iHeartRadio SeeHer Hear Her: Avril Lavigne Advocated To Be A Pop-Punk Icon

By Kelly Fisher

March 9, 2022

Photo: iHeartRadio

Avril Lavigne is a pop-punk icon who is known for decades of hit songs, and she learned early in her career to fight hard for what she wants. Lavigne celebrated International Women’s Day on Tuesday (March 8) with the iHeartRadio SeeHer Hear Her: Celebrating Women Who Make Music and Culture — a celebration placing gender equality center stage. The live-streamed show is team effort with SeeHer, the largest global movement to eliminate gender bias in marketing, advertising, media and entertainment.

The 2022 event spotlighted three influential artists: Lavigne, R&B giant Alicia Keys and country trailblazer Maren Morris. The second-annual iHeartRadio SeeHer Hear Her delved into the stories behind their successes in music, and how they advocated for themselves in their respective careers.

Lavigne, 37, said she “had no idea what was going on” when she got started in the music industry, “other than the fact that I loved music and wanted to be a singer. She was just a 2-year-old when her mom knew she’d grow up to be an artist: “I came back from church singing ‘Jesus Loves Me,’ and she said she knew when I was 2 that I was gonna be a singer because I was hearing music at a really young age. I’d hear melodies and they stuck with me. My biggest dream as a girl was to be up on stage and be performing in front of tons of people. I would stand on my bed, on my mattress, have a hairbrush and literally just sing.”

One of the first times she sang in front of a crowd was when she won a contest through her local radio station at age 14. That’s how she got up on stage with Shania Twain and sang in front of 20,000 people, which Lavigne said was “crazy” for a girl from a small town, and “a really intense experience for me at such a young age.”

But, of course, her musical endeavors were far from over – and it would take speaking up to break the mold. Lavigne recalled starting her career during a time that many young female artists were known for their usual looks with headsets and backup dancers. “It was very bubble-gum pop,” Lavigne remembered. “Very sexy, revealing wardrobe, and I was polar opposite. I didn’t want to do that.” It was a far cry from Lavigne’s signature skater look. “I was never afraid to speak up… I knew I had to because what I wanted to do wasn’t the norm. People expected me to dress a certain way, and follow the trends,” she said. She knew she had to fight to not be “prim and proper.”

“I really found myself early on and I feel myself constantly growing and evolving. When my first album came out, it dropped when I was 17. …I was definitely forced to find myself,” Lavigne said. “I didn’t wanna put anything out unless it represented me.”

Lavigne found her confidence, rocking her pop-punk princess wardrobe instead of anything inspired by anyone else. She learned that beauty is more of a “vibe” than an appearance, looking the best when she’s confident and happy.

Now, the “Sk8er Boi” singer finds a younger generation of artists – including Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Willow and others – telling her that her music inspired them. “I think the future looks really bright for the next generation, for female artists,” Lavigne told iHeartRadio. “You wanna have fun, you want to really be working on the stuff that’s you, be true to you… you want it to be true and authentic. That’s what people connect with the most...

“The key is being your unapologetic self.”

The hour-long iHeartRadio SeeHer Hear Her show live-streamed on iHeartRadio's YouTube and Facebook pages on International Women’s Day. It’s available on demand through March 14.

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