Since she first entered the musical scene in 2002, people have tried to define Canadian musician Avril Lavigne. Is she punk? Is she pop? Is she an actress? What is she? And while everyone else is scratching their heads looking for an answer, Avril is just being Avril.
“I’m my own person and having to speak about myself that way is weird; they like to put labels on people in the beginning, but I thought it was the strangest thing ever,” Avril said. “We’re all human beings, but people constantly ask me ‘who are you? How do you define yourself?’ I never really knew how to answer that, I was always like ‘I’m a singer and a songwriter.’”
Lavigne’s career started at age 15, and she quickly learned about the industry. “I had to learn to be a business person, to work hard and to be a leader,” she said. “People will always try to change you — which is never fun. So you need to be very strong, aggressive, and put in the time and the effort because it requires a lot of dedication.”
And Avril practices what she preaches: She has six number-one singles worldwide. Although she’s had more well-known songs, “I’m With You” remains one of her favorites. “No matter when it happens, hearing your song on the radio is the most amazing feeling ever,” Lavigne said.
For her latest album, Avril Lavigne, the singer tried something different in the studio. “Normally I totally know what I’m doing when I go into the studio, but this time I had no idea,” she said. Lavigne’s new album includes collaborations with artists she’s never worked with before. “Its diverse,” she said. “There are raw emotional songs, pop songs, and rock songs. ‘Hello Kitty’ has a bit of an electronic feel and ‘Bad girl’ is kind of sexual and provocative. The record is different.”
Lavigne has a lot to say about life, relationships, and the state of music. “I wish rock and roll wasn’t so dead these days,” she said. “I never hear rock music, and that blows. It’s crazy.” Another thing she misses are CDs. “I miss people going out and buying CD’s, I loved having physical CD’s and carrying them around,” Lavigne said.
She’s also passionate about her humanitarian work with her organization, The Avril Lavigne Foundation. “I do a lot of work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation,” Lavigne said, “and I knew I wanted to do more of this so I started my own foundation focusing on working with (children) with disabilities or serious illness.” Her foundation literally rocks: It respects the needs of kids, creates opportunities to follow their dreams, offers choices so they realize they have options in life, and give them the knowledge they need.
With a new marriage and a new album coming out, Lavigne is constantly busy but still tries to make time for her. “I’m always looking for more girl time,” she said. “I love decorating, cooking, and all that domestic stuff.” Whether its downtime, organizing events for the Avril Lavigne Foundation, going to karaoke with friends, or recording in the studio, Avril Lavigne will always be “just Avril.”
By Cealen Hughes