3 Songs You Didn’t Know Avril Lavigne Wrote for Other Artists

The 38-year-old Canadian-born songwriter and performer, Avril Lavigne, rocketed—er, skated—into the hearts of music fans at a young age.

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At just 16 years old, Lavigne signed a two-record contract with Arista Records. Not long after, all the ambition and record deals prove prescient. Because in 2002, her debut solo LP, Let Go, dropped and later became the best-selling album of the 21st century by a Canadian artist.

On the album were the hits, “Complicated” and “Sk8er Boi,” which brought life to Lavigne’s skate-punk and pop-punk persona. Today, she boasts many more hit songs via her seven albums.

Some of her work in the songwriting craft has not only benefited her and her career, but also that of other artists, from Kelly Clarkson and Rihanna to Leona Lewis. Here, we will dive into three songs you likely didn’t know Lavigne helped pen for those stars.

1. “I Will Be,” Leona Lewis

Written by Avril Lavigne, Max Martin, Dr. Luke

This song appeared on Leona Lewis’ November 2007 album, Spirit. Written originally by Lavigne with Max Martin and Dr. Luke, the song does appear on Lavigne’s 2007 album, The Best Damn Time, which was her third solo LP. In fact, it was just released for the special limited edition iTunes Store expanded edition and, later, via Spotify bonus tracks.

As for the British-born Lewis, the artist recorded “I Will Be” for Spirit. It was the LP’s fourth and final U.S. single, dropped for radio play on January 6, 2009. It peaked at No. 160 on the U.K. Singles Chart and No. 66 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. She even performed it live on the Late Show with David Letterman. Performed by Lewis, it’s an epic, swelling song rich with emotion. But you can definitely hear Lavigne’s plucky cadence and rhythms underneath.

2. “Breakaway,” Kelly Clarkson

Written by Avril Lavigne, Bridget Benenate, Matthew Gerrard

“Breakaway” was originally intended for Lavigne’s debut LP, Let Go, in 2002. But Lavigne and execs thought it wasn’t ultimately right. So, it was passed onto Clarkson for the soundtrack of the movie, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. Later, with the song’s mighty success, Clarkson added it to her second LP, even naming that album after the song. It was released first for the Disney movie in 2004 and later on Breakaway in 2006 as that album’s fifth and final single.

As a track, it’s contemplative, nostalgic, and reflective. Clarkson’s voice is unparalleled but the performance includes hints of Lavigne’s youthful energy.

3. “Cheers (Drink to That),” Rihanna

Written by Avril Lavigne, Scott Spock, Graham Edwards, Lauren Christy, Rihanna, LP, Stacy Barthe, Corey Gibson, Dru Brett, Jermaine Jackson

Released on Rihanna’s fifth album, Loud, in 2010, “Cheers (Drink to That)” has a long list of co-writers. While Lavigne is one of them, it’s not because she was entrenched in the writer’s room. Rather, the song samples her 2002 track, “I’m With You,” from her debut album, Let Go. In fact, Rihanna’s song opens with a sample of Lavigne, whose vocals are plucked from the 2:25 minute mark in her own track. Lavigne sings, Yeah-ee-aa-eeaa! Yeah-ee-aa-eeaa! Yeah-ee-aa-eeaa!

Ultimately, Rihanna’s party song is about having a good time and sipping a few adult beverages. And Lavigne’s energy adds to that celebratory feel. In an interview with MTV News in 2010, Rihanna said the song was one of her favorites from her album that year. “I love that song [‘Cheers’]. That is one of my favorite songs on the album,” she said. “It makes you feel like celebrating … It gives you a great feeling inside like you want to go out and have a drink … People can’t wait for the weekend.”

And Lavigne also commented on the pairing, saying she was happy about being included in the production and final song from RiRi. “It was really exciting because ‘I’m With You’ is one of my favorite songs that I’ve done,” Lavigne said. “I always love performing it”[

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

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