Continuing to labor away in a Los Angeles studio, Avril Lavigne was reluctant to give too much away about the follow-up to 2002's Let Go. She promised, however, that when she returns to the fray with her second album, she won't be the wide-eyed newbie she was a year ago.
"I'm a lot wiser now," she said. "Now I know what the business is like — what you have to do and how to work it. As a writer, I'm growing and my guitar-playing is getting better. I know what it's all about now, so I'm ready to go back out there and do it all again."
Lavigne spoke of her newly acquired savvy while in New York to perform with Sarah McLachlan for the Oxygen Network's "Sarah McLachlan Custom Concert Featuring Avril Lavigne," which will be broadcast Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. Along with guitarist Evan Taubenfeld, Avril played acoustic versions of three Let Go singles, "Complicated," "Sk8er Boi" and "I'm With You," as well as her rendition of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."
Despite growing up in some ways, Lavigne claims her soul remains relatively unchanged.
"I'm still human. I still get my feelings hurt and get pissed off at things, and I'm still inspired by music. I love to create and I come up with melodies and it's easy for me."
Lavigne said that she's been working with a variety of songwriters and producers and states that she'll be going in a different direction than Let Go. Seeds of the album were planted somewhat earlier than expected when she brought a few of the tunes she had written to Clif Magness, one of the four songwriting entities, including the Matrix and the combination of Sabelle Breer and Curt Frasca, who collaborated on Let Go.
The album isn't expected to drop until the spring, so right now Lavigne isn't feeling much pressure to polish it off.
"It's all just chill, nothing's planned out," she said. "No one's saying, 'Avril, you need to work with this person, you need to write with this person.' It's all just happening on its own. Management isn't telling me what to do, the label isn't telling me what to do. [Arista head] L.A. Reid's heard two songs and that's it. Everyone's just being like, 'Hey, do your thing 'cause you did your thing on the first record.' "
Fans can see Lavigne do her thing night after night on the DVD "My World," which dropped Tuesday (see "Avril Lavigne's 'World' Comes Down In November"). The DVD includes footage from her Try to Shut Me Up Tour earlier this year, as well as a bonus CD of five live songs along with "Why?," the first song she co-wrote with Peter Zizzo, another one of her Let Go collaborators. The tune later surfaced as a U.K. B-side.
"I was 15 and it was my first trip to New York," she explained. "I wrote the song on my own and brought it to him. And he just kind of changed the tempo and helped me out with the verses and the chorus. He just helped me mold it into a better song."
Looking back over the past year, Lavigne is excited to start it all over again, but her newly learned experiences tell her that things aren't likely to be the same the next time out.
"There's been a lot of big numbers, a lot of big shows, lots of people, lots of places," she said. "Everything's been brand new. I don't think I'll ever have a year like that again. It was the best thing ever. We had so much fun."
For a feature on Avril, check out "No Showers, Just Songs."