Heroes: Amy Lee

Heroes: Amy Lee

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Heroes: Amy Lee

After nearly a decade since her last full album, Evanescence's frontwoman is back.

After nearly a decade since her last full album, Evanescence's frontwoman is back.

Photography: Josh Hartzler

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

“I feel like I might as well be on Mars,” Amy Lee says drily. In reality, the incandescent Evanescence frontwoman is speaking from Nashville, Tennessee, where she’s lived for two years with her husband Josh Hartzler and their son, Jack. The joke, obviously, is that Music City is just as much of a surreal, sci-fi setting as any other city in early 2021. However, it’s home, as well as where she and her rock band Evanescence have recorded much of their first full-length album in over a decade.

Amy wears all clothing and jewelry Alexander McQueen

An epic rock blast propelled by Lee’s soft yet weighty voice, The Bitter Truth will be released Friday, March 26th and was halfway done prior to the pandemic. It was later completed in lockdown through a series of voice notes, text threads, and COVID safety protocols before recording again. Such circumstances were obviously unimaginable to Lee when Evanescence released their canonical, game-changing debut LP Fallen in 2003, of which they sold 17 million copies and won two Grammys including Best Rock Performance for “Bring Me To Life.” And even though the band had actually formed eight years prior, Lee’s apparent “overnight success” made her a poster child for symphonic gothic rock, a genre completely off the mainstream music industry’s radar. Obsessive fans clamored to mimic Lee’s look and straightforward, no bullshit grandeur–the pitch-black hair and even blacker eyeliner, the gothic rock ball gowns paired with her piercing baby blue eyes, the melancholic ballads that were as emotionally wrought as they were supercharged with the vigor of metal guitars and ominous bass. She became, in a word, iconic. “[I was] a 21-year-old person, just out of high school really, trying to figure out who I was or what our band was or what it all meant,” she says. “But in the last few years, things are definitely coming around full circle. I’ve grown...and the journey has been all over the place.”

Lee’s journey over the last decade has involved a solo career, award-winning film scoring for the 2014 sci-fi movie Indigo Grey: The Passage, relocating to the South, and becoming a mother. That last bit, of course, was fairly monumental. Yet, oddly enough, pandemic-mandated pressures of homeschooling actually cemented Lee’s desire to return to new music. “I’m at home just feeling like a failure,” she says with a laugh. “I suck at being a teacher, my son has too much energy, everything is hard.” But I can play music….it’s just a feeling of, “Yes, this is something I’m good at! This is something I can control!”

“You transform in a way where you don’t feel like a rock star anymore,” she adds with a tinge of humor. But she felt the magic of returning to a stage in Tokyo after a few years of not performing, an experience that illustrated how music would always remain steadfast in her life.

Another constant for Amy Lee, even after all these years? Her own sense of artistic identity. “I wasn’t lying [when our first album came out],” she says. “That really was me, and all of those words and all of that heart that went into all of our albums, it’s still true. I don’t want to run away from it. I am who I was.”

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