Lavigne was born in Belleville, Ontario on September 27, 1984, the daughter of Judy and John Lavigne. Lavigne's birth name is usually pronounced in an anglicized way as above ("La-Veen"). In French, it is commonly pronounced /avʁil laˈviɲ/ (help·info)). Avril is French for "April", while la vigne means "the vineyard". Her French-Canadian parents are devoutly Baptist. She has an elder brother, Matthew, and a younger sister, Michelle. Lavigne's mother was the first to spot young Lavigne’s talent. At the age of 2, Lavigne began singing along with her mother on church songs. The family moved to Napanee, Ontario, when Lavigne was 5-years-old.
In 1998, Lavigne won a competition to sing with fellow Canadian singer Shania Twain on her first major concert tour. She appeared alongside Twain at her concert in Ottawa, appearing on stage to sing "What Made You Say That." She was discovered by her first professional manager, Cliff Fabri, while singing country covers at a Chapters bookstore in Kingston, Ontario. During a performance with the Lennox Community Theatre, Lavigne was spotted by local folk singer Steve Medd, who invited her to sing on his song, "Touch the Sky," for his 1999 album, Quinte Spirit. She also sang on, "Temple of Life," and, "Two Rivers," for his follow up album, My Window to You, in 2000.
At the age of 16, she was signed by Ken Krongard, the artists-and-repertoire (A&R) representative of Arista Records, who invited the head of Arista, Antonio "L.A." Reid, to hear her sing at the New York City studio of producer Peter Zizzo.
She then completed work on her first album, Let Go. The Matrix, who worked extensively with Lavigne on the album, commented on her songwriting, saying, "We had a fabulous and unique experience with Avril, who was then a 16-year-old rapidly growing songwriter with tremendous raw talent. The songs were conceived on piano and guitar by four people: The Matrix (3) and Avril. Avril was instrumental in...