Making the Album: 2014-2015
Avril Lavigne Leftovers: Back-to-Back Album?
In June 2013, Avril sat down for an interview with New Live Music. It was a great talk, and Avril revealed one particularly interesting bit of information: She had enough material for TWO albums - and wanted to release her 6th album soon after Avril Lavigne dropped:
I definitely wrote a lot of songs. I’ve got about two records worth of music, so maybe I’ll do back-to-back records. I kinda want to do the back-to-back records because I’ve worked so hard on writing a ton of songs and I just want to make it perfect. And then, because there were so many, it was like "Okay, well, what makes sense?"
There's a lot of really amazing stuff that I'm excited for the fans to hear that won't even be on this record.
You can see the interview below. She talks about her back-to-back album plan around the 3:00 mark:
Avril continued to express this back-to-back album desire in more interviews the rest of the summer. Her 5th album, Avril Lavigne, finally came out in November 2013, and had only 13 songs. There were no original deluxe edition bonus tracks or b-sides - perhaps she was saving them for record #6?
While we got 13 new songs from Avril Lavigne (plus an alternate version of "Rock N Roll" with acoustic instrumentation, exclusive to Target), there are plenty of known songs that have yet to be released. In late 2012, a number of new songs were registered on the Harry Fox Agency. Most of these songs were written by "the Tripod" - Avril, Chad Kroeger, and David Hodges. These new titles included "Echo," "Fly" (a song about her foundation, the Avril Lavigne Foundation), "It's Not Okay," "This Must Be Love," "Time Goes By," and "Secret." That last one is alternately titled "My Little Secret," and is "about keeping our relationship under wraps" according to Avril's new husband, Chad Kroeger.
More songs were registered in 2013, including "What Would You Say," "This One's For You," and "Don't Fuck This Up." During a Google Hangout LiveChat in August 2013, Avril mentioned a song called "A Lot Like Love."
"If I Said I Loved You" is a song Avril wrote with her now husband Chad Kroeger. They played it at their wedding in July 2013. As Avril told People, "We played our duet 'If I Said I Loved You' for our guests and danced to it for our first dance. Our guests got to hear an exclusive song! It's our love song. We had to play it at the wedding." They have both expressed an interest in releasing this song in the future.
Writing New Songs on the Road
In May 2014, Avril was still on tour and was doing some dates in North America. Even though she was on the road supporting her 6 month old 5th record, she had already begun working on her next album. According to fans who met her at a meet ‘n greet in California, Avril revealed that she had written and recorded a few songs already. Avril also expressed particular excitement about a song she wrote after the South American leg of her tour ended earlier that month.
Another fan, who also happens to be friends with Avril’s makeup artists, Gabriel Panduro, also had inside information on the new music: He said that Gabriel mentioned that Avril wrote a song while laying on the floor backstage before her show in Rio de Jeneiro, on May 2nd. According to the fan, Gabriel was ready to prepare Avril for the concert when he found her on the floor writing. She wanted to left alone for a while, but she did finish the song and played the show on time.
Avril told the fans that she never really stops going into the studio, so it was unclear how soon these songs would be released.
In June, Avril has talked a little more about her recent inspiration and what would happen with the new songs. Listen to her interview with Rudy Blair from 680 News – Avril begins talking about music about 6:58 into the interview. She also discusses her tour, “Hello Kitty,” and her future goals.
I’ve actually been writing songs. And I don’t usually write on the road, but I’ve been kind of writing stuff on my own lately. But I haven’t been thinking about the next record and what I’m going to do, because I’m on the tour, and we’re really just focused here. But I’m so grateful that I still have this opportunity to make music and to be on the road. And my fans have been so supportive and it’s been incredible.
It is great to know that Avril was writing a lot on her own. Half of the songs on her 4th album,Goodbye Lullaby, were written by just Avril, and her more recent eponymous 5th album features 2 self-written songs. Songs like “Darlin’,” “Falling Fast,” and “Goodbye” show what a talented writer she is even without help from co-writers. It is also interesting that she was so inspired that she was writing on the road. She had not written while touring in many years, so hopefully this meant she was very inspired and driven to make even better music.
