It's been nearly four years since
"I would buy groceries, I thought about teaching kids music ... I just needed to get away from it. My entire adult life, until a couple years ago, was all about this," she told MTV News. "When I just turned 18, I got signed. I quit college, and we just moved into a house together and just started cramming to do whatever we needed to do to make it. And then we went to L.A., and the label had us up there doing artist development for a couple years, and then we were on tour and it went big fast, and then right after touring behind Fallen, we started writing again right away. ... I just wanted to be a normal person for a minute, before I was 50 years old.
"I got married and we were in the middle of a tour — I had, like, one week off, and then we went straight back on tour — and there was plenty of stuff that went on in that time; there was drama ... there's always freaking drama," she continued. "So we get towards the end of it, and I was like, 'Guys, I don't know about this. I need a break.' I just wanted to be normal; I didn't want to think about the next thing for as long as it took."
And considering how hard she worked at avoiding Evanescence, it's ironic that all it took was a single show with the band — a 2009 warm-up gig for a headlining spot at the Maquinária festival in Brazil — to remind her of just how much she missed her former life. And from that moment on, things changed.
"I had to get back together with all the guys, and we practiced all the old stuff, getting a set together, and I enjoyed it so much. I started falling back in love with ... that part of me, the Evanescence part," she said. "I'd kind of been doing everything else, writing-wise, by myself, and I was like, 'Oh yeah, I love this stuff too. Maybe we should all make a record!' "
So, recharged, Evanescence did just that, heading to Blackbird Studio in Nashville to work with producer Nick Raskulinecz on the follow-up to The Open Door. They've nearly finished — Lee said there are currently 16 songs at or near completion — and earlier this week, their longtime label, Wind-up Records announced that the album would be hitting stores October 4.
Lee told MTV News that the new album will be self-titled, a decision that's not only symbolic, but an all-out statement too.
"It's about the band; it's more of a band record. But I started thinking about it, and it's also that this whole record and the lyrical content and a lot of the things that it's about to me is about falling back in love with this thing, with Evanescence, with what I've obsessed over for a decade, longer than that," she said. "And it took me a minute, I definitely stepped away from it in a big way, and went, 'OK, guys, I don't know what we're going to do. I don't know what's going to happen here. Let's just live our lives for a while and see what happens next.' "
And while it's difficult for Lee to describe just how the new songs sound ("It's epic, it's dark, it's big, it's beautiful ... all of those things," she laughed), she knows exactly how they make her feel — and after such a long time away from the group, that's more important to her than anything else.
"There's a huge body of work right now, 16 songs, and obviously not all of them can be on the record, and that's going to be a heartbreaking moment. But, for me, when I listen to them, it's a journey," she said. "It takes you on an emotional ride ... it takes you to a lot of different places, emotionally. It makes me feel really happy, because even the songs that are desperate, like, those desperate feelings were turned into something beautiful and productive and great. There's songs that are painful, but listening to them makes me feel so good, because I took that pain and made it out of it by using music as an outlet and turning it into something great, moving on with my life, being productive instead of sitting around in a rut."
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