Head Above Water

Album: Head Above Water (2018)
Charted: 64
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • "Head above Water" is the first single from Avril Lavigne's sixth studio album, and the first new music she'd released since 2015's "Fly." She hadn't released a studio album since her self-titled effort in 2013.

    Lavigne wrote a letter to fans explaining that "Head above Water" is about her battle with Lyme disease, which can cause fatigue and joint pain, and is potentially fatal. She had faded from the public spotlight for a while because she was fighting off the disease. In bed and on the couch, she turned to writing music to get her through the situation.

    "Those were the worst years of my life as I went through both physical and emotional battles," the singer wrote. "I was able to turn that fight into music I'm really proud of."
  • "Head Above Water," according to Lavigne's letter, was the first song she wrote from her bed while battling her sickness. She felt like she was drowning in a river and found herself praying to God to help her. That's what she's talking about when she sings:

    God, keep my head above water
    Don't let me drown, it gets harder
    I'll meet you there at the altar
    As I fall down to my knee, don't let me drown

    "One night I thought I was dying, and I had accepted that I was going to die," Lavigne told ABC News. "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 songwriting of this album began."

    After coming up with the lyrics, Lavigne met a "beautiful soul" named Travis Clark (from the band We The Kings), who helped her form the rest of the song. The pair took the song to Stephen Moccio to finalize the music.

    In the same letter addressed to her fans about the song, Lavigne announced that she was funding efforts to help fight Lyme Disease and to assist those already suffering from it.
  • The video was shot in Iceland and filmed by director Elliott Lester, whose other credits include the movies Blitz and Aftermath. The visual sees an ethereal looking Lavigne, wearing a flowing white gown, roaming on her own across mossy cliffs and a serene black sand beach.
  • Avril Lavigne's former husband, Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, offered up sessions for the Head Above Water album at his recording studio, and lent his vocals to the title track.

    "He was a really great soundboard," Lavigne told USA Today. "I would call him and send him songs to get his opinion, and if I was ever stuck on something, he'd help me out, which is super cool."
  • Avril Lavigne wrote "Head Above Water" with We the Kings vocalist Travis Clark. She started the song on her own when she was still battling Lyme disease. One night when she was starting to feel better, the Canadian had a party at her house. Clark had somehow scrounged an invite, even though she had never met him before.

    "I found him on my piano and I just thought he was so unbelievably talented, and I asked him to finish the song with me," Lavigne recalled. "We worked so hard on this track and were able to take my story and put it out in the world."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 1

  • Daniel from Georgia I love that cute young lady I honestly thought she was dead until I heard this song, thank God she’s alive
see more comments

Dave MasonSongwriter Interviews

Dave reveals the inspiration for "Feelin' Alright" and explains how the first song he ever wrote became the biggest hit for his band Traffic.

Todd RundgrenSongwriter Interviews

Todd Rundgren explains why he avoids "Hello It's Me," and what it was like producing Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album.

Dino Cazares of Fear FactorySongwriter Interviews

The guitarist/songwriter explains how he came up with his signature sound, and deconstructs some classic Fear Factory songs.

Fire On The StageSong Writing

When you have a song called "Fire," it's tempting to set one - these guys did.

Scott StappSongwriter Interviews

The Creed lead singer reveals the "ego and self-fulfillment" he now sees in one of the band's biggest hits.

Intentionally AtrociousSong Writing

A selection of songs made to be terrible - some clearly achieved that goal.