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Avril Lavigne

Unapologetically original. Unabashedly in your face. Avril Lavigne's 2002 debut Let Go gave young women a defiant voice and set it to music they could rock out to. Fourteen million albums and eight Grammy nominations later, the Canadian chanteuse returns with Under My Skin but if you're expecting a whole lot of the same, you've got another thing coming. This is not a girl who rests on her laurels. Under My Skin opens with the dramatic tracks "Take Me Away" and "Together," which set the scene for the kick-ass guitars and radio-ready chorus of "Don't Tell Me," a song of willful female empowerment that picks up where "Complicated" left off. From there it's a one-two punch of three-chord guitar licks ("He Wasn't") and head-bopping optimism ("Who Knows") alongside swirling, brooding melodies ("Freak Out") and moody tracks ("Forgotten," "Nobody's Home") that reveal a darker side of Avril Lavigne. "I grew up so much in the past two years," admits the Napanee, Ontario, native. "I've been through a lot, I've learned a lot, and experienced a lot both good and bad. These songs are about all of that, and each is very personal to me." Working with producers, Butch Walker (of the Marvelous 3), Raine Maida (of Our Lady Peace), Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Pearl Jam), Avril co-wrote the dozen introspective songs on Under My Skin in near secrecy. "I'd just come off my world tour and got back to Toronto and was writing right away," the 19-year-old says. "I had no idea what I was going to do. No one did. People wondered if I'd run out of things to write about, but it was the opposite."

After a lunch date with fellow Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk turned into a major chick-bonding session, Avril and Chantal sat down to write. The chemistry was ineffable. "We got together one night and all of a sudden we had a song," she says. "No one knew what I was up to, not my management, not my label." The duo got together the next night and wrote another song. "We did that for two weeks and wrote 12 songs." Momentum took over and by summer Avril was moving into Chantal and her husband Raine Maida's Malibu house to record. "I was only off my tour for a couple of weeks, and I was ready to record," Avril recalls.

The California air provided a needed escape from Avril's frantic life. "It was a great time for me, living out there, being out of the public eye, and having my independence. And my friendship with Chantal evolved into one of the best I've ever had." Chantal and Avril would spend all night in the studio perfecting the songs. During the day, Avril learned the city by driving to and from the studio and wherever she needed to be. No photos, no interviews, no pressure. Eventually they recorded most of the songs in Raine's studio, and those songs appear unaltered on Under My Skin. The rest of the tracks, co-written with her guitarist Evan Taubenfeld (and one track with former Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody), were cut just up the road. "I was involved in every aspect of making this record. I'm very hands-on," she says. "I knew how I wanted the drums, the guitar tones, and the structures to be. I understand the whole process so much better this time because I've been through it. I'm really picky with my sound."

Picking favorites out of her 12 hand-made babies is another matter. "They all mean so much to me, but I love ‘Together,’ which is all about being in a relationship and knowing it's not right. It's a song that basically says, it's not working out honey." A couple of other tracks mine dysfunctional relationships and have hooks as catchy as those on "Complicated" and real-life narratives (like "Sk8er Boi"), but what truly underscores Avril's growth are the more positive tracks, such as "Who Knows" and "Take Me Away." "I guess that's just the way that I am now," admits the former supposed attitude junkie. Deep, piano-driven tracks like "Together" and "Forgotten" reflect Avril's growth, maturity, and change since the release of Let Go. "I'm happy with what I'm doing and have faith that everything is going to work out for the best." She's also found a feminine side to offset her well-publicized tomboyishness. "I'm such a chick. I'm a hopeless romantic, and surprisingly old-fashioned," Avril laughs. "That's why I wrote a song about not giving it up to just any guy ["Don't Tell Me"]." Girly quirks aside, Avril's anxious to get the show on the road. "It feels so good to be singing new songs," she says. "I feel refreshed and I'm looking forward to the next thing."

Optimistic or melancholic, Avril's two-year wild-ride on the rock-star express has shaped her world view and taught her a whole lot about balance. "The songs on Under My Skin are definitely deeper than those on Let Go," she says, "But I still love a good pop song. I'm basically just a girl who likes to write, who likes to rock out, and who wants music to be a part of my life forever."

She's also just a girl with a bell-clear voice and the ability to bottle youthful anguish and enthusiasm into tidy, infectious songs. Avril Lavigne's Under My Skin is sure to get under yours.



Lavigne, Simple Plan, Sum 41 To Junos

Lavigne gets five nominations for Canada's music awards.

Although Avril Lavigne didn't get any Grammy nominations this year, she did receive five Juno Award nominations for her latest album, "Under My Skin."

The Juno Awards are Canada's version of the Grammy's and honor outstanding Canadian musical artists. Lavigne is nominated in five categories, including Album of the Year, where she'll face competition from Simple Plan, Diana Krall, Billy Talent and Celine Dion. Lavigne also got nods for Artist of the Year and Pop Album of the Year, among others.

Nominees for Group of the Year include Simple Plan and Sum 41. Simple Plan's latest album "Still Not Getting Any..." also earned a nomination for Best Pop Album of the Year, while Sum 41's album "Chuck" received a nomination for Rock Album of the Year.

U2, Green Day, Eminem, Norah Jones and Usher will battle it out for International Album of the Year at the April 3rd Juno Awards ceremony. This year's show takes place in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Avril Lavigne's "Under My Skin" on DualDisc

On February 8, Avril Lavigne's latest album, "Under My Skin," will be available as a DualDisc. One side of the DualDisc features the full audio album of "Under My Skin," while the other "DVD side" includes a new photo gallery, a 22-minute behind-the-scenes special on Lavigne that previously aired on MTV and Fuse, and videos for "Nobody's Home," "My Happy Ending" and "Don't Tell Me."

Other titles to be released as DualDiscs in February and March of 2005 include David Bowie's "Reality," Destiny's Child's "Destiny Fulfilled," Incubus' "A Crow Left of the Murder," John Mayer's "Heavier Things," Los Lonely Boys' "Los Lonely Boys," Switchfoot's "the Beautiful Letdown," Usher's "8701" and Velvet Revolver's "Contraband."

Last November, the latest Simple Plan album, "Still Not Getting Any..." was included in DualDisc's initial rollout. The Simple Plan DualDisc featured the audio album and behind-the-scenes footage of the band as it made the new album.

Avril Lavigne nets five Juno nominations

The Junos looked with love on a punk princess-turned-woman, a smoky-voiced jazz siren, a rapper with a conscience and several bratty boy bands that reached the status of rock royalty this past year.

Avril Lavigne led nominations Monday for the annual music showdown, earning five nods including artist of the year, fans' choice and best songwriter.

Under My Skin, on which the young star sang about more mature topics than with her breakout hit Complicated, was also nominated for album of the year and best pop album. The CD earned one of its producers, Raine Maida, normally the frontman of Our Lady Peace, a nomination as well.

