Sk8ter girl Avril Lavigne shot to fame at just 17 with her multi-million selling album Let Go. Two years on and she lands an international hit with Complicated and has released chart album Under My Skin. Miss Lavigne may just be 19 but knows exactly what she wants to do musically – and evidently it works.
musicOMH chatted with the Canadian songstress and finds out that life for someone like Avril isn’t that complicated at all.
“Wow! I love your hair! Do you ever cut it? I know, I can’t cut mine either.” Avril Lavigne is fascinated by my hair, so much so that she forgets about her jetlag. “I slept ’til seven o’clock last night!” A hard – but dream – life for the 19-year-old Canadian singer, who has become a leading figure in the rock chick world. Her first album, 2002’s Let Go earned the prodigious teen a whopping eight Grammy nominations and her number one international hit, Complicated, won an MTV Moonman. Not bad when you’re only 17. “I get to live my dream and sing in front of thousands of people, performing my songs and playing guitar.”
Not the type to rest on her laurels, she hit the charts again this year with the more rock and mature Under My Skin, full of catchy melodies and her trademark anthemic choruses. An album which unveils a young woman hiding behind the hipster-clad, skating-mad adolescent. Her nails may be polished black, but that’s still a feminine touch, right? “I’m older now and I can express myself more,” she explains, ” and I’ve gone through so much, so that’s what I talk about.” Like boys. “Like boys, like dating or relationships”. And she’s comfortable in her new-found femininity. “I was a tomboy before. Now I’m more girlie.”
“I get to live my dream and sing in front of thousands of people, performing my songs and playing guitar” – Avril Lavigne appreciates what fame has granted her
Her music has also undergone a growing phase with the help of Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, with whom she co-wrote her second album and whose husband, Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace, is one of the producers, along with Don Gilmore (of Linkin Park and Pearl Jam fame) and Butch Walker (Marvelous 3). “She’s one of my best friends. She’s so involved in my life. She calls me every day, ‘How are ya’ doing?’ If I don’t call her, she freaks out on me,” she says, “She’s very protective of me, very concerned. She’s quite maternal with me.”
Locked in Chantal’s home in LA, the two songstresses spent a marathon two weeks writing songs, a lot of which didn’t even make it on the final cut. “We wrote a song every day for two weeks straight!” she remembers, “We were just inspiring each other. We had so much to write about. There are so many songs that didn’t even make it on the record.” And those songs may end up on the next one. “I’ll probably work on them on the next record, some of them, and I’ll finish them.”
What’s even more striking than her rock tunes and crystal voice is her undaunted determination. “Whenever I write a song, I know exactly how I want it to be. And if that means I have to take it to a second producer if the first one doesn’t get it right, then I will.” But surely, like any artist seeking artistic freedom, she must be used to hearing that things don’t always work out the way she wants it to. “No, never. No one would talk to me like that.” Ouch. Yet she remains grounded as far as fame is concerned. “I appreciate it everyday. I’m like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me.’ I’m so thankful. I fell really lucky and really blessed,” and adds: “I remind myself all the time, because it can go as quickly as it came.”
Like fellow rock chicks Courtney Love and Janis Joplin, who she cites as influences, Avril has character and refuses to be drawn into the cliche image of her pop contemporaries like Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera. “It’s embarrassing the way some of these girls dress and show off their bodies. Don’t give that to guys!” She’s just an uncomplicated sk8er girl.