Also Credited As:Avril Ramona Lavigne
|September 27, 1984|
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Avril Ramona Lavigne was born on Sept. 27, 1984 in Belleville, Ontario, Canada and raised in the small town of Napanee, Ontario. The future star began belting out Christian songs at her local church when she was two. Lavigne's parents were supportive of her musical aspirations, even turning their basement into a studio. By the time she was 14, Lavigne was already writing her own songs and performing covers of hits by Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, and The Dixie Chicks at country fairs. Two years later, she signed with Arista Records, dropped out of school, and moved to New York City to record an album. Lavigne worked with the songwriting and production trio the Matrix on a punk-pop single titled "Complicated," which was the first single released off of Lavigne's 2002 debut album, Let Go. The single reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and launched Lavigne's career. The accompanying music video featured the singer - dressed in her signature look of a white tank top, baggy skater pants, and a man's necktie - wreaking adolescent havoc with her band inside a shopping mall. Her signature look and pseudo-angst turned into a national craze, especially for teenaged girls who wanted to emulate a non-Britney Spears type of pop star. The album Let Go yielded several more hits, including the tween anthem, "Sk8er Boi" and the ballad "I'm With You," earning Lavigne several Grammy Award nominations in 2003, including one for Best New Artist.
The year 2004 saw the release of Lavigne's sophomore album, Under My Skin, which debuted at No. 1 in the U.S. and other countries. This time, the singer had played a more prominent role with the album's production and songwriting. She landed another Top 10 hit with the lead single "My Happy Ending," yet the album's overall darker tone and the singer's more gothic style failed to mirror the breakthrough success of Let Go. Lavigne also wrote songs for other artists, including "American Idol" (Fox, 2002- ) winner Kelly Clarkson, who recorded the hit theme song "Breakaway" for the 2004 film, "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement." Lavigne had her own fairy tale moment in 2006 when she married fellow Canadian Deryck Whibley, the lead singer for punk rock band Sum 41, in an outdoor ceremony held in Montecito, CA. Lavigne stated that she had helped Whibley stay off drugs from the time they began dating and throughout their marriage. The young couple's union lasted just over three years until Lavigne filed for divorce in October 2009.
Lavigne bounced back from the dismal sales of Under My Skin with her third album, 2007's The Best Damn Thing. She topped the charts once again with the power-pop track "Girlfriend," a chant-filled anthem reminiscent of Tony Basil's 1982 classic "Mickey." Despite its critical and commercial success, "Girlfriend" prompted a copyright infringement lawsuit from the soft-rock group, The Rubinoos, who claimed it sounded similar to their 1979 song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." Lavigne stated on her website that she had never heard of the Rubinoos and there was no merit to their claim. Both parties reached an undisclosed settlement in early 2008. She was hit with another allegation, however, when Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk claimed Lavigne put their collaboration, a track titled "Contagious," on The Best Damn Thing without crediting her on the album. Lavigne once again took to her website to fire back at Kreviazuk's allegations and considered taking legal action for defamation of character. Kreviazuk allegedly contacted Lavigne afterwards and apologized for her wrongful accusation. Between recording albums and fending off accusations by other artists, Lavigne found time to explore other creative outlets. She made her big screen debut in the animated feature "Over the Hedge" (2006), voicing the opossum character, Heather, and appeared as a young activist in Richard Linklater's "Fast Food Nation" (2006). A savvy businesswoman, Lavigne launched her clothing line, Abbey Dawn, in 2008 and introduced her perfume, Black Star, the following year. She returned to the music scene in 2010 as a featured performer at the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. In 2011, Lavigne released her highly anticipated fourth album, Goodbye Lullaby, which featured the Top 20 hit "What the Hell."