Jazz star Diana Krall had four nominations, while k-os, Celine Dion, Feist, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Shania Twain, Billy Talent and Simple Plan received three nominations each.

Avril Lavigne: One on One

Q: What's this about Sum 41 giving you a wedgie?
Avril: That's actually a lie. I was the one who gave Steve a wedgie, and he claims he gave me the best wedgie he's ever given anyone, which is incorrect information and I'm gonna get him back large. We were all hanging out in New York and walked over to him and almost ripped his boxers off, so it all started there. Like I say, there'll be payback.

Q: Could this escalate into a wedgie war?
Avril: Oh, definitely.

Q: What's 'Sk8er Boi' aboot?
Avril: What inspired me to write it is what I went through in high school. About how different people treat each other. There's that message that you should go with your instincts, follow your heart and you'll be happy in the end.

Q: How were you treated in high school?
Avril: I got treated differently by different people. I was a skater and there were preps who looked down on you because you wore baggy clothes. But it was OK. I hated high school.

Q: Do you skate?
Avril: I was a skater in high school.

Q: Do you have any tips for someone pulling a backside ollie kickflip?
Avril: I said I was a skater in high school, that doesn't mean I am one now.

Q: You've been compared with Alanis...doesn't that get on your nerves?
Avril: I haven't heard that in a while but yeah I got a lot of comparisions and it did annoy me. Even though I think she's great and I love her but I'm me. I'm not her. You just have to deal with it, especially if you're a new artist and people try and explain what you're like.

Q: Who would you compare yourself to?
Avril: I wouldn't compare myself to anyone. I have my own sound and my music is rock pop.

Q: How does it feel to have achieved all this success at such an early age?
Avril: It's good because I've got a start on the career that I want for my life. Having success enables me to continue to do good music.

Don’t label Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne has been moaning about being a misunderstood teenager...again.
She won't be able to use that excuse for much longer - she turns 20 later this year.

The star is promoting her new album 'Under My Skin' which is due out later this month.

She took time out to have a gripe about people trying to pigeonhole her:

"I always hate it when I get labelled punk or whatever, because I'm not and I never claimed to be punk."

"I always found it really hard when I came here that people would label me. I'm like 'Why are you doing that? Like, I'm a person!'"

“You can’t label people, give them one word and say ‘This is what you are.’"

"I was a growing teenager, changing all the time.”

Avril Lavigne slams manufactured pop

Avril Lavigne has taken another swipe at manufactured pop artists whilst promoting her new album 'Under My Skin'.
There have also been recent rumours about turmoil in her band after her guitarist and ex boyfriend Jesse Colburn left but Avril reckons everything is OK.

She has got herself into trouble in the past speaking out against artists she reckons are manufactured like Britney.

This time she's not naming names but the digs are still there:

"Some people are told how to act, what to wear, what they can and can't sing"

"I've never been in that situation, I've always done what I wanted to. I have a lot of say in everything. I'm pretty lucky that way."

"I've had a couple of guys leave the band and I've replaced them. I'm a solo artist, it's Avril Lavigne."

Av A Beer!

It's good to see that Avril Lavigne's fame and fortune has given her greater sense of responsiblity and a sense of duty to her fellow man. "I just want to get wasted, dance and hang out!" the 19-year-old rockette told Maxim magazine this week.

"I'm growing up, I'm changing, I'm becoming a woman," said Latrine, which in her book means getting blotto and punching the first thing you see.

Avers also told the mag that she's prepared to get tough when she needs to, after she faced up to another woman in a bar who mouthed off about her music.

"Some chick came up to me and got in my face and said something, so I kicked her in the crotch and shoved her," says Avril, who, you'll be surprised to learn didn't attend Swiss finishing school.

"I don't go looking for fights," said Avers as she worked out on her punchbag and laced up a pair of boxing gloves (probably), "but if someone comes up to me and pushes me I'm not going to take it."

Avril's Happy Ending

We may be seeing an end to the angst-ridden rhymes from teen misery, Avril Lavigne, as she's set to tie the knot with boyf, Deryck Whibley.

According to the Sun, The Sum 41 singer popped the question last weekend in California and Avril is said to be over the moon.

A mate told the paper, "Avril has had a grin on her face ever since. She's really excited. People tag her as this miserable teenager but she couldn't be happier right now. She told her mum straight away and she has been totally buzzing. They haven't set a date yet but they want to walk up the aisle next year."

Let's hope she manages a smile for the camera...

No Royal Luv-igne

He was a Prince, she was a surly, grungey pop girl. Could we make it any more obvious? Well, we'll try.

Avril Lavigne pulled out of a meeting with Prince Charles at Party In The Park on Sunday. Together with Jamelia, Ms. Bovril was due to sit next to Charles as he watched the end of the show. But the Prince's flustered flunkeys were told Avril wouldn't be showing. A previous engagement with her sk8er boi Derek Whibley from Sum 41 perhaps?

No. A backstage insider told The Sun: "Avril wasn't keen on the idea. She wanted to get away as soon as she completed her set. The official line is that Avril had a plane to catch. But the truth is she is cripplingly shy and hates publicity stunts."

Crippling shyness? Hates publicity? Mmm... You probably picked the wrong profession then eh Avril?

Avril Lavigne is the real deal

It's tough being the new kid in school. As soon as you arrive, all eyes are on you, scrutinizing your look, your dress and your haircut. Everything you've ever been up to this point is irrelevant — the new crowd has already formed strong opinions based on this first impression. As the newest addition to the MTV News team, I know the feeling.
So must Avril Lavigne. Since emerging on the pop scene, this brash 20-year-old has given off a first impression that split her audience into two factions: those who view her as a strong-willed wild child and those who think she's a poser and a major-label product.

"She's not just some chick who follows the whole pop scene and preppy thing," one fan wrote to our You Tell Us forum. "She sticks to her own image of herself and doesn't wear a lot of slutty clothes, unlike some of her peers," opined another.

Others, conversely, think her songs are silly and her delivery is a warmed over Alanis Morissette. Some sentiments are stronger: "She's so fabricated it makes me sick. ... Her 'punk' style is disappointing because it probably comes from the pages of Teen People."

And just like in school, most of those passing judgment don't know the whole story.

I first met Avril Lavigne in February, in a Los Angeles hotel during Grammy week. After checking in, I was on my way to my room, as was fellow correspondent Sway to his, when we stumbled upon a pack of teenagers skateboarding through the carpeted halls. They were laughing and screaming, loud and obnoxious, but none of those around seemed to care. The ceremony was in a few days and the other guests, including Outkast's Big Boi, India.Arie and Backstreet Boys, likely dismissed them as fans who slipped by security or forgave them for being the uncontrollable offspring of industry players.

"Hey, you're on MTV," a slight girl in oversized cargo cutoffs and a stained tank top said to Sway and me.

Oh no, here comes the first autograph seeker of the week, we thought. But picking up our names wasn't as important as dropping hers.

