Avril Lavigne has officially returned stronger than ever and it isn’t strictly metaphorical. Marking her first television appearance in years, Lavigne performed her intimate new single “Head Above Water” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! for the first time ever on Wednesday night (Sept. 26).
Both a cry for help and a powerful, spiritual epiphany detailing the Canadian singer’s journey through her struggle with Lyme disease — the reason why she’s been away from the public eye for almost five years — “Head Above Water” is a personal piano ballad that offers a never-seen-before side of Lavigne: simultaneously vulnerable and strong.
Singing the stirring song for the first time live, Lavigne wore a cut-out, goddess-like white gown as the stage’s blue lights complemented the ocean visuals behind her — a metaphor for her near-death experience with Lyme disease, during which she’s said she felt like she was drowning.
Chanting for her life, the “Girlfriend” singer passionately recited the emotionally charged chorus over stark piano chords: “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.”
Watch Avril Lavigne’s performance of “Head Above Water” below.