Amy Lynn Hartzler (née Lee; born December 13, 1981), better known as Amy Lee, is an American singer-songwriter and classically trained pianist. She is co-founder and lead vocalist of the rock band Evanescence. She cites influences ranging from classical musicians such as Mozart to modern artists Björk, Tori Amos, Danny Elfman and Plumb.
Amy Lee was born to parents John Lee, a disc jockey and TV personality, and Sara Cargill. She has a brother named Robby and two sisters, Carrie and Lori. Lee had a younger sister who died in 1987 at the age of three from an unidentified illness. The song "Hello" from Fallen has been reported to have been written for her late sister, as well as the song "Like You" from The Open Door. Lee took classical piano lessons for nine years. Her family moved to many places, including Florida and Illinois, and eventually settled in Little Rock, Arkansas, where Evanescence started. She briefly attended Middle Tennessee State University to study music theory and composition and later dropped out to focus on Evanescence.
In an interview on AOL Music, Lee said that the first songs she remembered writing were called "Eternity of the Remorse" and "A Single Tear". The first was written when she was eleven years old and wanted to become a classical composer, and the second was for an assignment when she was in the eighth grade.
Engagement and marriage
Lee revealed during the live broadcast of MuchMusic's January 9, 2007, episode of Live @ Much that she had become engaged the previous evening. She later confirmed on EvThreads.com that Josh Hartzler, a therapist and long-time friend, proposed to her. She noted in an interview that the songs "Good Enough" and "Bring Me to Life" were inspired by him. The couple married on May 6, 2007, and honeymooned near The Bahamas. She has posted on EvThreads that she is "now officially Mrs. Amy Hartzler."
Lee co-founded the rock band Evanescence with guitarist Ben Moody. The two met at a youth camp after Moody heard Lee playing Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" on the piano. Within a month, the pair were playing acoustic sets at Arkansas book stores and coffee houses, and they eventually recorded two EPs, Evanescence EP (1998) and Sound Asleep EP (1999), selling them at various local venues. In 2000, Evanescence recorded the longer EP Origin. This demo contains three songs from the debut album Fallen and was written by Lee and Moody: "Whisper", "Imaginary" and "My Immortal". Whereas "Whisper" and "Imaginary" were altered before being included on Fallen, "My Immortal" is virtually unchanged. A later band version of "My Immortal" was made available for download for those who had bought an official version of Fallen through their web site, but required that a CD checker program also be downloaded for verification before it would play. The band version was included on later copies of Fallen, notably the Brazilian, Bolivian, and Argentine editions.
On October 22, 2003, Moody left the band citing "creative differences". In an interview several months later, Amy said: "...we'd gotten to a point that if something didn't change, we wouldn't have been able to make a second record". She also said "We're finally a real band, not just Ben and I and a few others thrown together". Ex-Cold guitarist Terry Balsamo replaced Moody in the band, both on guitar and as Lee's writing partner.
During an October 2008 interview for Spin.com, Lee noted that she was writing new songs, possibly for a solo album project. Citing influences in folk and Celtic music, she says her current writings feel like she is going back to her "really old" roots. She gave no potential release date, but said of her reason for this new direction, "I need to show that I'm more than a one trick pony."
Lee stated during an October 2008 interview with The Gauntlet that she did not know whether or not she would begin a solo career, saying that she was "at a point where I don't know what is next." She noted that Evanescence was still together as a band but that she found touring to be monotonous. She reiterated that she was continuing to write songs, though she did not yet know what purpose they would serve.
Lee and Evanescence are working on a third studio album that was scheduled for release in 2010. In a Spin interview in March 2010, Lee stated that she was "in a very different creative space then" regarding her previous work on new material, and that while she wrote some songs that were good, nothing from those efforts would be included in the new Evanescence album.
Lee has a recognizable fashion style, marked by her occasional use of gothic make-up and taste for Victorian-styled clothing. She also designs many of her own clothes, including those worn in the music video for "Going Under", the dress she wore at the 2004 Grammy awards, and the dress worn for the cover of The Open Door. After she designed it she chose Japanese designer H. Naoto to make it for her. In concerts, she often wears a corset-top and fishnets, as well as long skirts and knee-high boots. She at one point had a piercing on her left eyebrow, which is visible on the cover of Fallen.
She has stated on a number of occasions that she would never flash her breasts or engage in other publicity stunts that would draw attention to herself. In fact, in the music video for "Everybody's Fool", she aimed to mock such artists by suggesting that celebrities who use sex to appeal to an audience are, in fact, merely peddling "lies" (the unifying theme of the music video). Many fans praise Lee for her refusal to emulate other celebrities by using sex appeal in her music.
In 2006, Blender listed Lee as one of the hottest women in rock alongside such singers as Joan Jett, Courtney Love and Liz Phair.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]