"My name is Avril Lavigne," the pipsqueak squawked. "You're going to know me soon." And with that, she dropped her board and skated off, nearly clipping Big Boi's shins in the process.

Fast forward six months, and I, as well as millions nationwide, have realized Avril's prediction.

But it isn't just Avril Lavigne's name that people remember. Most young, female pop artists before her seemed like Britney replicas, complete with blond hair and belly rings. Lavigne, on the contrary, wouldn't be caught dead in such glittery get-ups. Even for photo shoots, of which she's done quite a few recently, she prefers to wear her old, crumpled T's, much to the dismay of hired stylists armed with wardrobes of costumes.

Whether she's onstage, in front of a camera, or simply kicking back, Avril strives to be nothing but herself. She rides a skateboard, opts for baggy over fitted, isn't afraid to open her mouth (even if she sometimes puts her foot in it) and would rather hang with the guys than shop with the girls.

She approaches her career with a similar casual confidence and self-determination. She wants be successful, but on her own terms, just as she wants to look hot, but in a pair of cutoff Dickies rather than a miniskirt. When her label wanted her to sing what she referred to as "Celine Dion-type ballads," she rejected them outright and insisted on writing her own songs.

The bold declaration shocked the executives who underestimated her talents, not the least of whom was Arista Records CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid. While he was probably taken back by the newcomer's rebuff, he might have also cast a sly grin, knowing that he got more than he had bargained for when he signed Lavigne to the label in November 2000.

She eventually worked with a team of pro songsmiths to craft her debut LP, Let Go, but one listen to the songs and you know an outspoken teenager had more than a passive hand in their creation. Take the album's lead single, "Complicated," which explains the disappointment felt when the boy she likes acts like a dork around his friends. Or its successor, "Sk8er Boi," about seeing beauty where no one else could in a high school misfit who eventually became a rock star.

While she was recording the album, Reid dropped by the studio to check in on his latest prospect, a visit that made most everyone around nervous. The jitters are understandable, given Reid is responsible launching the careers of Pink and Usher, among others. So all were on their best behavior. All, that is, except Avril, who was simply acting like Avril and it wouldn't have made a difference if it was L.A. Reid, Lou Reed or Tara Reid who paid her a visit.

"Everyone was like, freaking out," she remembered. "They were like, 'Are you going to be OK? You're not going to be nervous, are you?' I'm like, 'What? I'm just going to be singing, OK? I'm fine, I'm just doing my thing.' "
Lavigne began "doing her thing" in Napanee, Ontario, a town with a population of about 5,000. An admitted tomboy, she grew up a middle child, which could explain her craving for the spotlight. Like most suburban high schools, hers had its cliques: the jocks, Goths, freaks, stoners and skaters. Lavigne found a home with the latter, and like most who fall in that category, she skates because she likes it, not because she envisions herself the next Tony Hawk.

"Dude, I suck," is her typical response when asked about her shredding skills. "I mean, I like to skate, it's fun, but ... I like to do it in my free time. I don't want someone to shove a camera and a board in my face and be like, 'Here, let's see what everyone's talking about.' Because it's not like I'm a pro. I fall a lot, but I mean, everyone falls, you know."
Despite the sense of good fortune and gratitude most would derive from having L.A. Reid as a fan, Lavigne seems rather unimpressed. Sheer adolescent confidence permeates her logic. "If it wasn't this label, it would be another," she said matter-of-factly, as if those statistics about one in every few thousand artists being commercially successful didn't apply to her.
The Let Go track "Anything But Ordinary" is Avril's signature song: "Somebody save my life/ I'd rather be any thing but ordinary, please." While it seems as though her sincerity would preclude her from needing to be rescued, simply writing a song about being "anything but ordinary" could come off as contrived. Just because a kid sports a T-shirt reading "Freak," it doesn't make him one. It seems the harder you reach for it, the farther away you get.

It would be easy to dismiss Lavigne as a poser if it weren't for the other aspects of her personality that aren't so much "cool" as they are genuine. She's quick to admit that school made her insecure (she's since dropped out to concentrate solely on her music). And as much as she professes to having this fashion-plate phobia, she's prone to be contradictory, but aren't we all? In keeping with her muss-and-no-fuss exterior, she waved off a stylist who tried to primp her hair for our interview, but when I informed her that she had a strand out of place, she blushed, thanked me profusely and looked a little self-conscious. This isn't being fake, it's being real.

Another aspect that debunks the notion that Lavigne is the product of a major-label laboratory is her band: drummer Matthew Brann, bassist Mark Spicoluk and guitarists Jesse Colburn and Evan Taubenfeld. Although she got together with them after signing her deal, these boys are her band, and she treats them as such. Besides the guys being all over her "Complicated" video, she and Taubenfeld wrote a song together soon after they met. Lavigne expects some of their collaborative efforts to appear on her next LP.

Despite the sense of good fortune and gratitude most would derive from having L.A. Reid as a fan, Lavigne seems rather unimpressed. Sheer adolescent confidence permeates her logic. "If it wasn't this label, it would be another," she said matter-of-factly, as if those statistics about one in every few thousand artists being commercially successful didn't apply to her.

The Let Go track "Anything But Ordinary" is Avril's signature song: "Somebody save my life/ I'd rather be any thing but ordinary, please." While it seems as though her sincerity would preclude her from needing to be rescued, simply writing a song about being "anything but ordinary" could come off as contrived. Just because a kid sports a T-shirt reading "Freak," it doesn't make him one. It seems the harder you reach for it, the farther away you get.

It would be easy to dismiss Lavigne as a poser if it weren't for the other aspects of her personality that aren't so much "cool" as they are genuine. She's quick to admit that school made her insecure (she's since dropped out to concentrate solely on her music). And as much as she professes to having this fashion-plate phobia, she's prone to be contradictory, but aren't we all? In keeping with her muss-and-no-fuss exterior, she waved off a stylist who tried to primp her hair for our interview, but when I informed her that she had a strand out of place, she blushed, thanked me profusely and looked a little self-conscious. This isn't being fake, it's being real.

Another aspect that debunks the notion that Lavigne is the product of a major-label laboratory is her band: drummer Matthew Brann, bassist Mark Spicoluk and guitarists Jesse Colburn and Evan Taubenfeld. Although she got together with them after signing her deal, these boys are her band, and she treats them as such. Besides the guys being all over her "Complicated" video, she and Taubenfeld wrote a song together soon after they met. Lavigne expects some of their collaborative efforts to appear on her next LP.
"I'm a solo artist and it's my name, but I have the band vibe and I want people, when they hear my name or think 'Avril Lavigne,' to think of me and the guys. That's how much I want them to be involved in this," she explained. "We have something really special and we connect really well. It's strange, but it really feels like we're all supposed to be together. It's a really cool, unique situation."

And like most 17-year-olds, she finds a rocker guy strapped with a Les Paul sunburst simply irresistible. "I had a crush on each of them," she confessed. "Aren't they hot?"

