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For many musicians, stepping away from the spotlight in between album cycles is a necessary part of experiencing enough life to have something to write about for the next album. For Avril Lavigne, her time off the charts included a near-death experience after being diagnosed with Lyme disease.
Lavigne has spoken about her illness in the past, even using her platform to raise awareness and money for the disease. With the Canadian singer hopefully putting the worst of her health scare behind her, she’s now ready to release her sixth studio album and the first people she wants to talk about her music with is her fans.
Posting on her official site late Thursday evening, Lavigne opened the letter by announcing her comeback single “Head Above Water,” which is set to be released on September 19. The first song she wrote when she became ill, Lavigne says she penned “Head Above Water” from her bed, where she thought she was going to die.
“I had accepted death and could feel my body shutting down. I felt like I was drowning. Like I was going under water and I just needed to come up for air. Like I was in a river being pulled in a current. Unable to breathe. Praying to God for Him to help me just keep my head above the water. To help me see through the stormy weather. I grew closer to Him. My mother held me. In her arms, I wrote the first song that I am releasing to tell my story.”
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The Napanee native was open about her medical struggles over the past five years, calling them the ‘worst years of her life.’ “I was able to turn that fight into music I’m really proud of. I wrote songs in my bed and on the couch and recorded there mostly as well. Words and lyrics that were so true to my experience came pouring out of me effortlessly. Truly… by keeping my spirits up, having goals to reach and a purpose to live for, my music helped to heal me and keep me alive.”
Lavigne says that while part of her wants to move forward and not be so open about her illness, she knows that by speaking about Lyme disease, she can help save other people from going through the physical, mental, and emotional battle she endured. “A single bug bite can fuck you up hard. People aren’t aware that Lyme must be treated almost immediately. Often if they are aware, they go untreated simply because they can’t get a Lyme diagnosis! And even when they do get a diagnosis, a lot of times they simply can’t afford the treatment.”
Hoping to help others battling the disease, Lavigne revealed that her foundation is expanding and partnering with doctors who specialize in Lyme disease to help further their research into prevention and treatments. Her foundation is also revamping their website to provide resources for those suffering from Lyme disease and tips on how to protect yourself and advocate for yourself if you think you may have been exposed to the infectious disease.
Closing the letter with a thank you to her fans, Lavigne says that while she’s excited to return to music, she knows that she must do it in a way that allows her to put her health first. “I want more than ANYTHING to be back up on stage. To be holding my guitars and running around. To sing my heart out and travel around the world to see all of my fans,” she writes. “I will do EVERYTHING I can to get back up on stage, to travel, to sing to you, to work again. But I have to always listen to my body and keep a healthy balance, so please be patient as we go. I wrote and recorded this album and to me this is a victorious moment. A huge accomplishment. I am very proud and thankful to everyone who waited so patiently and lovingly with me to support this process for me.”
Lavigne has been posting pictures and videos from the set of her music video shoot, which is likely for her first single “Head Above Water.” Looking happy and healthy, we can’t wait for the return of the motherf**king princess (of pop rock).
“Head Above Water” is set to drop on September 19. Welcome back, Avril.
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