Avril Ramona Lavigne (French: born 27 September 1984) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and actress. She was born in Belleville, Ontario, and spent most of her youth in the town of Greater Napanee. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16, she had signed a two-album recording contract with Arista Records worth more than $2 million. In 2002, when she was 17 years old, Lavigne entered the music industry with her debut album, Let Go, becoming one of the most popular pop punk artists, a reason she earned her reputation of a “skater punk” persona and “pop punk princess”. Since her professional debut, she has sold more than 30 million albums and over 50 million singles worldwide.
In 1999, Lavigne won a radio contest to perform with the Canadian singer Shania Twain at the Corel Centre in Ottawa, before an audience of 20,000 people. Twain and Lavigne sang Twain’s song, “What Made You Say That”,and Lavigne told Twain that she was going to be “a famous singer”.During a performance with the Lennox Community Theatre, Lavigne was spotted by local folksinger Stephen Medd. He invited her to contribute vocals on his song, “Touch the Sky”, for his 1999 album, Quinte Spirit. She later sang on “Temple of Life” and “Two Rivers” for his follow-up album, My Window to You, in 2000.In December 1999, Lavigne was discovered by her first professional manager, Cliff Fabri, while singing country covers at a Chapters bookstore in Kingston, Ontario.Fabri sent out VHS tapes of Lavigne’s home performances to several industry prospects, and Lavigne was visited by several executives. Mark Jowett, co-founder of a Canadian management firm, Nettwerk, received a copy of Lavigne’s karaoke performances recorded in her parents’ basement. Jowett arranged for Lavigne to work with producer Peter Zizzo during the summer of 2000 in New York, where she wrote the song “Why”. Lavigne was noticed by Arista Records during a trip to New York.In November 2000, Ken Krongard, an A&R representative, invited Antonio “L.A.” Reid, then head of Arista Records, to Zizzo’s Manhattan studio to hear Lavigne sing. Her 15-minute audition “so impressed” Reid that he immediately signed her to Arista with a deal worth $1.25 million for two albums and an extra $900,000 for a publishing advance. By this time, Lavigne had found that she fit in naturally with her hometown high school’s skater clique, an image that carried through to her first album, but although she enjoyed skateboarding, school left her feeling insecure. Having signed a record deal, and with support from her parents, she left school to focus on her music career. Lavigne’s band was chosen by Nettwerk, as they wanted young performers who were up and coming from the Canadian punk rock scene who would fit with Lavigne’s personality.
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