour to promote the album. Its lead
single, "Girlfriend", topped the Billboard Hot 100 the week The Best Damn
Thing debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. "Girlfriend" was
Lavigne's first single to have reached number one in Billboard. The single
was a worldwide hit: it also went to number one in Australia, Canada,
Japan, and Italy and number two in the UK and France. The International
Federation of the Phonographic Industry ranked "Girlfriend" as 2007's
most-downloaded track worldwide, selling 7.3 million copies in eight
different languages. In December 2007, Lavigne, with annual earnings of
$12 million, was ranked number eight in the Forbes "Top 20 Earners Under
25". "When You're Gone", the second single, went to number three in the
UK, the top five in Australia and Italy, the top ten in Canada and was
very close to reaching the top twenty in the United States. "Hot" was the
third single and has been Lavigne's least succcessful single in the U.S,
charting only at number 95. In Canada it made the top ten, and in
Australia the top 20. The album has sold 6 million copies worldwide.
During this era Lavigne won virtually every award she was nominated for,
including two World Music Awards for "World's Best-Selling Canadian
Artist" and "World's Best Pop/Rock Female Artist" , she took her first two
MTV Europe Music Awards, received one Teen Choice Awards for "Summer
Single" and got nominated for five Juno Awards.
In March 2008, Lavigne undertook a world tour named "The Best Damn Tour"
to support the album. In mid-August 2008, Malaysia's Islamic opposition
party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, attempted to ban Lavigne's show in
Kuala Lumpur, judging her stage moves "too sexy". Her concert slated
August 29 was deemed promoting wrong values ahead of Malaysia's
independence day on August 31. On August 21, 2008, MTV reported that the
concert had been approved by the Malaysian government.
The hits "Complicated" and "Girlfriend" also ranked the Hot 100 Singles of
the decade at #83 and #94, respectively.
“Black Star,” originally a piano jingle written to promote her fragrance
of the same name, launched the recording process of Lavigne's fourth
studio album in November 2008. By July 2009, nine tracks had been
In January 2010, the song "Alice", written and recorded by Lavigne and
produced by Butch Walker, was released as the lead single from Tim
Burton's Alice in Wonderland soundtrack, Almost Alice.
Lavigne's fourth studio album is scheduled for release in June 2010, and
the first single will be released in April. The album is expected to be a
return to Lavigne's older musical style and may be largely acoustic.
Tracks on the forthcoming album include, "Everybody Hurts," "Black Star,"
"Fine," "Gone" and "Darlin," the latter being the second song Lavigne
wrote as a 15-year-old while living in Napanee, Ontario. Lavigne
collaborated with Butch Walker, Evan Taubenfield, Matt Beckley and her
Lavigne was one of several artists who contributed their voice to a cover
of the song "Wavin' Flag" by singer K'naan as a benefit single to raise
money for several charity organizations related to the 2010 Haiti
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
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,
used as an alias when she started her recording career, Lavigne designs
for the company and concepts emanate from her. Kohl's describe Abbey Dawn
as a "juniors lifestyle brand", which includes apparel and jewelry with
skull and zebra patterns similar to the artwork featured on The Best Damn
Thing. Lavigne wore some of the clothes in her line at various concerts
before the launch. The designs were also featured on the internet game
Stardoll, where figures can be dressed up as Avril Lavigne. On September
14, 2009, Lavigne took her latest collection for her clothing line 'Abbey
Dawn' to be a part of the New York Fashion Week one of the most important
fashion shows around the world, designer Tommy Hilfiger, olmypic gold
medal gymnast Nastia Liukin and friend heiress Nicky Hilton were there to
check out and support Avril's threads.
Lavigne released her first fragrance called Black Star, created by Procter
& Gamble Prestige Products. The fragrance was announced via Lavigne's
official website on March 7, 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's expected to generate $50
million in sales.
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
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 June
12, 2007, the album was produced to benefit Amnesty International's
campaign to alleviate the crisis in Darfur.
Before closing the decade on December 5th, 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
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 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
It was announced on September 17, 2009, that Lavigne and Whibley had split
up and that divorce papers would soon follow. On October 9, 2009, Lavigne
filed for divorce.