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Amy Lynn Hartzler (née Lee; born December 13, 1981), best 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 Elfmanand Plumb. Along with her contributions to Evanescence, Lee has also participated on numerous other musical projects including Walt Disney Records' 2008 release of The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack. Lee has performed collaborations with artists such as Korn, Seether, and David Hodges. Lee is also the American chairperson for the international epilepsy awareness foundation, Out of the Shadows. Revolver Magazine named Lee the #1 Hottest Chick in Hard Rock for their 2011 annual issue and she appeared on the front cover.
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 prior 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."
Amy co-founded the rock band Evanescence with guitarist Ben Moody. Apperantly, 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. While this rumor went around for a very long time and everyone believed it, Amy later on claimed that it wasn't true and that she "never played a song by Meat Loaf" and "never will".
Within a month, the pair were playing acoustic sets at Arkansas book stores and coffee houses, and they eventually recorded two EP's, 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, apart from additional string arrangements. 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.
On December 1, 2005, former Evanescence manager Denis Rider filed a US$10 million lawsuit against Lee for breach of contract. The suit claims Rider was prematurely and unjustly terminated from his position as manager of Evanescence, just one album into a three-record deal.
In return, Lee filed a counter-suit against Rider for "'breach of fiduciary duty,' sexual assault and battery, professional negligence and currency conversion, among other claims." The suit also claims Rider "neglected Lee's career and business and has focused his efforts on having extramarital affairs, hiding them from his wife, becoming intoxicated during business meetings, physically abusing women and boasting about it, making repeated unwelcome sexual advances toward Lee, receiving fees in excess of what was provided for in his management agreement and using Lee's corporate credit card to purchase gifts for his mistress."
Rider's attorney, Bert Deixler, claimed in a statement that since Rider became the group's manager in 2002, he had fully performed all of the duties and obligations owed by the firm under the management agreement, and that he had always conducted himself by the highest professional standards.
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.