Staring out the window of an Auckland, New Zealand, hotel, Amy Lee still can’t believe how far she’s come the last four years.

On the last night of Evanescence’s tour overseas, Lee prepares for the show by listening to her iPod to clear her mind. A sell-out crowd of more than 20,000 awaits the band, but Lee says she’s got to get in the zone.

“I have to be in a certain place before a show starts,” Lee says during a recent phone interview with the Journal. “I have to be able to give the audience all of me during the show. It’s what I want to give every time.”

The lead singer has seen many peaks (recently engaged) and valleys (lawsuit against management) since the band broke into mainstream radio with its 2003 debut “Fallen.”

“It’s been insane for the last couple of years,” Lee says. “I didn’t think it could get more hectic after the last album, but it has.” Lee is referring to the band’s sophomore album, “The Open Door,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart and has since gone on to sell more than 1 million copies.

Lee explains that after the success of the six-time platinum “Fallen” and two Grammy Awards, Wind Up Records wanted to capitalize on the band’s popularity. “There was a lot of pressure put on us to make this album quickly. But we all felt that we had to do the best music we could and took our time,” she says. “This album grew out of the band organically. To us, it was more important to put out a quality album than to strike while the iron was hot.”

Lee says “The Open Door” reflects some hard work in the studio.”(Guitarist) Terry (Balsamo) and I wrote for nearly a year solid,” she says. “Then we hit a rough patch when Terry had a stroke and were forced to slow down.”

With Balsamo better, the band finished the album and released its first single, “Call Me When You’re Sober.”

“The single took off and we were excited,” Lee says. “It was time to return to the music scene and give our fans more of us.”

While Lee is excited about touring and seeing fans, making music is what she loves. Lee says she has been thinking for many years to make her way into movies — but not acting.

“Before I started with Evanescence, my dream was always to score movies,” she says.

Lee explains that scoring movies involves so much emotion without saying any words.

“You have a chance to get into the character’s psyche and tell their story through music, just music,” she says. “It’s something I know I will do in the future, but the band is still my baby.”

Lee says getting involved in the video process has helped her to learn how movies would work.

“Being able to mesh with the director and hear their ideas is a great process,” she says. “We are able to give our input on what the videos should convey.”

Lee says the band is gearing up to shoot the video for its next single, “Sweet Sacrifice” before its North American leg of the tour.

“We want to get as much in so we can concentrate on touring,” she says. “It’s always difficult to take time out on tour and shoot a video.”

Evanescence Has Traveled a Long Way

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