Avril Lavigne was all smiles as she stepped out for a romantic dinner in Los Angeles with record producer J.R. Rotem on Oct. 8

By Nicole Sands
October 09, 2017 04:20 PM
Credit: Backgrid

Based on their date night, things don’t seem complicated between Avril Lavigne and her new beau J.R. Rotem.

The singer, 33, was grinning from ear to ear on Sunday as she stepped out for a romantic dinner at Los Angeles hotspot The Nice Guy with the 42-year-old record producer.

In late August, Rotem and Lavigne shared photos of each other to their respective Instagram accounts. “Bae putting in that work,” he captioned one shot showing Lavigne on a couch next to a guitar.

Here are five things you need to know about the Israeli-American record producer.

1. A relationship is just one thing in the works for the pair.

The Canadian singer is set to release her sixth album later this year, and rumor has it she and Rotem have a professional relationship to match their romantic one.

“J.R. is a producer she’s been working with,” a source previously told E! News. “He’s respected in the industry. Lately, they’ve started hanging out socially and there’s definitely chemistry there. They’re both so passionate about music.”

2. J.R. is short for Jonathan Reuven.

The producer was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1975 with the birth name Jonathan Reuven. He was raised by Israeli immigrant parents and moved with them to Toronto at 2 years old before making the move to the United States in 1987, at the age of 12. His family settled in the Northern California city of Moraga.

3. He was on his way to becoming the next Mozart.

Rotem first jumped into the music industry at a very young age as a classical pianist, but it wasn’t until later that he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston with the intention of studying film scoring. He ultimately ended up majoring in jazz composition.

“I just grew up with a love and understanding of a lot of different kinds of music,” he told Time in 2006. “I was very inspired by hip-hop and rap but I loved pop and always wanted to be involved in those genres.”

“When I first entered the music industry, it was a little more on the urban side — 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Rick Ross,” he continued. “I made the conscious effort to transition into pop, and that’s when I started working with Rihanna, Britney Spears.”

4. He’s a big player behind Gwen Stefani’s first number one album.

He’s worked with everyone from Rihanna to Maroon 5 and Nicki Minaj under his very own record label, Beluga Heights, but in 2016 Rotem helped Gwen Stefani score her first number one album with This Is What the Truth Feels Like. Rotem produced several of the tracks, including the lead single “Used to Love You” about ex-husband Gavin Rossdale.

“I make a lot of songs for a lot of people,” he told Time in 2016. “Sometimes it’s just a couple songs. This was one of those rare experiences where I was producing half the album for an iconic superstar who was going through one of the most transitional things in her life in a very public way. It was just a very unique experience.”

5. He and Britney Spears were reportedly dating back in 2007.

Rotem briefly dated Spears after collaborating on her track “Everybody.” Romance rumors begin to whirl almost immediately after her divorce from Kevin Federline was settled.