Q

From Let Go to Love Sux, Avril Lavigne has always had a clear vision for her music

As her debut album Let Go turns 20 and she releases a new album, Avril Lavigne looks back on her early days as a teenage artist writing songs about skater boys.

The singer-songwriter looks back on 20 years of being a pop-punk icon

(Submitted by Red Umbrella PR)

It's hard to believe that Let Go, Avril Lavigne's pop-punk ode to teen angst and skater boys, turns 20 this year. 

The album is forever young, perhaps because it's so deeply rooted in Lavigne's perspective as a teenaged aspiring singer-songwriter who left Napanee, Ont., to pursue music. 

"I was very clear on what I liked and didn't like and I still am today," said Lavigne in an interview with CBC's Tom Power on Q.

"I was coming right out of high school … skateboarding and listening to Blink-182.… I was really gravitat[ing] towards, like, more rock music at that time. And that's what I wanted my music to sound like. Some people couldn't wrap their head around that."

I was very clear on what I liked and didn't like and I still am today.- Avril Lavigne

Lavigne was signed at 15 by L.A. Reid based on a song she wrote called Why, which is about getting into a fight with her mom. Lavigne said a producer rewrote the song to make it romantic.

"I was writing music on the first album, [and] it was a challenge because, like, all the producers and co-writers that I was working with … expected something different or … they thought they would do most of the work," said Lavigne. "But I was like, 'No, songwriting is really important to me.'"

After going through "way more than a handful of people," Lavigne went to L.A. where she met songwriters Clif Magness and Lauren Christy.

"Lauren Christy and I spent a lot of time just, like, talking about what I was going through as … a young teen," said Lavigne.

"I put that stuff, those emotions, into my music.… There was a lot of, like, angst, and you're feeling, like, new emotions for the first time and going through s--t you haven't gone through before and … having crushes for the first time. And it's like all that went into my music, and it was … real and authentic."

WATCH | Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavigne

With hits like Complicated, Sk8er Boi and I'm with You, Lavigne's Let Go went multi-platinum, led to seven more albums and nine Juno Awards, and inspired a wave of young pop stars like Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, who have counted her as an important musical influence.

Lavigne is now taking her latest album, Love Sux, on tour across Canada. The sound of the new record is true to her pop-punk roots, with lyrics that riff playfully and angrily off a painful breakup.

"I had a lot of time in the pandemic to, like, reflect on my life and love and like … all the crazy things it's put me through," said Lavigne.

"It felt very like, 'All right, we're going to tap into this and have some fun with it.'"

WATCH | Bite Me by Avril Lavigne

This interview was produced by Vanessa Nigro. The article was written by Jane van Koeverden.

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