Going "Less Pop" On New Songs
By August 2014, we got more info on Avril’s new songs: In an interview with InRock Magazine, Avril revealed that the songs she was writing while in Brazil are less pop than the music she’s known for. Will Avril’s next album go in a new direction?
Throughout her career, Avril has always been somewhere in the pop rock category. She’s ranged from darker, heavier tracks to upbeat pop punk and straightforward pop. It was after her 3rd album when things got tricky for the singer. Although she wanted to go in a mellow, acoustic direction for Goodbye Lullaby – reflective of her recent divorce – her label wanted a couple of hit pop singles. Arguments, returns to the studio, and a over a year later, and her 4th album was divided into two halves: Part radio friendly pop, part acoustic pop rock.
On her 5th album, Avril Lavigne, Avril faced similar differences of opinion. She was ready to release a record full of indie rock and pop rock songs that were personal to her. Indeed, songs like “Give You What You Like” and “Falling Fast” showed a whole new direction for Avril, one that was more mature and adult contemporary. But her label once again wanted those radio hits, and she ended up recording with big name producers to make pop rock songs that are more akin to her earlier work.
Avril’s last two albums have been inconsistent and confused in their musical style. Avril probably knows what she wants: Less pop, more singer-songwriter/rock/acoustic. But her label wants her to repeat the success of “Girlfriend” over and over, and demands pop songs that she ultimately isn’t interested in.
Hopefully Avril Lavigne’s next album will be exactly how she wants it, and represent the sound and style that she has in mind. We’re excited to hear her “less pop” songs. If they’re anything like the more latter half of Avril Lavigne, they will be amazing.
Health Issues & Projects Lined Up for 2015
After finishing a tour in the summer, and celebrating her 30th birthday on September 27, 2014, Avril hid away from the world for months. By the end of the year, she had not been seen since September. The main reason? Avril was having health issues.
It was early in December when Avril revealed she hadn’t been feeling well, and fans became worried. Avril quickly confirmed that she was not pregnant and not in rehab… but other than that, it remained unknown what her health issues were or how serious they were.
In spite of all this, Avril apparently was looking forward to 2015. When asked what her plans for the new year are, she tweeted this response:
This was exciting news! Avril didn’t divulge what exactly these projects were, but music was on the horizon in early 2015.
Surprise #1: "Fly" To Be Released For Special Olympics
It was only a week into the new year when Avril revealed the first of her big plans: On January 8th she posted the following inspiring message, which also happens to be lyrics from a new song:
She quickly responded to her major fan site, Avril Lavigne Bandaids, on Twitter, revealing that the lyrics come from the bridge of her song "Fly."
And that's not all: Avril will soon be releasing "Fly" in support of the 2015 Special Olympics!
— Avril Lavigne (@AvrilLavigne) January 8, 2015
Avril started the Avril Lavigne Foundation in September 2010, and every year she throws a birthday celebration in September to raise money for the Special Olympics. September 2014 was no different:
The Special Olympics will be held in Los Angeles this summer from July 25 to August 2. We can expect to hear "Fly" sometime before then!
Avril wrote "Fly" a few years ago, and it was registered on HFA in late 2012. Fans expected the song to appear on her self titled 5th album, which was released in November 2013, but it was ultimately not included on the record. In 2013, she revealed that the song was for the Avril Lavigne Foundation. In September 2014, fans used Twitter to urge her to release "Fly" for her annual birthday fundraiser for the Special Olympics. It looks like she listened, because the song will be out soon!
Surprise #2: The "Give You What You Like" Music Video
The next day, on January 9th, Avril announced another surprise for fans that would come even before "Fly." She promised fans would have something they've "been asking for" in February.
The news comes from an Avril fan twitter account, Avril Lavigne Charts. Avril herself DM'd the information to the fan.
— Avril Lavigne (@AvrilMusicChart) January 9, 2015
What could this surprise be? There were a few things fans have been asking for over the last year, and fans quickly guessed the right answer.
On February 2nd, the surprise was revealed: Fans would finally get to see a music video for the (arguably) best song on Avril's self-titled 5th album! "Give You What You Like" was going to be released soon, but first we got a 30 second preview of the new video clip:
The music video trailer is interspersed with scenes from an upcoming film called Babysitter's Black Book, which will feature the song. The movie was set for release on February 21st.
