After having her first child, Jack, in 2014, Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee anticipated concentrating on motherhood, with her recording career being a distant second. But two years later, she has a new children’s album, Dream Too Much, and an Evanescence boxed set, The Ultimate Collection, a six-LP set that compiles the albums Fallen, the double-album The Open Door, Origin, Evanescence, and the rarities collection Lost Whispers.
Lee tells Yahoo Music that she is legitimately surprised to be so busy. “I kind of thought I’d be a mom and I’d be so spent that’s all I would want to focus on — not just about being spent, but just that I want to be a great mom,” she says.
However, becoming a mother instead had the opposite effect, kicking off a new surge of creativity. “I got a lot of inspiration after having my first baby. I never would’ve imagined I would make this kids’ record, and certainly wouldn’t have imagined that I would be really super-motivated and excited about new Evanescence stuff and all this craziness at the same time,” Lee says. “I just feel hugely inspired by it all, so it’s really great, it’s exciting.”
For Lee, the moment she saw Jack it was love at first sight, causing that creative surge almost instantly. “I guess the part that you can’t prepare for is the biological and chemical miracle that happens,” she says. “Some stuff changed, not just in my body, but in my heart, and I literally felt like I was seeing color for the first time and just this flood of feelings and words and thoughts and everything. I was super-inspired just by staring into his face.”
Lee also credits her age, now 34, with also igniting her creative spark. “I think that’s part of being in your thirties. I feel like, ‘I’m not wasting any more time,’” she says. “It’s not like I’m getting rest anyway when I’m hanging out here. I’m up at six, five in the morning taking care of Jack anyway, so might as well just go crazy, let it be chaotic and creative at the same time.”
Part of the Ultimate Collection will be a new/old song, “Even in Death,” which Lee explains is actually her way of embracing her musical past. “I looked through Origin for the first time in many years this year, through this experience, and that song has always been one that has a good heart and I still like the lyrics,” she says. “[But] our old recording of it is really bad, it’s us as kids with whatever we can find to record with. I think that’s the hardest part for me. You can always redo production but lyrics are lyrics; if the lyrics are dumb, I just can’t get my head around enjoying it. And I think that ‘Even in Death’ has some beautiful lyrics that actually are very much in the art and vision of what Evanescence grew into. So I took that song and redid it with my collaborator friend Dave Egger, on cello, in New York, and we made this really different version that I love. It just felt like redeeming the song.”
The band’s debut, Fallen, sold more than 17 million copies worldwide and is one of only eight albums to spend a year in the Billboard Top 50. Despite that success, Lee admits it is still hard for her to listen to the album at times. “A lot of the really old stuff, it’s been hard for me to revisit because of growing pains,” she says. “I’m sure you started writing when you were young; it was probably a dream of yours to do what you do. Go back to that sixth-grade journal where you’re first writing poetic stuff, and you just are cracking up or gagging at yourself. But what’s funny about me is some of that stuff made it to our most successful record to date. There’s stuff on Fallen I’m cringing at.”
Now 13 years removed from that album, though, Lee can look back on that phenomenon and appreciate all the album’s success has afforded her and look forward to the future of Evanescence. “I’m still wondering, how did all of that happen? I have no idea,” she laughs. “We’re very blessed and very lucky. I feel like the luckiest thing is I’m afforded the ability and the gift and luxury of being able to make music professionally still today. And we owe a lot to the success from the beginning. Something happened where our music touched people, and that makes me so grateful because I love making music and I’m positive I’ve become a better musician and a better performer since our first album came out. And I’ve been given a platform to prove that.”