Born in Belleville, Ontario to conservative Franco-Ontarian Christian parents John and Judy Lavigne, Avril grew up in Napanee; having moved there at the age of five. It was in Napanee that she sang country music and in a church choir and taught herself to play guitar. Avril Lavigne was discovered by her first professional manager, Cliff Fabri, while singing country covers at a Chapters bookstore in Kingston, Ontario. During a performance with the Lennox Community Theatre, Avril was spotted by Steve Medd, a local folksinger, who invited her to perform vocals on his song Touch The Sky for his 1999 album Quinte Spirit. Suitably impressed, he invited her back to perform vocals on Temple Of Life and Two Rivers for his followup album, My Window To You in 2000. By the age of sixteen, Avril Lavigne was signed by Ken Krongard, the artists-and-repertoire (A&R) representative of Arista Records, who invited his boss, Arista head Antonio "L.A." Reid, to hear her sing in a New York City studio. She then completed work on her first album. Apparently, early attempts to co-write songs for her failed to meet her approval; and Lavigne eventually moved to Los Angeles, California, and co-wrote her album with Clif Magness and the songwriting team The Matrix, whose previous work included songs for Sheena Easton and Christina Aguilera.
Avril Lavigne described her first album, Let Go, as a pop album with "a couple of rock songs on it", and has indicated a desire to write more rock-oriented songs in the future. It was released by Arista on June 4, 2002 in the United States, reaching number two there and number one in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom (making Avril Lavigne the youngest female solo act ever at the time to have a number-one album in the UK). It was certified four times platinum less than six months later by the RIAA, and had sold fifteen million copies worldwide as of December 2004. Four singles from the album were released, all of them hits. "Complicated" went to number one in Australia while reaching number two on the U.S. Hot 100, and was also one of the best-selling Canadian singles of 2002. "Sk8er Boi" reached the top ten in the U.S. and Australia and number one in Canada, "I'm With You" reached the top five in the U.S., while "Losing Grip" reached number one in Canada, the top ten in Taiwan, and the top twenty in Chile.
The media have often compared Avril Avril Lavigne to Alanis Morissette (one of her favourite artists alongside Coldplay and The Goo Goo Dolls), who is also Canadian, as well as singer-songwriters such as Vanessa Carlton and Michelle Branch, who emerged at about the same time and were popularly credited, with Avril Lavigne, as part of a trend towards more genuine creativity in the teen pop-music market. Avril Lavigne was named "Best New Artist" at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, won four Juno Awards in 2003 (out of six nominations), a World Music Award for World's Best-Selling Canadian Singer, and was nominated for eight Grammy Awards. 2004 the present Avril Lavigne's second album, Under My Skin, was released on May 25, 2004 in the U.S. and went to number one in several countries, including the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia.
Avril Lavigne wrote most of the album with Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, though some tracks were co-written by Lavigne and Ben Moody (formerly of Evanescence), Butch Walker of Marvelous 3, and the rest with her former lead guitarist Evan Taubenfeld. Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace Kreviazuk's husband, co-produced the album with Butch Walker and Don Gilmore. Lead single "Don't Tell Me" went to number one in Argentina, top five in the U.K. and Canada, and top ten in Australia and Brazil. "My Happy Ending" reached the top ten in the U.S., and was her third biggest hit to date there, but third single "Nobody's Home" did not make the top forty. The final single from the album, "He Wasn't", reached number one in Canada, making the song her eighth number-one release since "Complicated", but failed to make the UK top twenty and was not released in the U.S.. Avril Lavigne won two World Music Awards in 2004 for World's Best Pop/Rock Artist and World's Best Selling Canadian Artist. She received five Juno Award nominations in 2005, picking up three including, Fan Choice Award, Artist of the Year and Pop Album of the Year. She also won the award for Favourite Female Singer at the eighteenth Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.
Avril Lavigne co-wrote a song, "Breakaway", which was recorded by Kelly Clarkson for the soundtrack to the film The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004) and was later included on Clarkson's second album, Breakaway, being released as the album's first single. It went on to peak at #6 in the US and provided Clarkson with a substantial hit. One source reports that Lavigne will release a new album some time in the spring of 2006. In a phone interview with Newsday, Avril Lavigne said: "Don't expect the album any time soon. I'm going to get off the road, take my time, be with my little sweetheart and have a life and then get back to business." In a recent interview with Celebrity.com, Lavigne said that she is in the middle of making her record. . Lavigne is to make her film debut in the animated film Over the Hedge, which is based on comic strip of same name, alongside William Shatner, Bruce Willis and Gary Shandling. Avril Lavigne is also acting in the Richard Gere film The Flock, and her third project is Fast Food Nation, based on her favourite book. Her co-stars in the film include Patricia Arquette, Bobby Cannavale, Ethan Hawke and Greg Kinnear. In January 2006, Lavigne signed a contract with Ford Models.
She is appearing on the February edition of Harpers Bazaar Fashion Magazine with a new look. She will sing at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics (Turin, Italy) for the eight minutes of the Vancouver 2010 portion. Her third album is supposed to be released during the middle of 2006. It should include collaborations with Chantal Kreviazuk and her husband, Our Lady Peace front man Raine Maida, who have also worked on 2004's 'Under My Skin' Lavigne's current band consists of the following: Devin Bronson (lead guitar), Craig Wood (rhythm guitar), Charlie Moniz (bass) and Matt Brann (drums). Departed members from Lavigne's band consist of the following: Evan Taubenfeld (lead guitar), Mark Spicoluk (bass, 2002) and Jesse Colburn (rhythm guitar). In 2003, it was reported that Lavigne was romantically involved with Colburn. Lavigne is engaged to be married to Deryck Whibley of the pop punk band Sum 41, and Mark Spicoluk was a former member of that band.
Avril Lavigne formerly traveled with a bag full of about thirty neck ties. Some of them she bought, and the rest of them she took from her father and some were sent to her by fanmail. Lavigne stopped wearing neckties completely in 2003, as she was horrified at the constant media references to them overshadowing her music and that she was starting a fashion trend amongst her fans. She has a star tattooed on the inside of her left wrist, applied at the same time as friend and musical associate Ben Moody's identical tattoo.
In late 2004, Avril Lavigne had a small pink heart-shaped tattoo featuring the letter 'D' applied to her right wrist thought to be a reference to fiance Deryck Whibley. She has also bought a house with him in Beverly Hills. In March 2004, she became involved in a celebrity feud with Hilary Duff: Duff reportedly criticized Lavigne after she apparently got mad at her fans for dressing like her. Duff called her "mean-spirited" and said: "You should be happy that these people like you and look up to you."
During an interview for a Boston radio station, Lavigne then said that Duff was a "mommy's girl" and a "goody two-shoes". Avril Lavigne then said to Duff (who was not present during that interview), "You can go screw yourself". Reportedly, Avril Lavigne also said about Duff, "I'm sure she's really nice and sweet. I'm sure she's all smiles." During that same interview, she spotted a picture of herself and ripped it up, allegedly saying, "I hate that fucking photo!" All this happened while on air. According to Avril Lavigne, she had permission to take the picture down station personnel encouraged her to take it down. She has admitted to Rollingstone.com that she got into some fights one night. "The other night, I got into three fights", says Lavigne. "I was at a club and some girl was giving me attitude. She pushed me and I got her down on the floor. Security came, and because I was on top, they threw me out."
A profile of Avril Lavigne in The Washington Post found that, in the flesh, her personality did not reflect her marketing, and instead found her to be, if anything, something of a wide-eyed innocent, citing her intending to purchase her first Ramones CD. In another interview, Avril Lavigne listed her current listening tastes as including blink-182, Sum 41, Green Day and System of a Down. She is a vegetarian. Some members of the old school, hardcore punk community have an intense dislike for Lavigne and her style of music, which they believe waters down what punk is really all about. Comments she has made, showing a lack of knowledge/interest in the seventies punk movement and the luminaries of that movement (Lavigne once admitted to not ever having heard of the Sex Pistols), has led some to label her a poser. However, Avril Lavigne has consistently stated that her music is not punk rock and that she does not believe she is punk. Although it's constantly debated whether or not she is punk, there have been several (and more recent) occasions where she has stated "I'm not punk, that's a whole other world. If anything I'm more rock or pop." Avril Lavigne has made it to the list of FHM 100 Sexiest Women in the World for three consecutive years, from 2003 to 2005. She was also included in Maxim Hot 100 for 2003 and 2005 at 92nd and 36th spots respectively.