She's not alone in this real-girl approach. Along with Vanessa Carlton and Michelle Branch, Lavigne is making a refreshing return to themes deeper and more emotionally grounded than the vague musical question posed by the last 'NSYNC single: "Would you be my girlfriend?" Girls like Avril, Vanessa, and Michelle require a little more info and reply with questions like "Why?" and "What's in it for me?" Like just being in a boy band isn't enough? For these ladies and their fans, it's not.

As Let Go continues to move around 100,000 copies each week, Lavigne may find that the sudden success can make holding on to her no-frills image all the more difficult. It was easy to decline an offer to slink into some fancy couture when you've never worn it, but when you can afford to have a closetful, the temptation to ditch your tried and true blue jeans may be too much. Avril, wise beyond her years, has even forecasted the possibility of losing her grip on "Mobile": "Everything's changing when I turn around/ All out of my control, I'm a mobile."

When I asked how she's going to keep it all in check, Lavigne, not surprisingly, already had it all figured out.

''I don't get overwhelmed,''she said, "just because I feel like I've kind of prepared myself for it. All my life this is what I've wanted, what I've dreamed about, and I knew this would happen. I've been singing ever since I was really young and I've wanted this so bad, and I told myself I would do it. I would have to. I'm really chill about it."

She elaborated on the impending changes recently in ELLEgirl: "I have to fight to keep my image really me. Today, I rejected some gorgeous publicity shots because they just didn't look like me. I won't wear skanky clothes that show my booty, my belly or my boobs. I have a great body. I could be Britney. I could be better than Britney."

Although she could be, she's clearly not in any rush. The last time I saw Avril that week in February, I was heading into one of the gala post-Grammy parties. As I made my way down the red carpet, I could see a virtual who's who of the music industry inside: artists mingling with executives; actors mixing with models; exquisite hors d'oeuvres passed on endless trays. But then I heard that distinct sound of a skateboard slamming against the asphalt.

Turning around, I spotted Avril with the same group of friends, tricking off most anything in their vicinity. It was warm, they were sweaty, their shirts were stained and some of the guys visibly needed new shoes. And she was laughing, just like she had laughed at the hotel.

Since this fete was thrown by the parent company of her label, she could have been the proverbial belle of the ball. But then I stopped myself. It was as apparent then as it is now that Avril Lavigne's bell chimes to her own time.


Avril Lavigne To Start Her New Album At The Sound Of The Beep

Singer has recorded many song ideas on her voice mail.

Avril Lavigne's North American tour came to an end Thursday, leaving her with just a few more radio-sponsored shows to play before she can begin work on the follow-up to Under My Skin. But first, she needs to check her messages.

"I'm constantly thinking of stuff," Lavigne said. "In the bus, my hotel room ... Sometimes I'll
just come up with a guitar part. Every once in a while, I'll come up with a melody, and I'll throw it down on my cell phone. If I'm out and don't have a tape recorder, and I have a song in my head, I just call my cell phone and record it."

She's been on the road almost continuously since Under My Skin dropped in May, so there surely must be at least one future hit on Lavigne's voice mail. In February, she'll look for another when she gets back together with Butch Walker, the singer-producer who's been serving as her opening act, in an attempt to rekindle the successful songwriting collaboration that yielded her last single, "My Happy Ending."

"Butch is really awesome, like a really good guy, so I thought it would be cool to bring him out," Lavigne said. "During the day, when I get up to do radio-station interviews and acoustic performances, he's been coming with me — and he doesn't even have to. He just comes and plays guitar with me, does background vocals and harmonies. It's been really cool."

In the new year, Lavigne will have just a few weeks to work on the album before launching a Japanese tour in March, but she's in no rush to finish it. After all, Under My Skin is barely six months old, and in that time, it's spawned three singles with a fourth on deck.

"There will be another video," Lavigne said. "I think I'm going to come out with 'He Wasn't.' All the singles have been kind of serious, and I feel like I want to come back out with a faster, edgier, more fun, upbeat song — something to rock out to."

That high-octane description suits the singer, as well — she's spanned the globe in the past year, with concerts, videos and awards shows along the way. One might assume that some rest is in order sometime soon.

"Probably not," she replied. "I'm the type of person who likes to go-go-go. I can't stand sitting at home."


Sum 41 Singer Not Engaged To Avril Lavigne

Report in London tabloid, new ring on her finger spur rumors.
Avril Lavigne sporting the ring in question during rehearsals for the 2004 World Music Awards.
Don't go searching for an Avril Lavigne/ Deryck Whibley wedding registry just yet.

Contradicting reports out of the U.K., Whibley's camp denies that the Sum 41 frontman is engaged to Lavigne. "Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 is not engaged," Sum 41's management said in
a statement issued Wednesday (September 15). "Deryck and his friends are constantly followed by paparazzi. The recent 'breaking news' that has been misconstrued around the world exemplifies the media's constant invasion of people's personal lives and reporting of unsubstantiated rumors and/or appearances."

Lavigne's camp says it has a policy of not commenting on her personal life. London's Sun tabloid got the ball rolling with a report, attributed to a friend of the couple, that said Whibley got down on one knee and popped the question to Lavigne this past weekend in California. The rumor caught more fire when Lavigne turned up at rehearsals for Monday's 2004 World Music Awards wearing an impressive rock on the ring finger of her left hand.

Fans of both artists are abuzz with reaction to the news. On the whole, Sum 41 supporters seem to be less than enthused that Whibley may have taken the plunge ("I hate Avril ... she pisses the nose excrement outta me," wrote a fan on Sum 41's official message board), but others seem content to speculate on what Whibley's bandmates will get the couple as an engagement present.

Over at ALavigne.com, Avril fans are taking a "we're happy if she's happy" approach to things. "I think that it's great she's found a nice guy to marry," wrote one fan. "I think they make a cute couple, and if they get married that'd be cute," added another.

So, are they or aren't they? Perhaps Avril will put the rumors to rest Wednesday night when she performs at the World Music Awards in Las Vegas. Then again, don't count on it.


Avril Lavigne Helps Kelly Clarkson Become A Pop 'Princess'

Soundtrack song 'Breakaway' penned by Canadian songwriter.
Avril Lavigne has had harsh words for pop singers in the past, but her words for Kelly Clarkson could not have been better suited.

Along with producer Matthew Gerrard, Lavigne wrote Clarkson's new single, "Breakaway," which "fits my lifE perfectly,'' the original ''American Idol'' told.

The song is so autobiographical that for the video Kelly decided to act out most of the lyrics, with the help of an actress portraying a younger version of herself.

Directed by Dave Meyers (Missy Elliott, Britney Spears), the video begins with the 8-year-old version of Clarkson singing from the back seat of a car as she watches a Texas thunderstorm out the window. "Grew up in a small town/ And when the rain would fall down/ I just stared out my window," Clarkson sings.

