May 7, 2020 Interview – Avril Lavigne
Within itself, life is a challenge. There are often times we face obstacles that cause us to bend, but if we are strong, we will not break. An eight-time Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum selling artist, Avril Lavigne has rightfully earned the title Pop Rock icon. A rise to superstardom that launched some twenty years ago, she also has conquered her own battles; contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite in the spring of 2014, thus becoming bedridden for five months.
Returning healthy with her 2019 album, Head Above Water, one of the bold moments outlining her experience comes in the form of the song “Warriors.” An uplifting piece about resilience, now Lavigne gives it a whole new meaning in her re-worked edition, “We Are Warriors.” Inspired by the bravery of frontline workers in the medical community who are selflessly helping others in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the song is more than a symbol, because proceeds from it go to Project HOPE’s ongoing relief efforts around the world – including providing personal protective equipment (PPE).
A beacon of hope in a difficult time, Lavigne recently sat down to talk her music, overcoming her own struggles, her yearning to put out a positive message, the future, plus more.
Cryptic Rock – You have been involved in music professionally for over two decades and have attained a massive amount of success, from multi-platinum records to chart-topping singles to winning various awards. Before going any further, tell us, what has your journey in music been like to this point?
Avril Lavigne – I think I have always been really authentic to myself. I’ve always turned to my music and songwriting in life with all the different things I’ve gone through. It was very true to me as a teenager, into a young woman, to now. I have always been super sincere with it.
Cryptic Rock – You have sincerely earned a great deal of success. You have also released a bundle of well-received music over the years, and in 2019 you released your sixth overall LP, Head Above Water. Your first album in five years, what was it like putting it together?
Avril Lavigne – That was the first time I had taken time off. It came after I had gone through my health issues with Lyme disease. Putting that record together just showed me how much I truly do love music. The first two songs I wrote for the album, “Head Above Water” and “Warriors,” were about my health struggle, and then I wrote the rest of the album. It showed me how much I really do love music and how it’s just such a big part of my life – the album took three years. Then, when I released it, shot videos, did promotion, as well as did a tour around it, it was a milestone and triumphant for me overcoming something.
The Head Above Water era was very meaningful and a celebration for me. Unfortunately, half the tour was cancelled due to everything going on. Going through this time now, with the pandemic, it felt really good to take my song “Warriors” and re-record/change it from my own health struggle into thinking about all the frontline workers. They are the true warriors right now: they are risking their lives to save other lives, and I was thinking about them when I changed all the lyrics to plural – ‘we are warriors ‘ – and re-recorded it. Proceeds of “We Are Warriors” go toward Project HOPE to provide PPE for medical workers around the world. It was nice to give the song life again and have it take on a whole new meaning.
Cryptic Rock – The song works very well for what we are all going through right now. You also released a touching music video for it, as well. What was it like putting this new music video together?
Avril Lavigne – It was important for me to have current footage of what was going on in the world. It was also important to have fans involved; we asked fans to submit videos of them with signs shouting out who their warriors are, and who in their life has to be a warrior right now.
We are all warriors, but especially the medical workers who are most vulnerable in this time. I put together a video I thought was really powerful and shot my part on an iPhone at home. This is a small way of showing my gratitude. I was hoping to give people strength, help them feel not alone, give hope, and comfort.
Cryptic Rock – It is certainly effective and uplifting. That said, “We Are Warriors” is doing extremely well since its release, already garnering over 2 million streams.
Avril Lavigne – I haven’t been thinking about that. I’ve just been really happy to give interviews, live stream performances, shoot a video and use music as a small way of showing my gratitude. I am hoping to put out a positive message during this pandemic; it is like something we have never been through before.
Cryptic Rock – Most certainly. Your overcoming personal health struggles now translates into something even more universal with “We Are Warriors.” All this in mind, now that we are all tucked away at home to stay healthy, are you working on any new music?
Avril Lavigne – Yes, I’ve been writing. I’ve been creative and have had time to work on different projects.
Cryptic Rock – Excellent to hear. With everything on hold right now in regards to live performance, will touring pick up for you in 2021?
Avril Lavigne – Yes, I have re-scheduled the tour for the beginning of 2021; that announcement will come soon. I think there will probably be some new songs coming out too, because I have new music. We just need this pandemic to go away and then we can get back to work!
Cryptic Rock – Hopefully we can all return to some sense of normalcy sooner than later. Let’s hope “We Are Warriors” continues to catch on, because not only does it have a great message, but is for a great cause.
Avril Lavigne – Yes, absolutely. Hopefully people hear the song and it inspires them during this time.
Cryptic Rock – Right, and they all should check out the touching music video, as well. Last question. Since we are all at home, many of us are bound to be watching movies. So, what are some of your favorite films?
Avril Lavigne – I love ’90s movies. I love Goldie Hawn movies, every Goldie Hawn film. I’ve always said Home Alone (1990) is my favorite movie. I just love Christmas movies, they are my favorite.