Lavigne, Avril

Avril Ramona Lavigne. Singer, songwriter, b Belleville, Ont, 27 Sept 1984. Lavigne began singing gospel music in church as a child, and then went on to belt out country songs at music festivals and talent contests before Arista Records discovered her. She moved from her small hometown of Napanee, Ont, to New York City at age 16, and then headed to Los Angeles to finish her 2002 debut album, Let Go.

"Complicated," "Sk8er Boi," "Losing Grip" and "I'm with You" were all major hits from the album and, with tutelage from Vancouver-based Nettwerk Management, the young singer sold more than 16 million copies of Let Go around the world. She received a diamond award for selling a million units in Canada from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien when she was in Ottawa for the 2003 Juno Awards. While there, she also picked up Junos for best album, new artist, pop artist and single ("Complicated"). Lavigne's brash attitude, knack for coming up with catchy pop tunes and eclectic sense of fashion made her an icon among young female fans who made her My World DVD a popular purchase in 2003.

Lavigne followed Let Go in May 2004 with the release of Under My Skin, which was preceded by two popular singles: "Don't Tell Me" and "Take Me Away." Subsequent singles "My Happy Ending," "Nobody's Home," "He Wasn't" and "Fall to Pieces" ensured that she continued to be heard on a wide variety of Canadian radio stations. Unlike on Lavigne's previous album, where she worked with the American hit-making team The Matrix, she concentrated on writing her own songs and collaborated with new producers like Butch Walker (of the Marvelous 3), Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Pearl Jam) and Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace). The diminutive star also worked closely with fellow Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk on six songs. Under My Skin sold more than 500,000 copies in Canada and 8 million globally. It also earned Lavigne the 2005 Juno fan choice award as well as honours for artist and pop album of the year. She couldn't accept the awards in person, however, because of international touring commitments.

Avril Lavigne again worked with a number of producers on her third studio album, The Best Damn Thing, which was released in April 2007. Her collaborators included Walker again, Dr Luke, Sum 41's Deryck Whibley (whom Lavigne married in July 2006) and Rob Cavallo. Former Blink-182 member Travis Barker and Josh Freese played drums. The record topped sales charts in Canada, the US, the UK, Japan, Brazil, Italy, Taiwan and several other countries. It sold more than 400,000 copies in Canada and 6 million worldwide. Lead single "Girlfriend" became a worldwide smash. "When You're Gone," "Hot," and the title track followed as singles. Lavigne toured extensively in support of the album and released a DVD titled The Best Damn Tour: Live In Toronto in July 2008.

Lavigne had been collaborating with Whibley on a new album, but they announced in September of 2009 that they were divorcing. While they continued to work together, progress in the studio was affected and contributed to the record's release being delayed.

"Alice (Underground)," written by Lavigne and produced by Butch Walker, was chosen as the end credit song to director Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland film and was included on the movie's soundtrack, Almost Alice. Lavigne also co-wrote the worldwide hit "Breakaway," which was sung by Kelly Clarkson and included in the soundtrack of the film Princess Diaries 2.

Goodbye Lullaby was released in March 2011. All of its more stripped-down songs were either written or co-written by Lavigne. The album reached number one in Japan, Australia, Greece, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Czech Republic, while hitting number two in Canada, where it was nominated for album and pop album of the year's Junos.

Lavigne announced that she was working on her next album three months after the release of Goodbye Lullaby and said that it would be a return to the more upbeat style of earlier records. It's expected to be released in the spring of 2013. Nickelback singer/guitarist Chad Kroeger assisted with the record and it was announced in August 2012 that he and Lavigne were engaged.