Avril had first promised us a video for "Give You What You Like" way back in early 2014, but that never came to fruition. After her tour ended in the summer, Avril went into hiding and revealed she was sick with an undisclosed illness. By that point, most fans had given up on getting the video. But apparently Avril did not! Her own favorite song from her last album, "Give You What You Like" is a standout track from her whole catalog, and a deserving song for a music video.
A week later, on February 10th, the "Give You What You Like" music video was finally released. "Give You What You Like" is dark and mesmerizing, filling you up with all of the emotion and troubles Avril sings about, and the music video, which was filmed in Avril's home in Canada, captures that essence perfectly.
With low light coming only from the dozens of candles surrounding Avril, the "Give You What You Like" music video shows Avril in something of a ghostly narrator's role. Scenes from the film, Babysitter's Black Book, take up most of the video, but Avril's understated scenes provide a haunting backdrop to really tell the story. Check it out:
As the frequent movie scenes make clear, "Give You What You Like" was also featured in the upcoming Lifetime movie, Babysitter's Black Book. The movie premiered on February 21st.
Still Writing Songs
On February 6th, Avril took to Twitter to remind fans that she's still writing new songs. She was still sick, but had the drive and inspiration to write music:
I am so grateful for music and the power in it ....
— Avril Lavigne (@AvrilLavigne) February 7, 2015
It's not clear when she will officially start recording new music, but it's good to know that Avril is still inspired and writing new songs. She has not mentioned the style or direction of the songs since June 2014, so it's unclear if they're still "less pop" than what she's put out in recent years.
Avril's Health Crisis: Battling Lyme Disease
Avril revealed she'd been having health issues in December 2014, but it wasn't until April 1, 2015 that we finally knew what they were. In an exclusive interview with People, Avril revealed she'd been battling Lyme disease. She wasn't sure when she got the tick bite that causes Lyme, but she guesses it was around April 2014. She was under the weather for most of the spring and summer, and after her birthday party in late September, she went into hiding.
Fans became worried when Avril mentioned what was going on, but not knowing the diagnosis was equally worrisome. As the issues persisted, Avril continued planning out projects for the new year, including her "Give You What You Like" music video.
Avril talked to People about her Lyme disease for their April 3, 2015 cover story:
I had no idea a bug bite could do this. I was bedridden for five months. I felt like I couldn't breathe, I couldn't talk and I couldn't move. I thought I was dying. There were definitely times I couldn't shower for a full week because I could barely stand. It felt like having all your life sucked out of you.
[My fans] were asking about me since I was MIA, so I mentioned to one fan directly that I wasn't feeling good. The get-well messages and videos they sent touched me so deeply.
This was a wake-up call. I really just want to enjoy life from here on out.
You can read the full story at People's official site. A longer, more in-depth version of the story was published in their April 3rd issue.
Billboard Exclusive: All About Avril's 2015 Projects, From Music to Movies to Raising Awareness for Lyme Disease
The week after her Lyme disease battle was revealed, Billboard published another exclusive interview with Avril, this time about her career plans in 2015. If the months of illness and recluse had one positive effect, it’s the new clarity Avril says she now has.
Just to have this downtime, this time spent with my family, has been really good for me just to take a step back and look at my life, and really get to see who in my life is really there for me when I need them. I’ve had a lot of time to just think, and I’ve never been so clear before, or as close to my family. So there’s been a lot of good that has come out of it. And moving forward, I’m really clear on what I want in life.
I’m doing things at my speed and never being too overwhelmed, like the way I have in the past. I really want to enjoy everything, because life is good. And even though this circumstance is unfortunate, I think there are a lot of positives with it. I’m definitely choosing to view it that way.
Avril’s positivity has helped her get through what is surely one of the toughest ordeals she’s experienced. And it’s that same passion that has given her the motivation to do some special projects throughout 2015. She spoke to Billboard about her upcoming plans, ranging from music to movies to charity work. Avril said she had many new projects “lined up” for 2015, and she wasn’t joking.
