Evanescence’s Frontwoman Leads Rock Into Fem-Friendly New Frontier

Group's 15-show tour kicks off Saturday in Nashville.

Amy Lee used to be a bit skittish about performing in public, but the hundreds of thousands of people who scooped up Evanescence’s debut album helped the singer get over those insecurities pretty darn quickly.

“I don’t completely know how to act around people when I don’t know them,” Lee, the band’s lead singer, confessed. “It’s always kind of been that way. I remember my stage presence used to be really, really bad … and then the more successful we’ve gotten, it’s sort of just come a lot easier because I don’t think that it’s totally registered in my mind yet. I think I’m still kind of trippin’ about it.”

Lee has got good reason to be “trippin’ ” over Fallen. The album, which pits nü-metal’s dark moods and melodies against Lee’s heaven-sent vocals, has sold nearly 400,000 copies in the four weeks it’s been in stores, according to SoundScan.

The Little Rock, Arkansas, native gets to test out her newfound stage gumption when Evanescence embark on their maiden headlining tour Saturday in Nashville. The trek covers 15 shows before it wraps May 26 in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.

Much of Evanescence’s popularity can be attributed to the LP’s first single, “Bring Me to Life,” an unrelenting paean that begins as hauntingly delicate before piling on crumpled guitar lines and a rap supplied by Paul McCoy of 12 Stones. Lee’s vocals soar above the whole sludgy mixture to keep it from sinking into tired mediocrity.

Musically speaking, something special like Lee’s vocals draws out the magic from the mundane. Thematically, the same holds true.

“Basically, we go through life every day, kind of doing the same thing, going through the motions, and nothing phases us for the most part,” she said of the song. “Then one day something happens that wakes [you] up and makes [you] realize that there’s more to life than just feeling nothing, feeling numb. It’s as if [you've] never felt before and just realized there’s this whole world of emotion or meaning that [you've] never seen before. It’s just like, ‘Wow, I’ve been asleep all this time.’ ”

With Lee at the forefront of this quintet — which also includes co-founder Ben Moody (guitar), John LeCompt (guitar), Rocky Gray (drums), and Will Boyd (bass) — she does more than just add levity to otherwise weighty music. She’s become somewhat of role model to female metal fans who haven’t connected gender-wise with another band since Kittie. And if rock chicks want to follow her lead, Lee promises to return the favor to those who assisted her with her climb.

“It’s exciting for me, but we definitely want to change that,” she said of being the lone woman in a male-dominated genre. “Hopefully, this will open the door for a lot of other female artists.”

Evanescence tour dates, according to Wind-Up Records:

  • 4/12 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
  • 4/13 – Louisville, KY @ Jillian’s
  • 4/14 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
  • 4/16 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
  • 4/18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
  • 4/19 – Charleston, SC @ Music Farm
  • 4/20 – Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall
  • 5/2 – Clearwater, FL @ Coachman Park
  • 5/3 – Atlanta, GA @ Music Midtown Festival
  • 5/4 – Memphis, TN @ Beale St. Music Festival
  • 5/9 – Austin, TX @ Waterloo Park
  • 5/10 – The Woodlands, TX @ C.W. Mitchell Pavilion
  • 5/17 – Dallas, TX @ Smirnoff Music Centre
  • 5/24 – Noblesville, IN @ Verizon Wireless Music Center
  • 5/26 – Burgettstown, PA @ Post-Gazette Pavilion at Star Lake