Why You Can Hear Avril Lavigne’s Voice on This Rihanna Hit

Rihanna and Avril Lavigne make pretty different music, however, one of Rihanna’s hits wouldn’t exist without Lavigne. One of Rihanna’s party songs samples one of Lavigne’s ballads. Here’s why Lavigne had no role in the song’s creation — and what Lavigne thought of Rihanna’s song.

Rihanna | Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

The sad Avril Lavigne ballad that became the basis for a drinking song

It all starts with one of Lavigne’s early singles: “I’m with You.” A rock ballad from Lavigne’s first album, Let Go, the song made it clear Lavigne could project emotion powerfully. Against all odds, a sample from “I’m with You” became an integral part of a party song about drinking.

The song in question is Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to That)” from her album Loud. At several one point in “Cheers (Drink to That),” you can hear Lavigne’s shouts of “Yeeah -eah, yeah -eah, yeah-eah” from “I’m with You.” According to MTV News, Lavigne did not rerecord any part of “I’m with You” for “Cheers (Drink to That).” James Dinh asked Rihanna why this was the case.

“I’m with You” by Avril Lavigne

Rihanna on the creation of ‘Cheers (Drink to That)’

“I asked the same thing,” she said, “but when I heard the track, it was already embedded in the music, so the producers already had it that way. But it wouldn’t have made a difference. It would have sounded the same. But I’m just glad that we could use her sample, because it became such a huge part of the instrumental that if it were not to be in the song, it would change the whole vibe of the song.” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lavigne opened up about her feelings toward “Cheers (Drink to That).”

How Avril Lavigne and the public reacted to ‘Cheers (Drink to That)’

“It was really exciting because ‘I’m with You’ is one of my favorite songs that I’ve done, I always love performing it,” Lavigne said. “And I think Rihanna’s awesome, she has great songs, she’s a really great singer, so yeah I was excited. I think it’s really cool.”

In addition to Lavinge expressing warm feelings toward “Cheers (Drink to That),” she also made a cameo in the song’s music video. Other celebrities who appeared in the video include Kanye West, Jay-Z, and CeeLo Green. Since it’s so star-studded, the video for “Cheers (Drink to That)” is arguably a predecessor to the video for Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.”

“Cheers (Drink to That)” by Rihanna

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According to Billboard, “Cheers (Drink to That)” reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was certainly a hit but it wasn’t one of Rihanna’s bigger hits. Comparatively, Billboard reports “I’m with You” reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Perhaps this reflects how Let Go was arguably more of a cultural phenomenon than Loud. Regardless, the success of “Cheers (Drink to That)” shows that “I’m with You” resonated with audiences years after its initial release — albeit in an altered form.