The video then flashes to present-day Kelly arriving on the red carpet for the premiere of "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," the movie that features the song.

"Since it's a movie tie-in, the idea stems from trying to figure out a new way of addressing the film-footage requirement they put on you, so we came up with the idea of her attending the premiere, which is very much something she will do in real life," Meyers said. "And 'Princess Diaries' sort of parallels the humble kid who stumbles across the riches."

Clarkson's the star of the premiere, but with the flash of a camera bulb, the video switches back again, showing the little girl praying by her bedside as she sing the chorus: "I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly/ I'll do what it takes 'til I touch the sky/ ... I'll take a risk/ Take a chance/ Make a change/ And break away."

"We tied [the premiere] in with how she grew up as a kid, her first flight where she's afraid of turbulence, just some of the human qualities behind a pop star," Meyers explained. "It's so rare you get to see who these people are. In Kelly's case, I felt the song was so telling and emotional that it would be a good opportunity."

As the clip continues, we see Clarkson on a private jet and then in the movie theater, where it flashes back to her working at a movie theater — a job the singer really did have growing up.

"I did some research," Meyers said. "The first treatment had like six jobs of her, but when reality set in and we realized how much time we had, we decided to just do the theater."

During the final verse, the video juxtaposes the younger Kelly singing on her rooftop as she watches the sun set with the present-day Clarkson performing at the premiere's afterparty.

"She was very good; she came across so honest," Meyers said. "I was a little worried, her coming off 'American Idol,' it inherently feels manufactured and I didn't know how much of it was true artistry. But when I met her, she really does have a good, solid vibe. It was an honor to bring some of that out of her."

Kelly told Z100 she recorded "Breakaway" to tide fans over until September, when the first single from her second record will be released. The album will follow in October.

"It's very rock, very soul, a poppier Janis Joplin, but not as hard," Clarkson said. "I've written most of [the songs] so far, but there's some people who have some stuff for me. I'm not one of those people who thinks you have to write everything. [I'll sing it] as long as I can relate to it."

Clarkson also told Z100 that her friends tease her about how often "From Justin to Kelly" airs on cable and that it's been months since she last talked to co-star Justin Guarini.

"He's totally working with different people," she said. "I don't even have his number."

"The Princess Diaries 2" soundtrack, which also features Avril and Lindsay Lohan, is due August 3. The movie, starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, hits theaters August 11.

Avril Lavigne: No Looking Back

It's not surprising that Avril Lavigne, at just over five feet and barely on the healthy side of 100 pounds, can almost fit into her luggage. What's remarkable is that the large black suitcase she clumsily hoists onto her bed carries all the clothes a 20-year-old girl will wear for the next six weeks.
"I'm not dissing them or anything, but people like Britney Spears and Beyoncé have wardrobe people," she explains as she begins to unpack. "I have a suitcase. I'm a bit lower maintenance."

Her guitarist Evan Taubenfeld may disagree. As she pulls one black boot after another from the bag and dumps them on the floor of her luxury tour bus — for a total of four pairs, including 20-eye Dr. Martens and a chrome-studded boot that would make Kiss' Gene Simmons jealous — she asks Taubenfeld to stow them in a closet. He dutifully obliges, mismatching every one in playful spite.

More essentials come out of the suitcase: a hairdryer, comfy blue slippers adorned with fluffy white clouds that she kept from a recent video shoot, a few belts, and what looks to be a leather dog collar attached to a long silver chain. "Accessories ..." she mumbles.
A pair of black pants with a skull-and-crossbones pattern down the legs — in pink — is next to emerge. These warrant elaboration. "Look at these," she announces. "My mom saw them and she's like, 'Why do you always have to be wearing those things?' My mom doesn't like when I wear skulls and crossbones. She thinks it's evil."

The bus has two bathrooms: one for Avril, the other for everyone else. "There's always piss on the floor with guys," she complains, disgusted. Taubenfeld just shrugs and moves toward the front of the coach to examine the TV.

For all the features on the bus, rented for her cross-country shopping-mall tour to promote her forthcoming album, Under My Skin, Avril's just glad it doesn't smell. "I think Korn just got off this bus, so they've given it a good cleaning," she laughs. "Sometimes you get on a bus and it smells like beer and marijuana smoke. Or just guys in general. It's pretty gross."

As the coach rolls closer to its first stop, Minneapolis' gigantic Mall of America, Lavigne quickly shifts gears to prep for the business ahead.

"When do we talk about merch?" she asks her manager.

Avril admittedly has grown up a lot since her last album. While maintaining a typically teenage personality — she's still shy in front of a camera and gets cagey when asked about her personal life — she takes her job very seriously.

"You do a lot more growing between the ages of 16 and 19 than you do from 27 to 30," she says with authority. "Sometimes I'm immature, but most of the time I've got a handle on things. Other people my age go to school, then pursue their career, then get a job, and I'm kind of there. I have a house. I have a job. It's like, 'What's next?' "

Two hours prior to showtime, most pop stars would be fretting over what to wear. Onstage Avril will don the same black pants, jacket and top she has on now. It's the same outfit she wore for a TV interview conducted an hour earlier at the five-star hotel she had stayed at the night before. And it resembles the clothes her fans, some of whom began lining up for the 5 p.m. show 11 hours in advance, presumably purchased at the Hot Topic franchise located yards away from the Mall of America stage, just past the Orange Julius.

"I just wear my clothes for everything," she says. "For my interviews and for stage and for hanging out, just like a normal person."
Most of the Mall of America appears empty and eerily desolate for a weekday afternoon. Camp Snoopy, America's largest indoor theme park, is about a hundred yards away from the atrium where Avril will perform. A roller-coaster zips around the marble-floored park, twisting and turning just a handful of riders over closed funnel-cake shops and chained-up kiddie rides. The strange, "Dawn of the Dead"-like feel, however, doesn't carry over to where hundreds of kids are waiting for Avril to take the stage.

That area is intense. Each female fan more closely resembles Avril than the last. Some hold up signs reading, "Avril, We Love You," others have homemade photo collages. One pimply faced boy's placard asks, "Will you marry me?" while an overweight girl with an equally bad complexion carries one that reads plainly, "F--- Me, Evan!"

Mall police line the path from the parking garage to the atrium. Backstage are the local radio jock emceeing the event, crew members, a high-ranking officer of the mall PD and his family, the shopping center's owners and their kids, and some press.

"I'm very anxious to get out there, see my fans again and play new music," Avril says. "We played Let Go for two years, every day. I'm ready for a change."

With Taubenfeld at her side, Avril started working on new material before her debut album was even released. From the onset, Avril always prided herself on having an actual band, and not a bunch of faceless touring musicians backing her up.

"That's one of the reasons why I took this gig in the beginning," her guitarist explains. "She was like, 'I want a real band, and I want to play our music. I don't want to lip-synch, I want to do it live and I want you to be my band.'

