Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne
Revealing herself in her music doesn't worry Lavigne. "No one knows who the songs are about and the exact situations," she says.
Thomas Beynon/ABACA

06/04/2004 AT 12:30 PM EDT

Avril Lavigne is unapologetic about her right to speak her mind. And with her new album, Under My Skin (the follow-up to her multiplatinum 2002 debut Let Go), heading straight to No. 1 in its first week on the charts, plenty of people are sure to be listening to what she has to say. Lavigne, 19, recently chatted with PEOPLE while en route to a Brooklyn concert and talked about growing as an artist – and as a person, her rebellious reputation and a certain pop star known for her sexy stage antics.

You really took control of the process of making this album. Tell me about that.
I picked everyone that I worked with and I interviewed different producers and sat with them and discussed what my vision was about the song before they worked on it. I wouldn't give up – I kept writing and writing until I got the songs that I was happy with. I'm really hard on myself.

Why did you name the album Under My Skin?
Because the songs are personal, they come from within and I just thought Under My Skin was a good record title about what's inside.

You wrote your single "Don't Tell Me" when you were 17 and you've said that you might not have written it at this point in your life. Why?
Because I trust guys more than I did before. When I was in high school I'd go out with a guy for two weeks and then I'd like another guy. I've grown and I know who I am now. I'm on my way there at least. (Laughs) I'm just more comfortable with who I am.

And you've made some major changes to your diet.
I used to eat junk food all the time and it's really tiring on the road, so you have to eat healthy. I don't do meat or dairy anymore – I'll do a lot of fish and vegetables and I drink water. I used to wake up in the morning on tour and get off my bus and eat chips first thing in the morning. I ate pizza every single night and drank beer all the time. I always drank in moderation, but now I just wait for a good party.
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