Teen pop sensation Avril Lavigne may look innocent, but she doesn’t pull punches. (In fact, she’s been thrown out of clubs for fighting.) “So many artists,” she says, “have been created by their label and that’s not me.” Alternately brash and shy during the course of a half-hour interview, the 17-year-old native of Napanee, Ont., flips through her back story: taught herself to play her father’s guitar listening to Lenny Kravitz songs; performed a duet with Shania Twain at age 14 after winning a radio contest; dropped out of high school to pursue her music career; was discovered by producer Antonio
Reid (who worked with Pink, TLC and Usher) during a trip to New York City.
Already her first single, Complicated, off her debut CD, Let Go, has held the No. 1 spot on Canada’s Contemporary Hit Radio chart for an unprecedented 11 straight weeks, beating previous record holder Madonna. Musically, she’s Alanis Morissette-lite, as she struts around the stage to loud rock anthems about lame boys and odes to her hometown. And she insists she’s nothing like today’s starlets who sing bubble-gum pop and dress in revealing outfits. Although, Lavigne makes an exception with her trademark low-riding pants, which have been known to reveal a little bit of “plumber’s butt.”
The singer-songwriter also says she doesn’t want to achieve fortune in the same manner as Britney & Co.: shilling for Pepsi or selling Barbie dolls and lunch boxes with her likeness. Yet, Lavignebranded neckties—another trademarkare available for purchase on her Web site. “I don’t want to be, like, really much more commercialized than what I am,” she says. “I mean, obviously you have to be commercialized. Am I commercialized? I don’t really know what that word means.” It’s not that complicated.
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