"She's great to work with because she's honest," Taubenfeld continues. "I'll start playing something and she'll go, 'Nope, something else.' And you're on the spot. It's not like we had weeks booked out. When she worked with other writers, it was like that. But we did it in a hotel room, so it was like [snaps fingers], 'No, that's not good,' or, 'You need to come up with a new bridge, let's see what you got.' "

Like its title's double meaning suggests, Under My Skin is an album filled with both introspection and a catalog of things that annoy Avril. While she explains her personal songs alternately as dark, deep and weird, she rolls her eyes when asked what bothers her most.

"Guys," she mutters.
Her new song lyrics better illustrate her laments. On "He Wasn't," Avril dumps an inconsiderate dude because he wouldn't so much as open the door for her. On "My Happy Ending," a relationship doesn't exactly turn out as planned because her guy isn't who she thought he was. "Forgotten" tells the tale of a broken heart slowly on the mend. And the album's first single, "Don't Tell Me," is an empowering anthem for girls dealing with guys only after one thing.

"Some guys kind of pretend they're nice and sweet, just to get a piece, or whatever," Avril says. "I think it's a good song because it tells girls not to throw themselves at guys. It has a good message."

Along with its moral, Avril is proud of how the song came to be. Before Let Go's release in June 2002, she and Taubenfeld penned the tune one night in a hotel room, without any prodding from her label or management. Unlike the Let Go sessions, which were basically scheduled studio appointments with a team of pro songwriters that included the Matrix, "Don't Tell Me" happened organically, and set the precedent for the other 11 songs on Under My Skin.
From the beginning Avril wanted to write her own songs with her own band and stay as far away from being seen as a prefabricated pop-culture construction as possible. Working with the Matrix for her first album didn't help her cause. And when the songwriting/production trio, who have gone on to pen songs for Britney Spears and Hilary Duff, said in an interview that they basically wrote all of Avril's breakthrough hit, "Complicated," save for a word or two, Avril took it personally.

"Why do we even have to talk about them," Avril snaps at an observation that the Matrix are nowhere to be found on her new album.
It's safe to say "Complicated" isn't one of her favorite songs. And it certainly doesn't top Taubenfeld's hit list. Even though it launched their careers, resentment is apparent when talk of the track comes up. While joking that Avril should get "Complicated" tattooed on her arm, Taubenfeld stops himself and says she'd never do that because, he mouths silently, " 'Complicated' sucks."

Much like Pink and Christina Aguilera employed the services of Linda Perry for their second, more personal albums, Avril found her mentor in Chantal Kreviazuk, a Canadian singer, pianist and songwriter who's released three albums since 1997. They initially never intended to write a dozen songs together — five of which made the album — it just happened naturally after a one-off collaboration hatched over lunch turned into a two-week songwriting spree.
"We're like sisters," Avril says of her relationship with Kreviazuk. "She kind of is like my mom sometimes, too. We're just really good friends, so I believe God put her in my life for a good reason."

As opposed to the Let Go songwriting sessions, the more casual creative environment Avril had with Kreviazuk allowed her to test her songwriting skills and open up in ways she never could before.

"We had so much fun writing together," Avril explains. "If I came up with something, she'd be like, 'Eh, that sucks.' And I'd do the same to her. With the last record I felt like I was put with somebody, and it's kind of weird to say to them, 'Oh, that sucks.' When [Chantal and I] are together, we can say that. I can totally put out all my ideas and I don't feel stupid and I don't hold anything back."
If Kreviazuk is like Avril's mentoring older sister, former Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody is her reckless, rock-and-roll older brother. While recording her new songs in Los Angeles with Kreviazuk's husband, Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida, in the producer's chair, Avril met with Moody on a recommendation by another one of Under My Skin's producers, Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Good Charlotte). Not only did they write a slew of songs together, they too became pals.

"Ben's my boy. We're such amazing friends," she says. "Every time he goes to L.A. and I'm there, we gotta hook up. We go to the Rainbow Room for dinner, or just like get totally trashed," she laughs.

On one of those nights partying with Moody, Avril got her first tattoo, a star on the inside of her left wrist. Moody also got tagged that night — with the same star, in the same spot.
It's not all ink and drink with Moody, however. When they're not partying or writing songs, Avril just might be helping him pick out a mattress or a washer/dryer combo, having done it herself recently for her own new house.

"I just got this place and it's cool," she says of her new digs. "It's good to be on my own. It's good to be downstairs doing laundry and being like, 'Wow, I'm so normal right now.' Doing normal things. I love to cook, and I love to clean. I'm very independent when it comes to stuff like that."

Even prior to buying the new place, Avril hadn't seen much of her hometown of Napanee, Ontario. Rather than go home to visit her mother, Avril's mom has flown out to meet her on tour a few times over the last two years, and Avril only keeps in touch with a couple of friends from high school, one of whom was jetted to Los Angeles for a visit while Under My Skin was being recorded.

Her only other link to the town with a population of 15,000, strangely enough, is the proprietor of Lil' Pizzeria. After dropping the shop's name in interviews, the place Avril describes as having "the best pizza — oh my God!" has become a landmark tourist attraction for her fans making the pilgrimage to Napanee. Posters of Avril adorn the walls of the shop, and fans can write messages to their idol in a book, which, when full, is periodically shipped to her. She doesn't have any plans to return there, even though she has been promised free pizza for life.
When Avril and Taubenfeld finally appear onstage at the Mall of America, acoustic guitars in hand, pandemonium erupts. "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" expectedly generate the loudest applause, with the five new songs she plays delighting the performers more than the audience. Extra effort is given to the harmonies, and the strumming couple knowingly look into each other's eyes as they nail them. While she gladly hands the lyrical reigns over to the crowd during her hits, Avril renders lines from her new tunes with passion and purpose.

Avril closes the brief, acoustic set with "Nobody's Home," a tune co-written by Moody. It's one of the few songs on the new album concerned with someone else's problems, namely a young woman lost in the world and wanting to return to the safety and comfort of the way things used to be. Unfortunately for that girl, returning to yesterday is impossible.

"She wants to go home, and nobody's home ..." Avril sings. "There's no place to go, no place to go dry her eyes/ Broken inside."

One might assume there's at least a shred of herself in the song's protagonist, but Avril is quick to reject that notion.

"At this point in my life, everything's great," she says. "I have amazing friends. I work with amazing people. I get to make records and release them."

Ever the shy teen when talking about herself, Avril began her answer with her head down, fidgeting with her fingers. But as she takes stock of her life, bashfulness gives way to self-satisfaction, and she lifts her chin and brushes the hair from her face.

"It really doesn't get any better," she says.

One day of Avril Lavigne's life

A girl who sells more than 5 million copies of her debut album deserves to sit around in her pajamas and do things on her own terms for a little while.

And Avril Lavigne is doing just that. MTV's "Diary" recently caught up with Napanee, Ontario's most famous export at the Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto, where she's skipping a few showers and churning out songs with her guitarist Evan Taubenfeld for the follow-up to Let Go.

