WALLINGFORD — Avril Lavigne is bringing her first tour in five years to the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in October.
A portion of ticket sales from the 15-date “Head Above Water” tour will be donated to The Avril Lavigne Foundation, which supports those with Lyme disease and other serious illnesses or disabilities.
Lavigne, who has Lyme disease, began band rehearsals earlier this month, learning new songs from her sixth studio album, “Head Above Water,” but also her past hits, like “Complicated” and “Girlfriend.”
“Some people ask me if I ever get over the old ones, but actually they have so many fun memories, and such a different energy about them,” Lavigne said in a phone interview with the Record-Journal.
Lavigne’s career as a pop-punk singer-songwriter began nearly 20 years ago. One of the recurring themes of her songs is an empowering message, she said.
“This album is a different take on it,” she said. “I went through my health battle (with Lyme disease) and I’ve got songs like ‘Warrior’ and ‘Head Above Water’ where I’m fighting for my life and going through some really dark, hard, real-life challenges.”
In April 2015, Lavigne revealed in an interview with People magazine that she has Lyme disease, and later that year she announced her separation from her second husband, Chad Kroeger of Nickelback.
“I was really able to turn to my music and that was healing in a lot of ways,” she said. “Having this goal to record these songs and put music out again, it gave me life, and a lot of hope.”
‘Music lives in me’
Her five-year hiatus from touring was her first break in a long time. Lavigne’s debut single, “Complicated,” was released on her 2002 album “Let Go,” which she said “exploded.”
“It was massive,” she said, “and we’d do all these tours, and I was doing back-to-back albums, and it just kept going and I was loving it.”
Lavigne would put out an album and then spend a year or two on the road touring with each album. When she was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2014, she finally slowed down for treatment and eventual recovery.
Without even trying, the songs started coming. She didn’t hold back on the album, she said, hoping that her sincerity would touch and inspire others.
“It showed me how much music lives in me,” she said, “and it’s a part of who I really am and how much I really do love it.”
A dollar from each ticket will be donated to The Avril Lavigne Foundation. Through programs and grants, the foundation provides prevention resources, funds treatment and accelerates research, according to its website.
The foundation was created nearly a decade ago, before Lavigne’s bout with Lyme disease. It now partners with Global Lyme Alliance, a Stamford-based advocacy group that has Lavigne as a board member, and LymeLight Foundation, which focuses on children and young adults with Lyme disease.
“I didn’t know about (Lyme disease),” she said, "and that you have to be careful of ticks … If I would have known, I wouldn’t have been trucking myself through dirt biking through the forest on the East Coast, like I was always doing.”
She hopes that by bringing attention to her story, it will give others hope.
“You can have a life and you can get through it,” she said.
Avril Lavigne is slated to play the Toyota Oakdale Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 5. Tickets start at $36, available at www.oakdale.com.