Black star

Avril Lav­i­gne shares why her cur­rent tour is billed as black­star, which has to do with her pre­vi­ous stint in Malaysia.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By TER­ENCE TOH en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

Avril Lav­i­gne is set to per­form in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 18 as part of her Black­star tour. The Cana­dian rocker speaks to Star2 in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view.

it is sim­ply amaz­ing how in­ter­na­tional celebrity Avril Lav­i­gne man­ages to sound so perky and en­er­getic even on the tele­phone.

Can­did and forth­right, the singer­song­writer was a de­light to talk to as she spoke about her il­lus­tri­ous mu­si­cal ca­reer, as well as her cur­rent world tour.

“Black Star is more of an in­ti­mate show,” Lav­i­gne said spirit­edly, speak­ing in a phone in­ter­view from Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia. “It won’t have many big, pro­duced num­bers, but will mostly fo­cus on me and my band’s mu­sic.”

The 27-year-old singing sen­sa­tion, who hails from On­tario, Canada, will be per­form­ing in Malaysia for the sec­ond time this Feb 18 as part of her Black Star tour, which has so far taken her through 20 coun­tries in four con­ti­nents.

Pop su­per­star Lav­i­gne has cer­tainly come a long way: mak­ing her mu­sic de­but in 2002, the young singer-song­writer rapidly shot to global star­dom af­ter her de­but al­bum Let Go went plat­inum six times, and re­ceived di­a­mond cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the Cana­dian Record­ing In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion. Over the course of her four al­bums ( Let Go, Un­der My Skin, The Next Best Thing and Good­bye Lul­laby), Lav­i­gne scored a string of in­ter­na­tional hit sin­gles, in­clud­ing Complicated, Sk8er Boi, Don’t Tell Me, My Happy End­ing and No­body’s Home, and con­trib­uted songs to the sound­tracks of films such as Eragon and Alice In Won­der­land.

Among other ac­co­lades, the singer has earned eight Grammy Award nom­i­na­tions, won 11 Cana­dian Juno Awards, and sold more than 30 mil­lion al­bums and nearly 20 mil­lion tracks world­wide over the past eight years.

And Lav­i­gne is not just a great per­former: the gal is also an ex­tremely suc­cess­ful en­tre­pre­neur, cre­at­ing a well-re­ceived fash­ion and life­style brand (Abbey Dawn), as well as re­leas­ing three fra­grances (Black Star, For­bid­den Rose and Wild Rose). She has also branched out into film work ( Over The Hedge, The Flock, Fast Food Na­tion), been fea­tured in a graphic novel ( Avril Lav­i­gne’s Make 5 Wishes) and es­tab­lished The Avril Lav­i­gne Foun­da­tion, which works in part­ner­ship with lead­ing char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions to de­sign and de­liver pro­grammes, raise aware­ness, and mo­bilise sup­port for chil­dren and youth liv­ing with se­ri­ous ill­nesses or dis­abil­i­ties.

How does the star man­age to bal­ance her time be­tween all these ac­tiv­i­ties, es­pe­cially with her busy sched­ule?

“The mu­sic ties ev­ery­thing to­gether,” Lav­i­gne said earnestly.

De­spite her many tri­umphs and le­gions of fans, how­ever, Lav­i­gne said she still man­ages to re­main grounded.

“I’ve gained a lot of ex­pe­ri­ences, and learnt many things through­out this whole jour­ney,” Lav­i­gne said, adding that she never thought she would one day reach such amaz­ing lev­els of suc­cess. “But I think I’m still the same per­son I was when I first started all of this.”

Of all the many crit­i­cally-ac­claimed songs she’s writ­ten and per­formed over the course of her im­pres­sive ca­reer, Lav­i­gne ad­mit­ted she still has a soft spot for one of her older hits, I’m With You, from her de­but al­bum.

“It’s a beau­ti­fully com­plex bal­lad,” Lav­i­gne said about the song, which was re­cently sam­pled on fel­low pop star Ri­hanna’s smash hit Cheers (Drink To That). “Its one of my favourites to per­form.”

