Avril Lavigne Brings Something New, While Embracing The Old

Avril Lavigne has been rejecting the ideology of the pop world, while playfully living in that world, for over a decade.

Currently on her fifth album, which is a self-titled effort, she continues to enjoy her status as being the outsider who crashed the pop princess party and decided not to leave.

Tonight (December 3rd, 2013), Avril has a show in New York City which she is streaming live to a worldwide audience via 2vlive.com. During a break from preparing for the show, the pop rocker sat down with me to talk about everything from her latest album, to her experience kissing Danica McKeller (Winnie Cooper!).

Adam Bernard: You collaborated a lot with your husband (Chad Kroeger of Nickelback) on your latest album. In what ways do you feel you influence each other musically?

Avril Lavigne: I think what was great about it is that our styles are both so different, and my perspective as a female is different than his (as a man). It was a lot of storytelling, and a lot of discussions. There are a lot of messages in the songs, and they have a lot of depth to them. I really think his song writing’s great, and I think together we both challenged each other.

Adam Bernard: Are we ever going to see any sort of “Bound 2” video where you and him are like Kim and Kanye on the motorcycle?

Avril Lavigne: {laughs} Um, THAT, I don’t think so. “Let Me Go,” that’s our music video there for you. (Us) around the acoustic guitar and the piano.

Adam Bernard: So we’ll leave the motorcycle and the green screen scenery out of the equation for now?

Avril Lavigne: For now. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: You’ve been releasing albums for over a decade, but looks-wise you haven’t seemed to age at all. First of all, congratulations on that.

Avril Lavigne: Well, thank you!

Adam Bernard: I’m wondering, with that in mind, have you ever felt like, despite how long you’ve been around, some people have trouble viewing you as an adult?

Avril Lavigne: I don’t know. My music is youthful. There are different sides to me. I like to make fun, anthemic, empowering music, but I also take to the piano, and I write more emotional ballads, as well. So I have both sides to me, but I like to have fun in life, and my audience is young, and I have seen them grow with me, and now, on my fifth record, the audience is older, but there are a lot of young people out there, too, so it’s good to have a variety of music. I don’t really think about it.

Adam Bernard: So you’ve never had a moment where you had to be like, “Hey, I’m 29 here, not a kid anymore?”

Avril Lavigne: No, I haven’t, but I think I would be OK with that. I mean, I would view that as a quality problem.

Adam Bernard: After five albums you’ve obviously grown artistically, but what do you consider the first moment, or occasion, when you truly matured as an artist?

Avril Lavigne: I just think it’s been step by step. When I look back at my first record, I’ve written every single song on all my records, so, I mean, the more you write, the more, I don’t know, you start understanding, you grow. I think as a performer, my last tour, the Black Star Tour, was my strongest tour, and just the more experience I have I understand sort of what it is I’m doing, whether it’s how to give interviews, or how to be a performer on stage, or how I want to come across with my music in the studio. It’s kind of like you live and you learn. Everything seems to get a little easier, and fun.

Adam Bernard: Have you had any lesson that was especially tough to learn?

Avril Lavigne: No. I think the main thing is when people ask me, “What would you go back and tell your younger self,” I would tell myself to be myself, which is what I did. When you’re out there trying to be a musician, people can try to persuade you to make different styles of music, or to follow a certain trend, or this or that. I came out, and I was different, and I was myself, and I had my own thing going on, and I didn’t try to dress like everybody else, and some people were like, “Why are you dressing like that?” I was like, this is just how I dress, and I’m gonna write music that’s maybe a little different than what’s popular on the radio right now, but it worked for me, and it broke me out into the scene, so I think if there’s someone who wants to be a musician it’s good to just really know who you are, and what your style is, and to follow your gut.

Adam Bernard: Does anything from your musical past, be it a song, a video, a look, make you cringe, like “I can’t believe I was doing that?”

Avril Lavigne: No, I actually think it’s cool because my life has been documented since I’ve been doing this, so I can look back at old videos, and photographs, and see that I was young, and 17. I think it’s kind of cool.

Adam Bernard: So you never had a stretch where you were just like, “I never want to hear ‘Complicated’ ever again?’”

Avril Lavigne: I actually really enjoy playing songs like “Complicated,” “I’m With You,” and “Sk8er Boi” off my first record. I think it’s important, too, for a musician to play all of their successful songs, or their hits, or their singles, during their show.

Adam Bernard: I know a lot of artists, when they have that initial hit they end up hearing it, and playing it, so often they want to just put it away for twelve years, and not revisit it for a while.

Avril Lavigne: Yeah, some people do that. I think it’s important to play them.

Adam Bernard: You’ve read magazines, and have been online, so you know your husband’s band gets notoriously bad press, and I know you’ve seen your fair share of criticism, as well. How on earth do you navigate the internet without wanting to throw your laptop out the window ... or do you have a collection of old laptops outside of your window?

Avril Lavigne: If you’re talking about comments, if I'm on the internet I don’t read comments, I’m usually just on my computer taking care of emails, but if I am online, or have any press clippings sent to me about myself, it’s usually just been about the record, and pretty straight forward.

Adam Bernard: So you find a way to avoid a lot of it.

Avril Lavigne: For me, I get sent stuff that’s more like good magazines, like Billboard, something that’s credible, and things like that. I don’t really go around looking, and reading a ton of stuff, but anytime I’m on a magazine cover, or inside a magazine, I definitely collect all that stuff so I can have it down the road. There’s a lot more positive than negative, and I don’t think anyone should ever focus on negative things in their life, because that’s never gonna feel good, whether it’s you, or me. I like to be a very positive person, and have as much fun with whatever it is that I'm doing, and make the best out of any and every situation in life.

Adam Bernard: Tell me something Avril Lavigne does when no one’s looking. Maybe at home, or backstage, or in the produce section of Trader Joe’s.

Avril Lavigne: I like to cook, so I do go grocery shopping.

Adam Bernard: What’s your specialty?

Avril Lavigne: I can make anything. If I’m having guests over I like to make Italian, have an Italian night. Sometimes I do a Mexican night. I also like to cook healthy, like a lot of fresh, homemade, organic stuff.

Adam Bernard: So you really are in Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods stocking up.

Avril Lavigne: That’s right!

Adam Bernard: Finally, since I will probably never get the opportunity to find out for myself, how good a kisser is Danica McKeller?

Avril Lavigne: {laughs} Well it was on a professional level, and it was very quick, and we kissed probably like five times. It was for the scene in the “Rock N Roll” video. It was great because we had lines (of dialog) together, so she made me feel very comfortable. It was my first on screen kiss.

Adam Bernard: Five times? Who was calling for the re-shoots?

Avril Lavigne: The only person that is capable of doing that, which would be the director.

Adam Bernard: So it wasn’t one of your two saying, “Let’s make this one better?”

Avril Lavigne: {Laughs} No.

Interview originally ran on Arena.com.


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