Evanescence haven't issued a studio album since 2017's Synthesis — which features reinterpretations of the band's signature songs with a full orchestra and additional electronic effects — but yesterday saw the group returned with a new single, a theatrical cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" originally recorded for the video game Gears of War 5. To hype up the release, singer Amy Lee set aside some time to check in with fans on Reddit for a good, old-fashioned AMA, and she answered questions addressing everything from what she considers to be the most difficult songs to sing live, to what makes a "good" cover. Here are a few of the things we learned from the Q&A event.
"Sweet Sacrifice," the third single off Evanescence's third album, 2007's The Open Door, is a fan favorite, and according to Lee, it's also one of the hardest songs for the operatic singer to pull off perfectly onstage. "Hardest to sing live: The End of the Dream, Sweet Sacrifice, The Change, Sick, Never Go Back..." she told one curious questioner.
Lee became a mother in 2014 when she gave birth to little Jack Lion, now surely a rambunctious five-year-old. When asked how motherhood has affected what she does for a living, the singer's answer came as a bit of a surprise. "I was just doing an interview yesterday saying how being a mom of a young child has forced me to multitask, and I realize its actually great," she responded. "I used to be so hyper-focused on only one thing at a time, and hated breaking from the one thing or letting myself do anything else till it was done, that it drove me crazy. Now that I have to do multiple things at once so much, split my brain to get to it all, actually, I think its making me more inspired and productive."
"Its [sic] one of our earliest songs and also one that has total staying power for me," Lee explained to a fan who wanted to know why the song keeps appearing on Evanescence records, including their very first demo Origin, 2003's Fallen, and Synthesis. "I feel like that song was one of the first true stakes in the ground of what our sound was and what I wanted us to be when I was a kid dreaming. It's never left the set, and it'll always make the cut when it comes down to it because its such a good core sum up for me of our roots."
Covers can be very hard to pull off, especially if you're taking on a song already delivered perfectly by the original artist. Lee, who has performed countless covers over her career, contends that the secret to a good one is reinvention. "For me, a cover has to be really different from the original," she explained. "There has to be a new thought, new idea, new perspective. Otherwise, I'd rather just go listen to the original ... I've referenced this a lot but one of my favorite covers that taught me that idea is Tori Amos doing 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.' In a new light, after Kurt's tragic death, hearing those words sung back in full, clearly and slowed down, with a new voice of loss- changes the whole feeling of the song from angst, rage,even fun- to incredibly heartbreaking."
Many lyricists have a strict, even regimented, way of working, whether it's pulling from an ever-evolving journal of poetry and other ideas, or hearing the music to a song first and then writing lyrics to that, or some other method. For Lee, the process is a little more laid-back and tends to flow organically. "Most times I come up with melodies and musical ideas without words first," she said, responding to one curious fan, "then start stream of consciousness blah blah stuff that sounds something like (remember that Jodi Foster movie Nell?) that. Then the real lyrics come later, often times I get the first clue about what I want to say from the stream of consciousness stuff, actually."
Asked by a fan about her feelings towards pizza with pineapple as a topping, Lee revealed her passion for flavors high on the Scoville scale. "I like it!," she enthused of pineapple-topped pies, adding, "Gotta have some fresh jalapeños on there too though to balance out that sweetness… I like my spice level on 11. Make it habanero, dammit."