Asked about the name of her cur­rent tour, Black Star, which shares the name of her first fra­grance, Lav­i­gne replied it was a trib­ute to her favourite things, as she had al­ways been fond of stars, as well as the colour black.

“I wanted my fra­grance bot­tle to have a star shape,” she ex­plained. “Black Star is about be­ing unique, reach­ing for the stars, and dar- ing to fol­low your dreams!”

Black Star is also the name of the first track on her most re­cent al­bum, Good­bye Lul­laby, which un­be­knownst to many, ac­tu­ally has Malaysian ori­gins!

Lav­i­gne orig­i­nally com­posed Black Star as a theme tune for a TV spot for her fra­grance dur­ing her pre­vi­ous stint in Malaysia, and even­tu­ally de­vel­oped it into a full-fledged song for her al­bum.

“I’m sur­prised you know that!” Lav­i­gne laughed. “Yes, I was in my ho­tel room, jet­lagged and un­able to sleep when I wrote the song, a cap­pella. I didn’t even have my gui­tar at the time!”

Good­bye Lul­laby, re­leased in March last year, fea­tures 14 songs, all of which were writ­ten and com­posed by Lav­i­gne. While the al­bum fea­tures many catchy, up-tempo songs (chiefly, the in­cred­i­bly in­fec­tious sin­gles What The Hell and Smile), most of the songs on the al­bum are heart­felt and emo­tional, notably the tracks Good­bye, Push and Wish You Were Here.

The al­bum also fea­tures sev­eral songs writ- ten by Lav­i­gne at an ear­lier age, for ex­am­ple Dar­lin’, which she wrote when she was 14.

In a pre­vi­ous press re­lease, Lav­i­gne, who is di­vorced from Deryck Whi­b­ley, 31, front­man of Cana­dian rock band Sum 41, af­ter a three­year mar­riage that ended in Oc­to­ber 2009, said that over­all, the al­bum’s theme was about how ev­ery­one had to go through dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ences, such as end­ing a re­la­tion­ship, or los­ing a job, and how we had to get through these times and grow.

Asked about her favourite song on the al­bum, Lav­i­gne said she was fond of the in­tro­spec­tive pi­ano-based bal­lad Good­bye, which served as the in­spi­ra­tion for the al­bum’s ti­tle. “It’s one of the most per­sonal songs I’ve ever writ­ten,” she said.

She added that she was look­ing for­ward to per­form­ing these new songs, as well as her clas­sic hits, when she comes down to Kuala Lumpur.

Lav­i­gne pre­vi­ously per­formed in Malaysia three years ago, as part of her Best Damn Tour. Her con­cert, which took place at Sta­dium Merdeka, KL, turned out to be a smash hit, at­tract­ing a large crowd of around 15,000 fans, de­spite protests by mi­nor­ity groups against the con­cert at the time.

“The con­cert is def­i­nitely go­ing to be a treat for all my Malaysian fans, who I re­ally want to thank for be­ing so sup­port­ive,” Lav­i­gne en­thused.

Un­til Feb 18, how­ever, all fans can do is Smile and Wish You Were Here, Ms Lav­i­gne. Here’s hop­ing that the con­cert will be Hot, Any­thing But Or­di­nary, and prove to be The Best Damn Thing we can en­joy! n Avril Lav­i­gne per­forms live at Sta­dium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, on Satur­day, Feb 18 at 8.30pm. Tick­ets are avail­able at Rock Corner, Vic­to­ria Mu­sic and The Gui­tar Store out­lets in the Klang Val­ley, and are priced at RM298 (Tune Talk Zone); RM198 (Rock Zone); or RM98 (Reg­u­lar). For en­quiries, call Tick­et­pro at 03-7880 7999 or get your tick­ets on­line via tick­et­ For more info on Avril Lav­i­gne Black Star Tour Live In Malaysia, visit js­con­ or face­ Js­con­cert­pro­duc­tions.

Sen­sual siz­zle:

avril Lav­i­gne at her de­but con­cert in Malaysia in au­gust 2008. The Cana­dian riot girl is slated to re­turn for a more in­ti­mate show when she plays Sta­dium Merdeka, KL, on Feb 18.

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