In the past three years, Evanescence has skyrocketed to fame thanks to its 2003 Wind-up debut, "Fallen," which won two Grammy Awards and has sold 6.5 million copies in the United States, according to

In the past three years, Evanescence has skyrocketed to fame thanks to its 2003 Wind-up debut, "Fallen," which won two Grammy Awards and has sold 6.5 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But as quickly as the band hit the big time, the threads that held its members together began to fray. Co-founder Ben Moody abruptly left mid-tour in 2003; his replacement, former Cold guitarist Terry Balsamo, suffered a stroke last year; and bassist Will Boyd, whom vocalist Amy Lee has known since middle school, opted out of the group in July.

Adding to the drama, Lee split from her boyfriend, Seether frontman Shaun Morgan, and changed managers. But the artist says the trials have made her stronger and more independent. "It took me a while to figure out who I was," she says. "I'm the youngest person in the band. I'm the leader of the band. I'm a chick. I learned how to say no and draw boundaries."

Indeed, Evanescence's new album "The Open Door," due Oct. 3, is an ode to a stronger Lee. "I have so much more freedom to do everything myself this time, for a lot of reasons," she says. "I wanted to prove that not only could I do it myself, but I could make a better album than before. I've never really tried to sit, say OK and just start writing and go for it and not have anyone to answer to, at all. I'm the boss. Here we go! If it sucks, I figure it out.

"When we won those Grammys, I remember standing there after winning best new artist, and people were clapping, but they weren't sure why -- they didn't know who we were," she continues. "I remember trying to get out my thank-yous to this sea of faces who were thinking, 'Who are you, and why should I care?' I don't feel like that anymore. Especially after writing this album, I feel like I am an artist, and I respect myself a lot more."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print