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Avril Lavigne
Britney Spears seems to be the model for teenage girls who top the charts: Flash lots of cleavage, smile and moan a lot, but be devout and polite. Then there's the Avril Lavigne approach - a rock delinquent with a “what you see is what you get” and “I don’t care” attitude and a hip cool in your face sound.

It's tough being the new kid on the music scene. As soon as you make a video, all eyes are on you, scrutinizing your look, your dress and your haircut. Everything you've ever been up to this point is irrelevant, for the industry and the fans form strong opinions based on this first impression. Most young, female pop artists today are like Britney replicas, complete with blond hair, sexy revealing outfits and even belly rings.

Avril Lavigne, on the other hand, 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-shirts, much to the dismay of hired stylists armed with wardrobes of costumes. For this girl strives to be nothing but herself. She rides a skateboard, opts for baggy over fitted outfits, isn't afraid to speak her mind – especially about Britney Spears and her kind. And it seems to be working. She gets “a ton” of marriage proposals and sack full of mail offering to take her to the prom from teenage boys, and is loved by girls from 8 to 18.

Still one would never have guessed that this tiny young girl could make so much noise. Raised in a strict Baptist household, Avril Rose Lavigne grew up in a very sheltered environment. Her parents didn’t listen to pop or punk music, apart from a handful of Beach Boys, Credence Clearwater Revival and Beatles tapes. Her father worked for the phone company; her mom stayed home taking care of the family. And yet…all her life, their daughter dreamed of being a pop star. Not only would she sing in front of the mirror, she'd pretend she was being interviewed. And from early childhood onwards, Avril Lavigne always stood out among the 5000 residents of Napanee, Ontario in Canada – where she was born and brought up. At first distinguished from her female peers because of her affinity for the baseball field in the summer and the hockey rink in the winter, Avril became recognizable in the community on the basis of her musical performances. Singing gospel in church turned into performing country songs by Faith Hill and the Dixie Chicks at county fairs and talent contests.

At age twelve, she borrowed her father's guitar and taught herself to play by practicing Lenny Kravitz's Fly Away over and over. Her favorite bands were the Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty and especially Hanson. Three years later, Avril began making her impact outside of Napanee, as her vocal skill won her the grand prize in a radio station contest: a trip to the city of Ottawa, to perform a duet in concert with another Ontario native, country music star Shania Twain. While this probably ranked as the pinnacle of pubescence for any other 13-year-old girl, Avril went on to accomplish far greater things before leaving adolescence. Yet, school was not a success. She didn’t fit in, preferring skateboarding to wearing a dress. She was the odd kid out.

You can read the rest of our cover story on Avril Lavigne in the May 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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