Avril Lavigne is back after a five year break from releasing new music. On September 19, the Canadian punk artist released a ballad titled “Head Above Water.” This new song documents the 34 year old’s personal struggle with Lyme Disease, the very reason for her long break in the first place. She was on tour in 2013 when her health began to diminish. She kept getting worse and was soon forced to focus on her health rather than her music. This time was a struggle for Lavigne. She thought she wasn’t going to make it out alive.

“One night I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die,” Lavigne wrote on her website. “My mom laid with me in bed and held me. I felt like I was drowning.”

Lavigne admits that it was this moment when she started to write “Head Above Water.” “It was like I tapped into something. It was a very spiritual experience. Lyrics flooded through me from that point on,” she wrote.

On September 27, her 34th birthday, Lavigne released the music video for her new single. After mere weeks, the video already has over 22 million views. After a month, her song has reached number one on the ITunes worldwide chart, in a total of at least 17 countries, and has reached top 10 in many more.

Famous from an early age, Lavigne’s music has clearly evolved. She’s performed in the pop punk, pop rock, alternative rock, and post-grunge genres throughout her career. While she has other ballads such as “Keep Holding On,” this new one is different. It marks a new beginning for Lavigne, it’s a mark of courage, a symbol of redemption.

“I was fresh off not singing [for years],” Avril Lavigne wrote. “I thought my voice would be weak, it ended up being stronger than ever.”

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