grew up in the tiny Toronto suburb of Bolton, where she studied singing and dancing from a young age. By her early teens she'd moved on to songwriting, and recorded a demo with the help of a local Bolton music school. A combination of luck and marketability brought the demo to the attention of Canadian label execs, who hooked Sweetnam
up with a local producer and instrumentalist named James Robertson. Together, Robertson and Sweetnam
hammered out the structure of what would become Noise from the Basement, her Capitol Records debut. The single "Billy S." appeared in July 2003 on the soundtrack to the Mandy Moore vehicle How to Deal; the song's sassy popternative sound proved quite popular, making some waves in the U.S. and hitting the top spot on Canada's Disney Channel-style offering, YTV. Sweetnam
supported the single with a tour of summer camps. She also began downplaying the comparisons to Avril Lavigne to whoever would listen, though the reference seemed valid based on their similar upbringing and sculpted, rock-based sound. The year 2004 began promisingly for Sweetnam
, with the announcement of a March issue date for Noise from the Basement and a new single in "Tangled Up in Me"; she also landed the opening spot on Britney's Onyx Hotel tour, which stretched into spring. After a year of delays, the singer's sophomore album, Sound Soldier, which featured production and writing from Avril's selfsame Matrix team, was finally released in the fall of 2007.