In November 2000, Ken Krongard, an A&R representative, invited Antonio "L.A." Reid, then-head of Arista Records, to producer Peter Zizzo's Manhattan studio to hear Lavigne sing. Her 15-minute audition "so impressed" Reid, he immediately signed her to Arista with a deal worth $1.25 million for two albums and an extra $900,000 for a publishing advance. By this time, Lavigne had found that she fit in naturally with her hometown high school's skater clique, an image that carried through to her first album, but although she enjoyed skateboarding, school left her feeling insecure. Armed with a record deal, she dropped out to focus on her music career, but she still had to inform her parents of her decision. "I wasn't going to turn [the record deal] down. It's been my dream all my life. They knew how much I wanted this and how much I've put into it."
Lavigne would go on to sell more than 30 million copies of her albums worldwide, becoming one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the U.S., with over 10.25 million copies certified by the RIAA. In 2009, Billboard named Lavigne the No. 10 pop artist in the "Best of the 2000s" chart, and she was listed as the 28th overall best act of the decade based on album sales, chart success, and cultural relativity in the U.S.
In 1999, Lavigne won a radio contest to perform with fellow Canadian singer Shania Twain at the Corel Centre (now Scotiabank Place) in Ottawa, before an audience of 20,000 people. Twain and Lavigne sang "What Made You Say That", and Lavigne told Twain she was going to be "a famous singer". During a performance with the Lennox Community Theatre, Lavigne was spotted by local folk singer Stephen Medd. He invited her to contribute vocals on his song, "Touch the Sky", for his 1999 album, Quinte Spirit. She later sang on "Temple of Life" and "Two Rivers" for his follow-up album, My Window to You, in 2000. In December 1999, Lavigne was discovered by her first professional manager, Cliff Fabri, while singing country covers at a Chapters bookstore in Kingston, Ontario. Fabri sent out VHS tapes of Lavigne's home performances to several industry prospects, and Lavigne was visited by several executives. Mark Jowett, co-founder of the Canadian management firm Nettwerk, received a copy of Lavigne's karaoke performances recorded in her parents' basement, and arranged for Lavigne to work with Peter Zizzo in New York during the summer of 2000, where she wrote the song "Why?". It was on a subsequent trip to New York that Lavigne was noticed by Arista Records.
When Lavigne was five years old, the family moved to Napanee, Ontario, a town with an approximate population of 5,000. Although she struggled with paying attention in school, sometimes getting kicked out of class for misbehaving, her parents were supportive of her singing. Her father bought her a microphone, a drum kit, a keyboard, several guitars, and converted their basement into a studio. When Lavigne was 14, her parents would take her to karaoke sessions. Lavigne also performed at country fairs, singing songs by Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, and Shania Twain. She also began writing her own songs. Her first song was called "Can't Stop Thinking About You", about a teenage crush, which she described as "cheesy cute".
Avril Ramona Lavigne was born in Belleville, Ontario. Her father, Jean-Claude Lavigne, named her "Avril" after the French word for the month of April. At the age of two, she began singing church songs along with her mother, Judith-Rosanne "Judy" (née Loshaw). Judy recognized her two year old daughter's talents after hearing her sing "Jesus Loves Me" in church. Lavigne has an older brother, Matthew, and a younger sister, Michelle, both of whom teased her when she sang. "My brother used to knock on the wall because I used to sing myself to sleep and he thought it was really annoying."
Lavigne branched out from recording music, pursuing careers in feature film acting and designing clothes and perfumes. She voiced a character in the animated film, Over the Hedge, in 2006. That same year, she made her on-screen feature film debut in Fast Food Nation. In 2008, Lavigne introduced her clothing line, Abbey Dawn, and in 2009, she released her first perfume, Black Star, which was followed by her second perfume, Forbidden Rose, in 2010. In July 2006, Lavigne married her boyfriend of two years, Deryck Whibley, lead singer and guitarist for Sum 41. The marriage lasted a little over three years, and in October 2009, Lavigne filed for divorce. Whibley and Lavigne continued to work together, with Whibley producing her fourth album, as well as Lavigne's single, "Alice", written for Tim Burton's film Alice in Wonderland.
Let Go made Lavigne the youngest female soloist to reach No. 1 in the UK, and the album was certified four-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. By 2009, over 16 million copies had been sold worldwide. Her breakthrough single, "Complicated", peaked at No. 1 in many countries around the world, as did the album Let Go. Her second album, Under My Skin, was released in 2004 and was her first album to peak at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, eventually selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. The Best Damn Thing, Lavigne's third album, was released in 2007, becoming her third No. 1 album in the UK Albums Chart and featuring her first U.S. Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single, "Girlfriend". Lavigne has scored a total of five No. 1 singles worldwide, including "Complicated", "Sk8er Boi", "I'm with You", "My Happy Ending" and "Girlfriend". With more than 30 million copies of her albums sold worldwide, Lavigne is currently one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the U.S., with over 10.25 million copies certified by the RIAA. Her fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby, was released in March 2011. Goodbye Lullaby gave Lavigne her fourth top 10 album on the U.S. Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart and her third No. 1 album in both Japan and Australia. Three months after the release of Goodbye Lullaby, Lavigne began work on her fifth album.
Avril Ramona Lavigne (pronunciation: /ˈævrɨl ləˈviːn/; av-ril lə-veen; born 27 September 1984) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, fashion designer, actress, and philanthropist. She was born in Belleville, Ontario, but spent the majority of her youth in the small town of Napanee. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16, she had signed a two-album recording contract with Arista (now RCA Records) worth more than $2 million. In 2002, when she was 17 years old, Lavigne broke onto the music scene with her debut album Let Go.