Here's how it went ...

MTV: What have you been doing here at the hotel? What's a normal day like for you here?
Avril Lavigne: I'm waking up and writing every single day. Evan and I wake up and we get breakfast and then we hop into the living room or family room or TV room and start writing right away. It's been really great. I'm excited and I'm getting songs I like.

In the morning I don't have to worry about what clothes to wear because I just put on my pajamas, basically. I stay in my pajamas all day. I don't have to shower. I don't have to look decent. I don't have to face any cameras. I don't have to smell good. I don't have to be presentable. And it's great, you know? I go to bed when I want, get up when I want. I don't have to go anywhere, it's all just chill.

MTV: What are you doing right now?

Lavigne: Evan's up there reading. I was just playing a Gob song [on my guitar] called "Give Up the Grudge." They're an awesome band — they opened for us on my tour. But I suck at guitar. I'm a lot better than I was before, though. I taught myself, I've never had lessons. I don't know how to read music, I just go by ear I guess.

MTV: What's in your journals?

Lavigne: My journals are the most important things. I never do the thing where I go to bed and write about my day. My journals are just poems or just brainstorming all my feelings, like writing all my feelings out — when I'm upset, usually. So my journals are pretty much songs only.

MTV: Do you guys plan on recording in the room?

Lavigne: Not for the record. We'll just lay down an acoustic guitar and my vocals just quickly enough to send to a producer to show him the song.

MTV: What's the songwriting process been like this time around?

Lavigne: I've been dying to write. When I get a day off on the road I just go to Evan's room or he would go to mine and we'd sit there and I would totally just spit out songs. And it just feels so good and we'd be so excited but we couldn't do anything about it. We couldn't go to the studio and record them. So we have a ton of songs that we've written on the road.

I haven't talked much about the songs in interviews because I like to keep that stuff kinda quiet. [If you talk about them then] they start asking you, "What's it about?" and "What's your next record gonna sound like?" And it's like, "Shh, don't go there, let me concentrate. Just let me focus." I don't want to feel pressure from media, from the public. I don't want people going, "Blah blah blah, she says this. Her next record is gonna sound like this." They'll start saying that I said it's gonna sound [a certain way] when I didn't even say what it's gonna sound like.

MTV: How does it feel to write songs on your own terms?

Lavigne: I've always been able to write songs on my own. Did any of them go on my first record? No. I had about 30 songs recorded for my first record and picked the best ones for that album. I actually never recorded any of the songs that I've written on my own. But this time around I will. And that's gonna probably be one of the most amazing feelings. I will be very proud of myself.

The [new songs are] very me and so I'm looking forward to the next record and touring off of it. I wonder how people are gonna take it. I don't think it'll be as poppy as Let Go. But it'll be more rock. And like more intimate lyrics, like more my kind of lyrics. Personal, really deep or whatever.


Avril Lavigne loves ice hockey!

Avril Lavigne has given a glamorous touch to the sport of ice hockey by initiating a new tradition with her bandmates by playing the game against her record company, atleast twice a year.

According to ratethemusic.com, the 'Complicated' singer reportedly had a surprise 18th birthday party at the Manhattan venue, where her pals rented ice and played the high-energy sport and it has since ,become a regular event, with the singer enjoying the game to the hilt.

"Every year, twice a year, we rent the ice at Chelsea Piers and play hockey. It's usually me and my band versus the record company. My band pretty much is all Canadian and we're really good at hockey so we always kick butt... My team won 14-3. I scored and I'm excited about that," the singer was quoted as saying.

"I brought my skates from home because that's really important. I had to lug them in my suitcase on tour with me 'cause I knew we were having this game," she added.


New Single For Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne thinks she'll release "He Wasn't''
Avril Lavigne says she'll release another single from her latest album, "Under My Skin."

The Canadian singer tells MTV.com, "There will be another video. I think I'm going to come out with 'He Wasn't.'" Lavigne explains, "All the singles have been kind of serious, and I feel like I want to come back out with a faster, edgier, more fun, upbeat song — something to rock out to."

Avril Lavigne gets Mad

This Saturday, December 11, Avril Lavigne guest stars on the comedy show, Mad TV. Along with giving a special acoustic performance, Lavigne will take part in one of the program's sketches. This episode of Mad TV also stars fellow Canadian and actor Ryan Reynolds from "Blade: Trinity." Reynolds is engaged to another famous Canadian singer-songwriter: Alanis Morissette.


Avril Lavigne's bad hair day

Canadian singer AVRIL LAVIGNE was furious after stylists on her forthcoming music video accidentally dyed her hair pink, a day before her photoshoot with America's COSMOPOLITAN magazine.

The paint Lavigne was doused in for her latest promo stained her locks for the New York photo session.

And the COMPLICATED star was allegedly so upset about her appearance, she demanded a closed set and forced the crew to wait outside, British newspaper the DAILY SPORT reports.

An insider says, "She had a right strop on. I know she had a stressful shoot for Cosmo, but there was no need to take it out on everyone."

Avril Lavigne stuns her fans

Canadian pop star Avril Lavigne stunned fans at one of her recent concerts, when she waltzed onto the stage dressed as a scantily clad waitress.

The Complicated singer was performing at a Halloween gig in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when she decided to give patrons an extensive view of her body in the little orange shorts and half-tops worn by female employees of Hooters bar chain.

She tells Blender magazine, "We were at lunch at Hooters the day before, and I asked for a uniform."

"During the show, I ran backstage, put it on, came out dancing to (Outkast's) Hey Ya! and did vodka shots with the band. It was a really fun night!"

Avril Lavigne phones in future hits

AVRIL LAVIGNE is already halfway through the process of recording her next album - even though she has been on tour for months and hasn't set foot in a studio.

The Canadian has started recording new tunes on her home cell phone while she's on tour, and then putting the tunes together when she returns home.

She explains, "I'm constantly thinking of stuff - in the bus, my hotel room.
Sometimes I'll just come up with a guitar part. Every once in a while, I'll come up with a melody, and I'll throw it down on my cell phone.

"If I'm out and don't have a tape recorder, and I have a song in my head, I just call my cell phone and record it."

Avril Lavigne looks more girlie now

The decidedly ladylike look Avril Lavigne sports in her "Nobody's Home" clip isn't just confined to the make-believe world of music videos. The 20-year-old rocker has ditched the skinny ties and
tank top in favor of a look more Glamorous than Hot Topic."Everyone's [asking me], 'Are you more girlie now?' And it's like, 'Well, yeah, I'm becoming a woman. I'm growing up,' " she explained backstage before Thursday's show at Chicago's United Center. "I'm getting old — not quite, but I definitely think my style is changing. Of course it's going to; when I first came out I was 17 years old. I was a kid. Now I'm 20. You're going to change tremendously through those years."

