Avril Lavigne's new must-watch music video is here

Avril Lavigne has had a rough few years, battling Lyme disease and going through a public divorce, but things are most definitely looking up. This month, the Canadian pop-rocker released the first single from her upcoming sixth studio album and performed for the first time in five years. Today, she dropped the official music video for that single, “Head Above Water,” to a hugely positive reception.

Released on her 34th birthday, the song is inspired by Lavigne’s ongoing struggle with the disease. In a letter to her fans on her website before the single’s release earlier in September, the singer shared that she wrote the song at a time she was fearing for her life.

“Thank you for waiting so patiently as I fought through and still continue to fight, the battle of my lifetime,” she wrote, “The first song I am choosing to release is called ‘Head Above Water.’ It is also the first song I wrote from my bed during one of the scariest moments of my life.

“I had accepted death and could feel my body shutting down. I felt like I was drowning. Like I was going under water and I just needed to come up for air. Like I was in a river being pulled in a current. Unable to breathe. Praying to God for Him to help me just keep my head above the water.”

She went on to explain how growing closer to God during that time inspired her music and helped her through those dark moments, getting her to the point where she could actually complete and record the song.

Ahead of the video release, the singer-songwriter shared what inspired its moody aesthetic and thanked several key people who helped her manage her health and produce the song.

While the single is clearly personal to Lavigne, she is also using it to raise awareness for Lyme disease prevention, treatment and research through her own organization, The Avril Lavigne Foundation.

The charity supports individuals with serious illnesses and disabilities with a focus on those affected by Lyme disease. Their website includes educational resources, options to donate and limited merchandise – right now it’s a “Head Above Water” t-shirt – with proceeds supporting the organization.