Avril Lavigne on growing up, baring it all and why she disap Sept 15, 2019 1:55:38 GMT
Post by Jimmyzz on Sept 15, 2019 1:55:38 GMT
Pop Quiz: Avril Lavigne on growing up, baring it all and why she disappeared
By Joshua Kosman | September 10, 2019
Avril Lavigne Photo: RCA
Avril Lavigne disappeared for a while before making her return earlier this year with her sixth studio album, “Head Above Water.”
Sidelined by Lyme disease, the third best-selling Canadian female artist of all time took a break after a self-titled set that came out in 2013 to tend to her health and personal life (she was married to Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger from 2013 to 2015, and to Sum 41 lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Deryck Whibley from 2006 to 2009).
Lavigne’s new material is a far cry from her early punk-pop hits like “Sk8er Boi” and “Girlfriend,” focusing instead on the turmoil the now 34-year-old singer has experienced over the past few years.
The Chronicle spoke to her during tour rehearsals at her home in Ontario.
Q: It’s been a while since you played live. How are you feeling about going back on tour?
A: Really excited. It’s been really inspiring learning all the new songs and bringing them to life, and relearning the old ones.
It’s like, “Oh, wait, how does this song go again?” And then I grab the guitar and it takes me a second, but I’m remembering everything. It’s just bringing back all these really fun memories.
Avril Lavigne. Photo: David Needleman
Q: You were only 17 when “Let Go” came out in 2002. Do those songs still feel relevant to you and your work now?
A: I think it works because that is a side of me. The concert is like a journey. I have this section that’s really fun where we have “Girlfriend” and “Sk8r Boi” and we go high energy, and then we come down.
The first album has this big power ballad, “I’m With You,” that fits in with “I Fell in Love With the Devil” and “Head Above Water.” The songs all mark a period of time for me.
Q: Was it a challenge to get people to take you seriously with this album?
A: Easing back into working again, everyone was really supportive and really respectful with my musical choices.
I had to grow as an artist. I can’t do the same thing over and over and over. It’s my sixth album, and this is my time to just dig deep. I didn’t hold back. I put myself out there.
Q: I’m curious what kind of mood you were in the day you wrote “I Fell in Love With the Devil.”
A: I was like, “Can I say this?” But honestly, I was going through something really crazy and I sat down and started writing that.
That phrase kept going through my head and I sat down at the piano and sang, “I fell in love with the devil/ Now I’m in trouble!” I was thinking to myself, “Everyone can relate to this.” I thought, “I’m going to go dark and morbid and not hold back and say these things.” It’s an empowering song.
Q: There are some other songs on the album where you assert yourself in a similar way, like “Goddess” and “Dumb Blonde.”
A: The album hits on different subjects. On “Warrior” and “Head Above Water,” I’m fighting for my life.
“Dumb Blonde” is taking a stand, having been spoken down to by somebody who was a misogynist and called me a dumb blonde. It’s saying that it’s OK to be a strong, independent woman; you don’t have to feel bad for that. Whether you’re male or female, no one should ever put you down or make you feel little for being who you are.
Songs like “Devil” are about being in a toxic relationship. With “Head Above Water,” I was like, “I hope this can inspire, bring hope, encourage and lift up anyone who’s going through something hard in their life.”
Avril Lavigne. Photo: David Needleman / Contributed photo
Q: You posed naked with a guitar on the album cover. Was that your idea?
A: It’s funny because we were shooting photos and I was changing and then I was like, “Wait. Someone bring me a guitar!” Then I sat there and took the photo. I haven’t done anything like that before. I thought it’s cool because I’m baring it all. I’m raw and exposed, which represented this album.
Q: You didn’t take the last few years off by choice. Did anything good come out of having to take a break?
A: Funny enough, having the break made me realize how much I need music in my life. I was quiet at home and there was nothing going on. I would constantly have these little poems and ideas and songs coming to me. It showed me how much being creative is something that I need.
Also, you really learn that the little simple things in life matter the most, like you see on those little signs that say, “Love, joy, peace.” I fell in love with music all over again.
Avril Lavigne: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17. $60.50-$80.50. Fox Oakland, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. thefoxoakland.com