During Lavigne's time in the spotlight — since the release of her 2002 debut, Let Go — she's done a good job of shaking the Sk8er Girl tag that stuck after the song "Sk8er Boi" ushered her into the pop scene. She's kept one step ahead of the fans who mimicked her style at shows while being careful to label their practice of straightening their hair and wearing wristbands flattering rather than unimaginative.

These days, bouncy curls have been known to cascade down her shoulders, and she's applying makeup rather glamorously. Could it have anything to do with those rumors of an engagement to Sum 41's Deryck Whibley (see "Sum 41 Singer Not Engaged To Avril Lavigne, His Reps Say")? Could Lavigne be getting ready for her wedding day?

"I don't talk about my personal life," she said, a tattoo of a heart surrounding the letter "D" clearly visible on her wrist. "I choose not to talk about anything that has to do with my personal life or my love life because I don't want people talking about it. Some people, like Britney, choose to, and a lot of people focus on that. Whenever I see her in the press, it's about who she's marrying or who she's dating. I would just prefer to have people talk about my music. That's why I'm here."

To that end, she's been giving people lots to discuss on her current tour, which wraps up at the end of the month. She plays guitar on five songs in the set, a new skill she demonstrated on an acoustic promo tour before her second album, Under My Skin, dropped in May (see "Avril Lavigne Reveals What's Under HerSkin"). "Slipped Away," "Together" and "Forgotten" are performed seated before a piano, and she even gets behind the kit to pound on the drums for a cover of Blur's "Song 2," while opening act Butch Walker, co-writer for some of Under My Skin, takes over vocals.

"I had drums growing up," she explained. "I always knew how to sit down and play a simple beat. I'm not a pro — I mean, I can't hear a song and learn it like that. I have to sit down and practice. I wanted to do drums on a song, and I picked 'Song 2' because I thought it had a cool drum beat and it's a song everyone knows. It gets the crowd going."

The one thing Avril simply won't play onstage is a vocal track. After Ashlee Simpson's "Saturday Night Live" imbroglio (see "Ashlee Simpson's 'SNL' Excuse Bolstered By Rehearsal Tape"), Lavigne has been shamelessly outspoken in denouncing the practice, as if challenging every artist to forgo the theatrics and live up to the simple expectation of singing live.

"If you are up there at that level and lip-synching, then you don't deserve to be there," she said vehemently. "There are way too many talented people, struggling musicians, trying to make it, and they can't make it because there is so much competition out there. I'm not saying that towards [Simpson]; I'm saying that about lip-synching in general. I find it a disgrace to the music industry. Music is supposed to be about making records and getting up onstage and playing live, and half the people up there don't even do that. It's not cool. It's lame."

Avril Lavigne is a modern pioneer for her home country Canada

The extraordinary success of the 20-year-old sk8er girl from tiny Napanee, Ontario, opened the borders for a raft of precocious female talent from up north, including Fefe Dobson, 19, Skye Sweetnam, 16, and Keshia Chante, 16. Actually, Chante hasn't managed to cross over with the rest. Though the impressive young soul singer from Ottawa may well be the most talented of the bunch -- she ran the table at the Canadian Urban Music Awards a few weeks ago -- she is the only one who hasn't landed on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, the only one who hasn't been on MTV's video countdown, "TRL," or featured on AOL's influential music programming.

She is, most tellingly, the only one of the four signed to a Canadian, rather than U.S., record label. Our northern neighbor is not only less populous -- 32 million compared with 295 million here -- its musical tastes are unusually balkanized. Nova Scotia and other eastern provinces nurture a distinctive, rather rural, often fiddle-based folk music. Quebec fiercely maintains its Gallic identity.

Radio gives Canadian artists their only home-field advantage with a rule that at least 40 percent of all music played must be homegrown.As a consequence, Canadian musicians, from the time of their first talent showcases, are eager to attract the attention of U.S. labels.Ken Krongard, the music executive who discovered Lavigne for the Arista label, recalls the mind-set of her first manager. "Cliff (Fabri) was all about the American labels," Krongard notes."... The deals are much bigger and the (promotional) power of the American labels is far superior. They can break artists on a worldwide level. There aren't many Canadian artists signed to Canadian labels who have broken worldwide."

Without Arista's influence, Lavigne's bratty-punk 2002 debut, "Let Go," would not have sold 14 million copies. The young singers in her wake may not reach such sales heights, but thanks to her, it's cool to be Canadian. Back in 2000, Krongard was one of few Americans actively scouting for talent in Canada. "I wanted to look in virgin territory, and Canada was being undersearched," he says. "People were intimidated to travel to what they perceived as overseas, but it's a short flight to Toronto, and they speak English."

Still, it took a discerning ear. When he first heard Lavigne, she was a raw 15-year-old, warbling her way through a derivative brand of country karaoke. "A lot of young Canadian singers come from the country scene," Krongard says. "It's the only place for them to perform and hone their skills." With her latest album, "Under My Skin," Lavigne's style has evolved into a sophisticated and personal brand of power pop. Curiously, though, her next single, due today, is the theme song from the "SpongeBob SquarePants" movie.

At this point, all four artists have had a chance to experience life on both sides of the border, especially the pop-oriented Sweetnam, who traded places with a teenager in Lexington, Ky., for a week for the ABC Family series "Switched!" "It's totally different down there," Sweetnam says from her home in Bolton, Ontario. "Everything revolves around the school and the cheerleaders. Up here, everything is hanging out and chilling. A lot of our activities are outside school."

Avril Lavigne never lip-synched in her life

It seems that Avril Lavigne still has a bee in her bonnet about Ashlee Simpson's embarrassing performance on Saturday Night Live. She told the New York Post, "In a way it was good because it showed that people are doing it on TV all the time.

"I've never lip-synched once in my life. I never will. I'm a singer, and I sing live. That's what music is about. I see lip-synching all the time at awards shows, and it makes me think, how sad. It's a disgrace that this is what music has come to."

When asked to name names, the Canadian singer complained, "People like Hilary Duff. I've never heard her sing live. Each time I've seen her perform, she lip-synchs. She sings to tracks and they either amp her vocals very low or she just doesn't sing at all. You don't deserve to be there if that's what you do."


Marilyn Manson is Avril Lavigne's mentor

Marilyn Manson is a reluctant mentor to teenage pop star Avril Lavigne -- because he thinks she's a "strange little girl." The Canadian "Sk8er Boi" singer claims the shock rocker was the inspiration behind her stage show. Manson is equally gushing, insisting Lavigne is a genuine talent -- but he's not sure he relates to his wannabe protegee.

He says, "I haven't really figured her out. "She's a strange little girl. We hung out several times. She really wanted my advice on everything from microphones to boyfriends. "And stuff like that. I found it hard to relate, which I guess makes me seem older, or just in a different place than 'American Pie.' It's not my kind of movie. "But I like her. I think she's nice. I think she's got the ability to go farther. I think she has the longevity. That's my opinion."

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