Avril Lavigne struggled to have her voice heard throughout her career and sometimes had to "fight different people" over the direction of her music.
The Girlfriend singer is gearing up for the release of her album Head Above Water, the follow-up to her 2013 self-titled record, and has admitted that it is the first time since her 2002 debut Let Go that a record label has let her take her time and make the music she wants to make.
"It's difficult to be a woman and to be heard, and people sometimes don't take you seriously," she told Britain's The Guardian newspaper. "I'm highly intuitive and I've always got a very strong gut feeling. I've always felt that I've known what's best for me to do and I've had to fight different people on this journey over those 17 years: 'You need to do this and it needs to go Top 40.' You make those songs because you have to, but then the stuff that's the best on record is the album tracks.
"I would get some songs the style I really wanted... I always loved the pop-rock thing and it's still who I am. I'm still proud of those songs and I wrote them. It wasn't like people wrote them and gave it to me. It was like: 'OK, I get it. You guys want singles that are going in this direction. Fine, I'll work with you but I'd rather be doing something else.' You can't be stubborn and just do everything your own way."
The 34-year-old recalled how she was given six months to write 2004 album Under My Skin after the success of Let Go, how it was released before she was ready, and they wanted different tracks as the lead single. During her time with RCA, she also claimed they kept wanting her to "write another Girlfriend" and had an aversion to her making ballads.
Avril, who is making her music comeback following a battle with Lyme disease, is now with BMG who treat her like a "legacy artist". Her album is set for release on 15 February (19).