First up in Avril’s calendar was the release of her eagerly awaited new single, “Fly.” She wrote the song two years ago for the Avril Lavigne foundation, and on April 16th it was set to be released in support of the Special Olympics World Games.
Avril described “Fly” as having piano, orchestra, and kick drum. “Originally I went for a more pop production, and then I scrapped it. I wanted it to be more stripped-down, and let the vocal be the lead part of the song.” She also stated, “The song is really inspirational and means a lot to me — and with the Special Olympics, it’s a natural fit.” All proceeds from the song’s sales will go to the Special Olympics.
A music video featuring Avril and the Special Olympics athletes would be released as well. Avril revealed her plans to perform the song during the ceremony, which later took place in Los Angeles from July 25th to August 2nd.
Another Single, A Christmas Album, & Movie Roles
“Fly” isn’t the only new song we would be getting in 2015. Avril also has plans to release another very special song that she wrote this year. When Avril finally started to feel better after months of battling Lyme disease, she picked up a guitar and wrote a song. As she explained to Billboard:
This is all happening organically — I wasn’t thinking, oh, when am I going to make a record? It just happened. I wrote a song, and I want to release that song this year too, because it’s about my battle and the fight that I’ve had to put up.
We can also expect a Christmas album from Avril too. She first mentioned her dreams of doing a Christmas album in 2013 while doing promo for her 5th record, Avril Lavigne. Now that she’s had time to think carefully about what she wants out of her life and her career, Avril says that she wants to focus on a few passion projects like a holiday album:
I’ve always wanted to make a Christmas album, but I’ve never had the time. But now it’s like, “You know what, just do it!” Because that’s something I really want to do, so that’s going to be next for me.
Avril’s diversifying even beyond music, too! In addition to her planned singles and holiday record, she also wants to get back into acting. She appeared in a few movies in the mid-2000s, playing small roles in Fast Food Nation, The Flock, and the animated Over The Hedge. It’s exciting that Avril will finally get back into that side of her versatile career:
I really want to work on a film. I’ve got a couple things lining up right now, so of course I can’t say [which film]. I’m figuring out a couple things.
Raising Awareness for Lyme Disease
Now that she is feeling better – after an entire year of being under the weather and ending up bedridden – Avril has another mission: To raise awareness for Lyme disease.
I feel like I have a responsibility — I can’t just sit on my ass and do nothing. I need to talk about Lyme disease, because it’s real, it’s out there, it was a simple bug bite and it could happen to anybody. People need to know about it, because it’s not talked about that much and a lot of the information that’s out there is inaccurate.
Avril has done plenty of charity work before with her foundation, working with the Make-A-Wish foundation, Easter Seals, and the aforementioned Special Olympics. It makes perfect sense for Avril to expand that to something so close to her. Lyme disease is a horrible thing for anyone to suffer, but to make matters worse, there is a lack of awareness and treatment for it, even among doctors and the medical community. Avril hopes to solve this and help the growing number of people with Lyme disease to get the treatment they need.
On April 16th, Avril's charity single "Fly" was released to iTunes. It’s an inspirational song, with moving lyrics complemented by gorgeous and simple piano and orchestra. In conjunction with its single release, Good Morning America also premiered the "Fly" music video that morning. The Special Olympics athletes are the stars of the video, with Avril joining them in some sweet footage. The studio shots of Avril show her looking healthy, happy, and passionate about her empowering message.
You can buy “Fly” on iTunes now – all proceeds will benefit the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics were be held in summer 2015 from July 25th to August 2nd, and Avril performed “Fly” live during the opening ceremony for the event. You can see the live performance - Avril's first in a year - below:
The Next Project: Recording New Music
Avril told Billboard that she was getting ready to release another new single later in 2015. It will describe her overcoming Lyme disease, and will likely be just as inspiration as "Fly." Avril is also committed to releasing a Christmas album, presumably in late 2015.
Although she didn't set a timeline for any of her upcoming music, Avril has recently started recording! She took to Twitter in late April to express her excitement:
Today I ...... Recorded a song in the studio! I made it through. Holy fuck #milestone
— Avril Lavigne (@AvrilLavigne) April 29, 2015
Avril didn't divulge in what exactly she recorded - her single about Lyme disease? A song for her Christmas record? Only time will tell.
