Avril Lavigne had to fight throughout her career to make the music she wanted to
Lavigne and Rico Nasty candidly discuss experiences as women in music, leading off Alternative Press’ Modern Icons Issue, available now.
Twenty years ago, Avril Lavigne began a legacy with her debut album, Let Go. Its release saw her dominate the pop-punk landscape on a global scale, being one of few women to do so successfully. But it also ignited a journey that required strength and resolve to execute her vision. Along the way, her abilities were questioned regularly, and writing the music she wanted to became a challenge. It took instances such as bringing her own clothing to a photo shoot because the tops on the rack didn’t suit her and defending her teenage rage to her parents to maintain that vision.
Ultimately, it’s Lavigne’s steadfast determination that paved a path forward for new artists such as Rico Nasty.
“You created a standard,” Nasty says to Lavigne from a Los Angeles warehouse. “You created a realm for us to be in. Back when you were coming up, it was like, ‘Well, this is what the fuck is going on.’ But now you’re on the fucking mood board. You’re who people want to dress like.”
Leading off Alternative Press’ Modern Icons Issue, which features a series of conversations between musical luminaries and the artists they influenced, Nasty and Lavigne connected for the first time. Throughout their conversation, the two musicians spoke candidly about their respective upbringings and why music matters more than anything. From musical processes to first jobs, Nasty and Lavigne discovered commonalities and differences, qualities that define them and their artistry. For Nasty and Lavigne, it’s a true meeting of the new school and the old school — one that spotlights alternative music’s bright future.
June of this year will mark the 20th anniversary of Avril Lavigne’s debut album ‘Let Go’. For many, the album is one of the most accurate time capsules of the early Millenium rock/grunge scene and its impact on those that experienced it the first time round is immeasurable. However, like all good music, the album transcended generations as was evident when Avril Lavigne joined TikTok last year and her first video amassing over 34 million views.
On February 25th, Avril Lavigne is set to release her brand new album entitled ‘Love Sux’ a body of work wholly unique from the rest but still 100% Avril. Writing now as a developed artist with 20 years of life experience under her belt, this album channels all the fun and excitement of Avril’s iconic rock sounds, paired with stories of the ups and downs of her experience in love.
We caught up with Avril to discuss her musical journey, impact and of course, her FAULTs.
AVRIL LAVIGNE IS STILL THE MOTHERF*CKING (POP-PUNK) PRINCESS
For the last 20 years, Avril Lavigne has been an enigma that nobody could quite figure out. Was she an ingenious, 17-year-old, tomboy songwriter, or was she a “poser?” A fashion icon who made girls around the world rock neckties, or a bad influence who showed butt cleavage at the VMAs? A Guinness-world record-breaker who reached over 100 million views on YouTube for her “Girlfriend” music video, or a clone imposter named “Melissa?”
Maybe the reason the media and haters had trouble with Avril Lavigne is because they couldn’t put her in a box, and unfortunately for them, they still can’t! Avril is still rocking her punk-rock style, but changing it up every once in a while with a pink or sparkly number (like her recent outfit choice for this year’s VMAs). She’s still writing deep and poetic songs, but also high-energy, fun tunes that you can blast when you’re pissed off at your boyfriend. People on the internet are still speculating about weird conspiracy theories, but Avril still looks and sounds almost exactly the same as she did on her debut concert tour in 2002 (and that’s a good thing).
AVRIL LAVIGNE AND THE TWO DECADES THAT PAVED THE WAY FOR POP-PUNK
It’s been 20 years since Avril Lavigne released her debut album Let Go and emerged on the music scene as the newest it girl in pop punk. Avril created the pop punk genre releasing hit after hit and establishing herself as a lyrical genius, fashion icon, and a voice that not only spoke to a generation, but defined it. As she celebrates the 20th anniversary of Let Go, the album that kick started her career, the songstress shows no signs of slowing down.
Avril Lavigne would like you to think that she has a donkey.
The singer is currently living out in Malibu, a mostly peaceful place just west of Los Angeles. It reminds her of her home in Canada, not because of the sun or the waves but the “country vibes” and rolling hills. Her neighbours, she tells me, have a donkey, and she winds herself into hysterics trying to explain what noise he makes: “He doesn’t bark, he just makes noises. He yelps. Squeaks. Talks? It’s so funny,” she adds: “I don’t personally have a donkey, but write that in the article. ‘Avril Lavigne puts out new single ‘Bite Me’, moves to Malibu and gets a donkey.’”
Lavigne might not have a donkey all her own, but it’s clear that she’s in a great place right now – Malibu, but also personally. Now 37 years old and on her seventh album, she has settled into her place in the world: “I’m really grateful to still be doing what I love and to have a musical outlet. I’m having so much fun with it all, and I guess you can tell,” she says. “I’m not just putting out another record to put out a record, I’m making music this far into my career because I truly want to and it’s just such a big part of my life. I’m so excited to still be doing my thing.”
Read Avril’s great article in the newest edition of Nylon magazine. Coolest revelations from the article: the new album is due in January and Avril is FINALLY getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022!
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE AVRIL LAVIGNE
THE QUEEN OF POP-PUNK IS BACK TO DOING WHAT SHE DOES BEST: BEING AVRIL LAVIGNE.
It was 2004, and a 19-year-old Avril Lavigne walked into her first NYLON cover shoot with a look that’s become pop culture cannon: Doc Martens, her outfits covered in “lots of studs and zippers,” as the article goes on to describe; her hair pin-straight and unbleached, with dark layers underneath. Seventeen years later, she enters her latest NYLON cover shoot — her fifth — as if dozens of style trends haven’t come and gone since. Her hair is lighter, flipped over to one side but still pin-straight; her shoes are platform slip-ons with razor blade-shaped zip pulls; her jeans are baggy and ripped at the knee, as if she’s come from a day skateboarding in the back alley. In 2004, the look was lambasted by critics as a teenage girl marketing manufactured punk, but Lavigne begs to differ; tucked into a leather couch in a downtown L.A. studio, she recalls early photoshoots where she was the one calling the shots. “I’d show up and they were like, ‘Can she wear this pink blouse?’ And I’d be like, ‘I’m not wearing that.’ I’d pull out my book bag, and all of my ties. It was my thing.”
Avril Lavigne used to be known as a pop-punk princess, but her more recent albums deviated from that vibe a bit. She’s confirmed that her new album is done, and according to rock producer and Goldfinger frontman John Feldmann, the singer just may be making a return to her angsty ways.
This past Saturday (Feb. 6), Lavigne responded to an eager fan in her Instagram comments stating that her seventh studio album is, in fact, done. “Music coming soon. For sure summer,” she wrote, with an electric guitar emoji.
In December, Feldmann enthusiastically told Australia’s Wall of Sound that he’s bringing her back to her pop-punk roots with this new album. Anyone remember the Under My Skin days? We’ll gladly take some more of that.
Avril Lavigne can do her own eyeliner — a smudgy, inky black that’s been her signature for nearly two decades — in five minutes flat. It’s a feat she announces with a sense of pride, exaggerating a fluttering of the eyes to show off her latest doing. It’s also a skill that comes in handy when a global pop star finds herself quarantined with a full day of video interviews and no glam squad.
Normally, Lavigne only wears mascara and some eyebrow gel while at home in Los Angeles. Today, however, she’s in work mode promoting her latest single, so full eyeliner it is. The song, “We Are Warriors,” is a remix of “Warriors,” off her 2019 album Head Above Water, the net proceeds from sales and streams will go to global health organization Project HOPE’s COVID-19 relief efforts, in partnership with the Avril Lavigne Foundation. “My whole tour got canceled, and I thought, ‘I want to be able to do something and give back somehow,’” she explains. “I’ve been moved by the frontline workers and what they are doing, and they are being referred to as warriors. I took my song ‘Warriors,’ and re-recorded it in the home studio to make it ‘We Are Warriors,’ about everyone who is risking their lives to help. It’s a small token of my appreciation.”
Now, Lavigne, 35, is winding down for the night in her home studio. “I still have high-waisted jeans on, and I can’t wait to take them off,” she says over Zoom, sipping on a colorful red liquid she later identifies as water with added electrolytes. She’s cross-legged on a keyboard bench, above which hang several black and white framed photos of herself. “I was thinking today that maybe I should film myself doing makeup,” she says, laughing at herself. “I’ll be like, ‘Hi, today I’m going to be an influencer. Let me get my camera angle right.’ We’ll do everything except contour.” The key to the Avril Lavigne eye, she explains to her audience of one, is the blending. “With a smoky eye, you cannot just do black,” she says. “You start with white, then you put grey, then a little bit of brown, and then black on the ends. You have to blend all these colors. Does she have a favorite eyeliner? “Yes, b*tch!” It’s MAC Eye Kohl in Smolder.