How Avril Lavigne's battle with Lyme disease inspired 1st song in 5 years

by Sarah Jackson /
Avril Lavigne
Singer Avril Lavigne arrives at the 25th Annual Race to Erase MS Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 20, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic

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Avril Lavigne found the inspiration for her latest single in what she thought was a close brush with death.

The singer released a new single, "Head Above Water," Wednesday, about her struggle with Lyme disease. It is the first song she has released in 5 years.

"I’m in a battle,” she wrote in a post on her website. “One night, I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die. My mom laid with me in bed and held me. I felt like I was drowning. Under my breath, I prayed ‘God, please help to keep my head above the water.’ In that moment, the song writing of this album began. It was like I tapped into something. It was a very spiritual experience. Lyrics flooded through me from that point on.”

The "Complicated" singer has stayed under the radar since her diagnosis in 2014.

"I won't let this pull me overboard," she sings in the ballad. "God, keep my head above water. Don't let me drown. It gets harder. I'll meet you there at the alter. As I fall down to my knees, don't let me drown."

Lavigne already has plans to draw attention to Lyme disease with the song. She announced that sales from T-shirts made to promote the new song will benefit her foundation, which supports people with Lyme disease and other serious illnesses.

On her website, Lavigne also talked about the challenge of singing the song while she was battling the disease.

"I’ve had to work to get my endurance up," she said. "'Head Above Water' was the first song that I sang. I was fresh off not singing for two years. I thought my voice would be weak, it ended up being stronger than ever. The break happened to actually be good for my vocal cords."

Lavigne says she is better for having taken time off to look after her health, and she is ready to move forward.

"Having gone through the battle of my lifetime, I’m stronger than ever and looking forward to sharing my renewed voice and energy for my life with my fans through this new music," she said.

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