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Avril Lavigne at the Fox Theatre, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2019

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Quite a bit has happened in Avril Lavigne's world during the five years since she last toured.

The Canadian-born pop songstress was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2014, which sidelined her for a lengthy hiatus after touring to support her self-titled 2013 album. In the midst of that she also separated from her second husband, Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, after a bit over two years of marriage.

But Lavigne, 34 -- best known for hits such as "Complicated," "Girlfriend" and "Sk8er Boi" -- bounced back strong. "Head Above Water," her sixth studio album, debuted in the Top 5 in Canada and Top 20 in the U.S., launching singles such as "Dumb Blonde" (with Nicki Minaj), "I Fell in Love with the Devil" and the title track. It also set up a new concert tour, mixing hits with new material and donating $1 per ticket to her Avril Lavigne Foundation charity...

• Lavigne says by phone that the debilitating bout with Lyme disease left her wondering if she'd ever make music again. "I was like, 'I guess I'm not gonna be working anymore,' it was so bad. I thought my life was, like, over. I wouldn’t be able to work. But the songs just started flowing through me and I started writing because I was not working and it was quiet and I had all this time off. So all these songs started coming to me, and then as I got stronger and I started recording them I was like, 'I can...do this!' I've gotten to fall in love with music again."

• It did take a minute for Lavigne to get her musical sea legs back, however. "When I started promoting 'Head Above Water,' the first single, I was freaking out -- 'Is it gonna feel hard?' or 'What's it gonna be like?' I felt like I forgot everything. But after my first television performance I was like, 'Ah, this is easy.'"

• Lavigne considers "Head Above Water" to be her most personal album yet, drawing from her time with Kroeger as well as the Lyme disease battle. "This time out I was like, 'Don't hold back. Be vulnerable. Just go for it' 'cause people relate to the real stuff. That was just something I was willing to do on this album. I've always been honest and some songs were more personal than other songs, but with this album and everything I was going through I just dug deep and didn't hold back. 'Head Above Water' set the tone for that; That was one of the first songs I wrote, so with the rest of them I was like, 'Just go for it. Say it like it is.'"

• Despite their separation Lavigne and Kroeger maintain a good friendship and a professional relationship; Kroeger, in fact, co-produced "Head Above Water's" title track and co-wrote its closing song, "Warrior." "He's just always been really supportive, and after we separated I was obviously not feeling well and when I started writing these songs he got me up recording them and he really helped me a lot. Chad and I will always be close. He's like family to me. He's an amazing person who cares about me a lot and he's just always been very supportive of my musical career and seeing me get back up and get to work. He's somebody I can call with any problem -- a technical problem in rehearsal or if I'm stuck on a word when I'm writing. He's great."

• For her current tour Lavigne polled her fans online about what they wanted to hear, though she says there were few surprises in their responses. "It was all the same ones I had chosen from the new album, took, like we're on the same page. They all wanted to hear 'Head Above Water,' "Dumb Blonde.' They wanted to hear 'It Was in Me' and 'I Fell in Love with the Devil.' We've built the show around 'Head Above Water' and 'I Fell in Love with the Devil,' kind of a water/fire theme that's really visual and plays off that."

Avril Lavigne performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. $29.50 and up. 313-471-6611 or 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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