Avril Lavigne is all grown up. Can you handle that? Sept 20, 2019 3:23:27 GMT NowISee and UnderAlexSkin like this
Post by Jimmyzz on Sept 20, 2019 3:23:27 GMT
Avril Lavigne is all grown up. Can you handle that?
By Allison Stewart | Chicago Tribune | Sep 19, 2019
Avril Lavigne has been famous for half her life, a fact that doesn’t strike her as strange, because she doesn’t know anything different. She got famous the usual way, but quicker: As a kid in Napanee, Ontario, she sang anywhere she could — local fairs, karaoke, even onstage with Shania Twain after winning a contest. She signed a seven-figure record deal while still in her teens, sold 40 million albums thanks to era-defining hits like “Complicated” and “Sk8r Boi,” and settled into an extended run as a very specific kind of pop star: Britney Spears’ would-be younger sister, who skateboarded and shopped at Hot Topic and was sexually unimposing.
The past five years have been difficult: Lavigne divorced Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger after two years of marriage. She announced that she had been diagnosed with Lyme disease; for two years, she could barely get out of bed. She hadn’t made an album since “Avril Lavigne” in 2013, and worried that she would be unable to sing again.
In February, Lavigne released “Head Above Water,” an unsparing and entirely grown-up comeback record. She also returned to the road after a five-year absence; her tour hits the Chicago Theatre Tuesday.
In a phone interview, a cheery Lavigne discussed early celebrity, toxic relationships, and working with Kroeger, who assisted on her new album. The following are excerpts from that conversation:
On the old George Clooney theory that celebrities never mature much past the age they were when they first became famous
I was young, but at a good age, where I had a whole normal childhood. I left home just when I turned 16. I grew up in a normal town. Normal family, normal household, went to school. I had all that, and then I left. Yeah, I dropped out of high school, I didn’t have prom, but I also didn’t care, I had this once in a lifetime opportunity to have a record deal. When I made my first album I was thinking, “This better work, or I’m so screwed.”
What her Plan B might have looked like
Now in life, I cut hair, I design clothes, I’m really good at doing makeup. I would have ended up being something cool, like a makeup artist or a hairstylist or a clothing designer or a painter or a chef.
Even during her off years, she couldn’t escape her celebrity. Which was fine.
People recognize me anytime I ever go out, but that’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. It’s a question of, are you in the headspace (to be recognized)? Sometimes I’m more of an introvert and I’m quiet, and I don’t go to really public places.
The first song she sang post-hiatus was the “Head Above Water” title track
I thought maybe my voice would be kind of weak. It ended up being the strongest it’s ever been. I’m like, “Okay, I think just taking a break was good.” Also, me just being really present and really there, and my heart and soul really being there with these songs, with the music. I was singing and Chad was there recording, and it was like this really emotional — I was like, “Oh my God, I’m doing this.” I was trying not to cry, I was so happy.
Working with her ex-husband wasn’t weird
There’s a lot of love between Chad and I, even after we separated we remained very close. I was really sick and he was really supportive of me writing. ... He so graciously gave me his time and his effort to help me when I was in a fragile place, still going through all this heavy treatment. Chad’s always been on my side. Musically, he gets me. He just wanted to see me back on my feet and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. It taught me so much about him and his character and how amazing he is as a human being, and he’s still there for me today. He’s just been awesome.
On her new song “I Fell in Love With the Devil”
(It’s) just about meeting somebody who was like, crazy and dating that person and being in a really toxic relationship, and me learning about, “Oh my God, you have to be careful about certain people who come into your life. Not everybody’s trustworthy out there.” It’s scary.
Even after five years away, her old songs were ingrained in her muscle memory
It all comes right back. The newer songs are more work. It’s such a pain in the a-- to remember the chords, to memorize them all completely and remember all the parts. The old stuff, it just comes back like that, and it’s really fun to actually sing. ... The show’s going to be this cool journey that I get to take everybody on with me. It’s going to be this emotional journey. Everything that I’ve been through, having to take a break with my health and battling all that, coming back out and making music, falling in love with music all over again. Because I’ve been around so long, it’s so cool to bring out all the old songs.
Her fans seem ready to accept Grown Up Avril
The fanbase is ready for me to grow and show different sides of me, and be more vulnerable, and really, like, let down the walls. And it’s time for that for me, too, to be open and explore different styles. Just going a little further, pushing myself more.
Allison Stewart is a freelance writer.