Avril Lavigne

Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What inspires you?

Avril Lavigne: Being able to express myself through music and art has always been when I feel the most alive. I love cooking, painting, writing, performing, decorating, and designing for my clothing line, Abbey Dawn. I also love to act and sing. I enjoy meeting new people through my travels during tours and through my work with the Avril Lavigne Foundation, which supports young people living with serious illnesses or disabilities. I’ve met so many young people from all walks of life who are pursuing their dreams no matter what challenges they face, and that experience is what inspired my new song “Fly” for the Special Olympics.

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

AL: I want people to feel inspired to reach out and be inclusive and supportive of others in their community who might be facing any kind of challenge, whether it is a health issue or a disability. Every person faces their own unique challenges and you may not always know what others around you are going through. We should all focus on trying to be compassionate to others at all times, and be as understanding as possible towards people we know are hurting. We should try to be there to lift each other up.

MP: How do you handle emotional pain?

AL: I cry, I talk about it to my family, and I write about it in my music. I don’t like to hold it in.  I’m very expressive. Expressing my emotions and experiences through music has always been an important outlet for me. Many of my songs are influenced by personal events and experiences that I have gone through.

MP: How do you stay balanced in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?

AL: I meditate and try to walk outside daily. I prefer to now spend my time with people that I know truly care about me and are there for me at the end of the day—through the ups and downs—because that is what life is about. That has been shown to me this past year, as I’ve been sick with Lyme disease. Thankfully, I am almost recovered!

Avril Lavigne

MP: What has been one of your biggest lessons in life so far?

AL: To always listen to myself. Staying true to yourself and trusting your instincts is very important. I’ve learned this both through creating music, where I’ve always stayed focused on recording music that is true to who I am and to my fans, and through my recent health struggles, where I knew something more was going on than what I was hearing from different doctors; I had to trust myself and continue to pursue a diagnosis.

MP: What is “love” for you?

AL: Love is more than a word to me.  It’s something that I see and feel in the people around me that makes me believe it and feel loved. It’s nurturing and unconditional. It is consistent and reliable.

MP: Which causes or organizations are you passionate about supporting?

AL: I’m really excited about my foundation’s partnership with the Special Olympics right now. In addition to inviting more than two hundred athletes from fourteen countries to attend my shows last year, my foundation will sponsor thirty athletes at the World Games this summer, thanks to the support from my incredible fans. The music video for “Fly” features Special Olympics athletes from all over the world.

MP: What are projects you are currently working on?

AL: I have two film projects lined up for me this year.  I’m so excited to act; that has been a huge passion for me. I am writing at home and have recorded a couple of tunes already.

I’m also really focused right now on supporting the Special Olympics leading into the World Games, this summer in Los Angeles. All net proceeds from my song “Fly” will support Special Olympics—so of course I have to ask people to download the song—and we want to inspire as many people as possible. The song is available on iTunes.

“Every person faces their own unique challenges and you may not always know what others around you are going through.”

MP: Why is this important to you?

AL: I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many incredible young athletes through the Special Olympics. The positivity and joy I saw in them really inspired me and made me want to do more to support them. “Fly” was inspired by this spirit—to lift people up and inspire them to keep trying, and to not give up no matter what challenges they might face.

Avril Lavigne is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Her music has earned her eight Grammy nominations and has sold over thirty million albums worldwide. As an actor, she appeared in the The Flock alongside Richard Gere. Her Avril Lavigne Foundation supports youth living with illnesses and disabilities.

Photos: Robb Dipple

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