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 Bands A-Z: Avril Lavigne
 News Archive: Avril Lavigne

Page 1

 Avril almost runs over Big Boi and makes a bold prediction ...

Page 2

 Chasing off stylists, rejecting label demands and the truth about the 'skater thing' ...

Page 3

 Avril goes from the skate park to the spotlight and hooks up with a hot-guy band ...

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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.

Let Go
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.' "

  "Dude, I suck ..."
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."

NEXT: Avril goes from the skate park to the spotlight and crushes on the hot guys in her band ...
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Photo: Gregg Delman

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 "Complicated" (live)
Let Go

 "Sk8er Boi"
Let Go

 "Anything But Ordinary"
Let Go

 "Things I'll Never Say"
Let Go