Avril Ramona Lavigne (pronounced /ˈævrɨl ləˈviːn/; born 27
September 1984) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, fashion designer, and actress. She was born in Belleville, Ontario, but spent the
majority of her youth in the small town, Napanee, Ontario. By the age of 15, she
had appeared on stage with Shania
Twain, and by 16, Lavigne 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, 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 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". Lavigne has sold more
than 30 million copies of her albums worldwide
and is currently 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 of the 2000s, 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.
She is currently working on her fourth studio album, expected to be
released in 2010.
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, that will be followed by
her second perfume, Forbidden Rose in 2010.
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 continued to work
together after the divorce, with Whibley producing on 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".
||I’ve known all my life that this is what I
was supposed to do.... Visualizing like what it would be like to be
famous with my music. And always just dreaming, always daydreaming.
Lavigne, NBC News
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 of Nettwerk arranged for Lavigne to work with Peter
Zizzo in New York during the summer of 2000, where she wrote the
song "Why?", but it was on a subsequent trip to New York that Lavigne
was noticed by Arista Records.
In November 2000,
Ken Krongard, an A&R representative, invited
Antonio "L.A." Reid, then-head of Arista Records, to producer Peter
Zizzo's Manhattan studio to hear Lavigne sing. Her 15-minute audition
"so impressed" Reid, he immediately signed her to Arista with a deal
worth $1.25 million for two albums and an extra $900,000 for a
By this time, Lavigne had found that she fit in naturally with her
hometown high school's skater clique, an image that carried through to
her first album, but although she enjoyed skateboarding, school left her
feeling insecure. Armed with a record deal, she dropped out to focus on
her music career,
but she still had to inform her parents of her decision. "I wasn't
going to turn [the record deal] down. It's been my dream all my life.
They knew how much I wanted this and how much I've put into it."
Lavigne released her debut album, Let Go, on 4 June 2002 in
the U.S., where it reached #2 on the Billboard 200. It peaked at
#1 on the Australian, Canadian and United Kingdom charts. This made
Lavigne, at 17 years old, the youngest female soloist to have a #1 album
in the UK until that time.
By the end of 2002, the album was certified four-times platinum by the
RIAA, making her the bestselling female artist of 2002 and Let Go
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
As of 2009, the album has sold over 16 million units worldwide,
and the RIAA has certified the album six-times platinum, denoting
shipments of over six million units in the U.S.
||I don't get overwhelmed, just because I
feel like I've kind of prepared myself for it. All my life this is what
I've wanted, what I've dreamed about, and I knew this would happen. I've
been singing ever since I was really young and I've wanted this so bad,
and I told myself I would do it.
Lavigne on her success, MTV
Lavigne's debut single and the album's lead
single, "Complicated", peaked at #1 in Australia and #2 in the U.S.
"Complicated" was one of the bestselling Canadian singles of 2002, and
it was also featured on the teen television show, Dawson's Creek. "Complicated" later ranked on the Hot
100 Singles of the Decade list at #83.
Subsequent singles, "Sk8er Boi" and "I'm With You" reached the top
ten in the U.S.
Thanks to the 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.
For the music video to "Complicated", Lavigne was named Best New Artist
at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards.
She won four Juno Awards in 2003 out of
received a World Music Award for
"World's Bestselling Canadian Singer", and was nominated for eight Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for
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
and, later in May,
during MTV's Icon tribute to Metallica.
During her first headlining tour, the Try To Shut Me Up Tour,
Lavigne covered Green Day's "Basket Case".