Avril Lavinge has been on the music scene for the last decade.
The singer is part of the Noughties invasion by American stars including Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera… and the cast of Dawson’s Creek.
While several of those have fallen by the wayside though, Avril — who has sold more than 30million albums globally — is coming back with her fifth studio collection.
She spawned a copycat army of skater grunge girls, the like of which can still be seen roaming London’s famous Camden Market on any given Saturday.
We caught up with the original sk8er girl to see how she’s been keeping.
WITH so much on your plate with your new record, how are you fitting in planning your wedding to Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger?
I’ve already been planning the wedding. It’s just more meetings than usual, more emails, more phone calls. But it’s been good.I told myself that it’s a lot to do while releasing a new record, but whatever happens, don’t let it fly by, enjoy everything. So that’s what I’m trying to do.
Both yourself and Chad come from a different era of showbusiness, ten years ago, when celebrity was quite different. How does it feel like it’s changed to you?
Celebrity is a lot bigger and there’s a lot more of it. There are more artists releasing more singles. People are really into watching that stuff on TV and buying the mags.I don’t know how I feel about it, it’s part of our culture now. I guess there’s more paparazzi but I lay low. I keep to myself.
What’s one of the things you’ve noticed the most?
Camera phones. I think my first time in Korea or Japan when I went there with the second record, they warned us about camera phones. They said if you see people in the audience holding up their phones, just so you know, it’s their camera.
Because we didn’t have them back then in the US, it was this big thing. We were told to not get weirded out, that they’re just taking your picture. Because they all would just stand there with their phones in the air.
How weird is that? That we’ve all experienced not really having cameras on our phones to now, when everyone takes pictures every day with them.
Lots of people from your era have gone off the rails because of the world of celebrity. How have you managed to stay sane?
I’ve worked really hard since I got my record deal — it has been non-stop.
This is my fifth album and I’ve toured every record. Touring is very gruelling and it takes up about one to two years of your life.
Also, I appreciate it. I grew up in a really small town, and I worked really hard for it and I made it. So I don’t take it for granted.
I think you have to be careful because when you’re “the star”, it’s all you, you, you. And I’ve always tried to separate when I go onstage and be me the performer. That’s one head space, then when I come off, that’s another head space.
That’s why I stopped living in LA, because I lived there for ten years, and when I went home after a tour was over and I did things like going grocery shopping or whatever, I didn’t ever leave that headspace. I felt like that wasn’t going to be any good for me if I kept it like that any longer. Now I’ve moved and I get to actually be home and all of that shuts off.
When I moved to France for four months last year and I wasn’t in LA, I felt like I forgot that I was a singer. I was just so in touch with myself and then I realised that, as great as LA is, it’s nice to not live there any more.
And it’s good because I was young and I got to go to nightclubs, be a rock star, but now I’m 28 and in a different place.
Your music must be in a different place now too, seeing as you’re all grown-up?
Lyrically, I talk more about other stuff these days instead of boy-bashing and break-up songs. Typically, in the past, my natural go-to in songs was boys and love.
That’s what the majority of people write about, falling in love or heartbreak or partying. These are the main topics. So I pushed myself to talk about other things.
As well as you adapting, the music scene has also really changed in that time?
It has changed a lot — radio was really rhythmic and urban and track-oriented.
With me coming from more of a pop rock kind of sound, I had to find a way to fit in somehow.
The state of music now is very track-oriented, though — modern dance.
Sometimes with that type of music you have to be quite careful because it doesn’t last long and I always try to have my songs mean something.
You have to be careful with changing too much because people fall in love with you and they want you to stay that way.
If you do exactly what the sound was at the time, then you sound like everybody else. People who follow the trend and rip all of the other sounds off, they start sounding the same.
How different does it feel for you then, coming back into this changed environment with a new record?
It’s good because it’s being released internationally, which is a big deal for me. We were having a really good time making it.
The album is diverse — there are a lot of songs that have a ton of meaning and a significant amount of depth to them. There’s ballads, there’s mid-tempo ones and there’s a heavier song which is more rock-oriented guitars.
What was it like going back into the studio?
It was a lot of working hard and very long hours, 12, 14 or 16-hour days, so we were basically living in the studio.
We’d work all day until two, three or 4am — sometimes we even left at seven in the morning. But a lot of musicians work at night and they stay up late and that’s when they create.
Then I’d just go back to my hotel room, eat and fall asleep. Even though we were in LA for ages, I couldn’t meet anyone to go to dinner, go shopping or do anything. I can’t reply to emails, I don’t really talk to people on the phone and my friends are all like, “Why don’t you want to hang out?”
What’s one of the biggest misconceptions about you?
That I’m this crazy girl. For me, I talk now more than I’ve ever done, because I’m older and more comfortable with myself. But back when I was a teenager, it was one-word answers — yes or no.
People expect me to be more extroverted and crazy, because that’s how I am in my music videos — jumping around and singing.
But I’m actually much more mellow and quiet. When the music happens, I work it for the crowd. It’s part of being a performer, to make sure everyone who took the time to be at the concert has the best time.
Avril’s new single, Here’s To Never Growing Up is out on July 14.
Avril Lavinge has been on the music scene for the last decade.