On May 19th Avril took over the iHeartRadio Twitter to do a Q&A with fans. A fan asked her about the newly recorded song, and while Avril wasn't able to give any details, she did divulge that fans would know more in the next couple of months!
On June 4th, it looked like Avril was official recording new songs. She posted two photos on Instagram of her studio work. She started in the morning, and by the end of the day was finished recording some vocals. Avril's husband, Nickleback's Chad Kroeger, was in the studio with her.
On June 12th, Avril revealed that a new song she was recording is "fun" and that fans will get to hear it soon. She also hinted that "surprises" are coming up. This doesn't sound like the song about Lyme disease, which she mentioned in April. Could this be a new song she wrote? Or perhaps it's related to the Christmas album she intends to record? We will know soon enough.
Avril Cast as Snow White in Upcoming Film, Charming
On August 5th, the Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Avril has been cast as Snow White in a new 3D animated film called Charming. Other actresses in the project include Demi Lovato as the lead character, Lenore, Ashley Tisdale as Cinderella, and G.E.M. as Sleeping Beauty.
Charming's writer and director Ross Venokur shared a photo of him with Avril working on the the movie on August 5th. Charming is expected to be released in 2016.
— Ross Venokur (@RVenokur) August 6, 2015
Charming Gets Fall Out Boy Penned Song
In addition to lending the vocal talents to the Charming characters, the four girls are also set to record a song written by Fall Out Boy. In a new interview with InStyle, G.E.M. talked about the track: “The whole experience is phenomenal. It’s going to be my very first song in English. I’m quite nervous.” There are no details about the song’s title, what the lyrics are about, or how the song will sound. Knowing Fall Out Boy, we can probably expect to hear some clever lyrics and plays on words. Also, given the musical backgrounds of the involved artists, the song is likely to have a pop rock style.
Avril Lavigne & Chad Kroeger Announce Divorce
On September 2nd, Avril took to Instagram to share some sad news regarding her personal life. After two years of marriage, she and Chad Kroeger are separating. It is an amicable separation, and hopefully both will be happy in the next chapters of their lives.
It is possible their separation will influence Avril's new music. Her last divorce, from Deryck Whibley, resulted in the somber Goodbye Lullaby, and it's possible the new divorce could have similar influences. It is still too early to tell, but hopefully Avril is inspired.
Avril Writing & Recording New Songs… With Chad
Avril's health continued to improve, and she kept writing new songs as fall began. She frequently shared excited photos and videos on Instagram documenting her musical progress. On September 18th, she shared a photo of her playing guitar in front of an early Christmas tree… was she working on that Christmas album she'd mentioned back in April?
On September 25th, Avril shared two videos and two pictures of her "Pajama Sessions" with Dan Ellis and David Immerman.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, was when Avril revealed that she was writing new songs with none other than her soon-to-be ex-husband, Chad Kroeger. Although their romantic relationship has come to an end, it is clear that they are sticking by their commitment to remain good friends, and apparently co-writers. Avril has also worked with her ex-husband Deryck Whibley on her fourth album, Goodbye Lullaby.
Are Avril and Chad writing a country song? Or is the "YeeHaw" and cowboy hat just there to throw us off? Avril got her start singing country music, but so far has never put out any country songs since she signed her first record deal for Let Go.
More Studio Time
Avril occasionally posted photos of herself in the studio throughout the rest of 2015. It is possible that she may have a full album ready in the new year.
"Get Over Me" - Avril Appears on Nick Carter's New Song
On Wednesday, November 25th, Nick Carter shared a new track from his third solo album, All American. "Get Over Me" is a fun pop rock breakup song featuring Avril Lavigne. Nick talked to iHeartRadio about how the collaboration came about:
I talked to Avril about doing a collab together, and we became friends - we were on tour together with the Backstreet Boys [in 2014]. She was into the idea, and she really liked it. She liked the song that I had written, and she put her vocals on the song, and it was really cool.
There is no confirmation about a music video yet, but you can hear the song below:
Back In The Studio
By early December, Avril was back to writing new music: