Making music has long served as therapy for Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee — but when she gets down these days, she has other treatment options. In May she married Josh Hartzler, a professional therapist. As a result, she announces with a laugh, "I'm so healthy now, it's crazy!"
Lee's known Hartzler for a long time, but she says, "We sort of had this very distant relationship over the years, because we were both in other relationships. I knew that every time I talked to him, I had feelings for him, so I sort of almost cut him out of my life." For that reason, "There were a lot of dark times I definitely went through on my own, or at least without him. So it's great to have him now — but things aren't so dark."
Indeed, Lee declares herself to be flat-out happy at present — a state that could potentially prove to be bad for business. On 2003's Fallen, Evanescence's best-selling breakthrough disc, she chronicled her past tragedies and traumas for the vicarious benefit of young audiences everywhere. But by the time she started making The Open Door, a 2006 followup, she was in a comparatively better place, and much of the material — including "Good Enough," a gothic romance (and current single) penned for Hartzler — reflected her optimism. She recognized this shift as a risk, albeit one she was determined to take. "All I can be is myself," she says.
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Evanescence has undergone several lineup changes, with Lee's original partner, Ben Moody, among those who've hit the highway. Such moves explain why Lee is seen as a diva in some quarters, but she resists fighting back in public. "I don't think there's any reason to hurt people even though they've hurt me," she says. Nonetheless, she deals Moody a glancing blow while touting her latest tunesmithing partner, guitarist Terry Balsamo. In her view, Balsamo "wasn't trying to imitate something he'd heard before at all, which was kind of what I was used to writing with Ben. He was always kind of trying to fit into the mainstream and sound something-esque. But Terry and I were trying to create a whole new sound together."
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As part of this development process, Lee would like to try her hand at penning a movie score or perhaps even an off-Broadway musical. "I've grown as a writer, and definitely as a poet and everything else," she maintains. "I think it's a lot clearer in the lyrics now, especially since I'm not in an abusive relationship or any kind of suffering place where I need to be so angry and bitter all the time."
And all she needed was a live-in therapist.
Visit Backbeat Online for more of our interview with Evanescence's Amy Lee.