Avril Lavigne has made history, smashed records and consistently blazed a trail of her own as an uncompromising force in music and culture. Beyond selling close to 50 million albums worldwide, she has notched eight Grammy Award nominations. She remains one of the Soundscan-era‘s top-selling artists releasing albums in the US and the third bestselling Canadian female artist of all-time.
Avril, you started your career at 16. What made you fall in love with music?
I have always loved to sing. When I was younger, I would sing to myself all the time at home and my mom ultimately had me involved in my church choir. My parents were really encouraging of my love for music and were super supportive from the beginning. And then my brother would play me his favorite bands and CDs, so music was around me all the time.
When you look back onto your earlier singles, like ‘Complicated’ and ‘Sk8er Boi’, how has your music and your musical style evolved?
I’ve always done whatever comes naturally to me and my music is a reflection of how I’m feeling and the mood I’m in. I started making music as a teenager and I’m now writing as a woman. As a teenager, I was writing about being in highschool, my first love and the growing up. Now I am writing about what I am going through in my life 20 years later.
You’ve always had a skate punk persona, which earned you the title of ‘Pop-Punk Queen’. What intrigues you or let’s say excites you the most about this genre?
I feel like this genre as a whole really allows you to be yourself and say “F*** you, I’m going to do what I want“. It is a genre that embraces the outcasts and allows people to experiment with their sound, fashion and style.
Your work has been immensely rewarded. You are the third bestsellig Canadian female artist of all-time and have received 8 Grammy nominations. What do you consider your personal biggest reward for your work?
It’s really crazy when I hear my career read back to me like that. It’s all really humbling when I am able to reflect on the past. The most rewarding part of it all is when people make a connection with my music. Playing shows and festivals and hearing my fans sing it all back is one of the most special feelings, that’s so hard to describe.
The video for your single ‘Girlfriend’ became the first music video to reach 100 million views on YouTube. What is your view and your relationship with social media and all these huge platforms?
It’s important to evolve with the times and technology. The way people listen to music, watch videos and discover new media is constantly changing. It’s good to be aware of what’s going on with social media, but I don’t get too caught up in it because I want to focus on the art. I do love sharing photos and videos to connect with my fans though.
Not only are you a singer, but also a songwriter. What usually inspires you when you’re pinning down new songs? Have your inspirations changed over the years?
My songwriting has always been about what I know and how I’m feeling. When I was writing ‘Complicated’ and ‘Sk8er Boi’ I was a teenager writing about what it was like to be a teenage girl. Now my songwriting is really focused around what I am going through now. Like I said earlier, I really let what is happening in my life dictate how I am feeling creatively and I think it shows in my songwriting. I go through phases of writing on piano or guitar. When I co-write, I will bring ideas into the session or we will just come up with ideas on the spot. Currently, I like to start by working alone and then bringing those ideas into the sessions.
Who would you describe as your biggest musical influence ever, and why?
This is hard. I honestly find inspiration from so many musical genres. At a young age, I was influenced by the records my parents played. Huge influences for me growing up were The Goo Goo Dolls, Shania Twain and Blink 182.
At the end of 2022, the deluxe edition of your seventh studio album ‘Love Sux’ was released. What makes this album different than your previous albums?
This album was different because we had so much time to do it. I was making it during the pandemic and I didn’t have any deadlines. I was in the studio working with people who understood what I was doing and supported it. This album also included a lot of features, which is different from the past albums that had maybe one or two.
You were just on the European tour, which was postponed from last year due to the pandemic. How did it feel, finally being on tour in Europe again? What’s the most special thing about engaging with European audiences to you?
The energy of this tour has been amazing. Going into 2020, we had this sold out tour and I was so excited to finally return to Europe after not touring there for almost a decade. Then the pandemic hits and no one knows what’s going on. I am so thankful to my fans joining me every night after so many changes to this tour. It is surreal that we were finally here and I am so thankful that everyone waited all this time to come. It’s really meaningful. When I looked into the crowd during multiple songs, I saw people moshing and crowd surfing, which is so much fun.
Looking back on your career, what would be your advice to your younger self?
Honestly, I wouldn’t give my younger self any advice. I have kept a good head on my shoulders and I have worked really hard. I know how lucky I am that I have had the life I have and I am stoked every day to be making music, touring and creating.
Now after the ‘Love Sux’ tour, what’s coming up next? Will you take some time off or jump right back into the studio?
I’ve actually been in the studio a lot in between all the touring that I did in the last year. I can’t stop writing songs, I am so inspired. After this tour, I am going to take some time to look at everything I have done so far and figure out the best way to release it into the world.
Talent: Avril Lavigne
Photographer/Creative director/Set design/Casting: Tyler Patrick Kenny @ Tunnel Media Group
Stylist: Lyn Alyson
Styling assistants: Melanie, Hannah Stone & Trent De Groot
Hair: Virginie Pineda
Make-up: Alexis Oakley
Video: Dametreus Ward / Video assistants: Francois Joseph & John Rutledge
Studio tech/Set design: Reno Ronquillo & Madi Sileo
Production: Tunnel Media Group
Exec producers: Danielle Hawkins & Jason King
Editor: Timi Letonja