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Music

Avril Lavigne reflects on the challenges of being a young woman in pop 20 years on

@TomTaylorFO

When Avril Lavigne first broke onto the scene, it was clear that she was offering up a new form of pop outside the traditional mould of the times. 

However, in a recent Guardian interview, the star discussed how difficult it was to make record executives see the benefits of the punk edge that she offered to the genre, despite it going on to be hugely commercially viable. 

“I was getting out of high school and I just wanted to rock out,” Lavigne said in the interview. “I want loud guitars, I want live drums … I want to write about the crazy stuff, the insane emotions, the good and the bad.”

Continuing: “I was very clear on what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do. I wanted to be angsty and to sound more like a band; I didn’t want to be all bubblegum pop. I wanted to turn my emotions into lyrics. I was honestly just very, very pure.”

However, her individualism was controlled by the industry, which tried to dismiss her own creativity in place of their designs. “They didn’t care what I had to say,” she said of the record execs surrounding her. “They had their own style and didn’t bother to look at me and try to let me lead.”

Now, a little over 20 years into her music career (sorry for making you all feel old), it is clear that individualism still has its place in pop. This point seems even more prescient at the moment as the industry tries to usher acts towards viral moments and other marketing techniques rather than time in the studio or genuine creative pursuits. 

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