In April 2023, New York Magazine celebrated “It” girls: who anointed them, what it was like to be them, and where they are now. Follow along as we continue that celebration by interviewing musicians across genres who we think have “It.”
Whether you were engaged with the emo-rock trends of the aughts in real time or in retrospect, Evanescence’s Fallen — the Arkansan duo’s multi-Grammy-winning debut album, which went more than ten times platinum upon release — will have acted as your musical lodestone. Two decades later, lead singer and founder Amy Lee has spent the year feeling plenty of full-circle feelings, going through old demos and remastering the album for a celebratory rerelease. The result? A difficult-to-obtain diamond sales certification and a familiar feeling. “I remember when we started out, we were at the Grammys sitting between Paris Hilton and 50 Cent and having this feeling of imposter syndrome.” But having grown up in the spotlight, Lee admits that today she only feels gratitude and love. “I know in my heart if we hadn’t continued to tour and make music, I don’t think Fallen would matter to people in the way it does.”
From her studio in Nashville, Lee tells the Cut she’s just finished a mammoth tour, which included the band’s biggest-ever show, replete with fireworks. “There’s something indescribably beautiful about people coming together in the name of music. It’s such a simple and ancient thing,” she says. “I feel like I will do this until my voice can’t anymore. And I didn’t always feel like that.”
What is an “It” girl?
It’s an interesting term. I would say it’s a woman who is willing to do the work. It takes a lot of your life, so you’d better love what you do — you’re going to spend a lot of time doing that art.
Who are some musicians you would classify as “It” girls?
It’s been a priority to uplift female musicians and female-fronted bands and give them space to be heard. I think sometimes it can feel like there is only room for one thing like that, which is insane. Most recently, we played with a band called Ego Kill Talent in Brazil. The lead singer left the band, and they replaced him with this amazing woman, and I love that so much — she has this incredible fire and energy, and something that I really love about bands and singers is that onstage you can tell that they are truly enjoying what they are doing. Watching them every night was a joy.
Who are some musicians or artists who inspired your style?
Björk was really an overarching figure. She was my biggest idol growing up. It was about her visual art as much as her music — the videos and the fashion. I’m a big Alexander McQueen fan, and she wore this insanely beautiful dress. It was all fluff and a corset. That has been a big inspiration to me. I saw it on her and was like, Of course. Also Garbage, Shirley Manson — her attitude, her power. Tori Amos. Veruca Salt.
Where do you like to go out?
I can’t tell you that! You can’t write that down! I live in Nashville; I moved here four years ago. I like to stay in or go to friends’ houses … I’ll tell you where I go out: I like to go to Paris.
Where do you like to shop?
It’s changed a lot. I love Harajuku in Tokyo. When we are there … we shop.
What are some essentials that every “It” girl must have?
Dry shampoo, glitter, a humidifier. It’s good for the skin, if not the voice. Wet wipes — very essential for every woman on the go. I like Wet Ones, straight up. You need a good pair of boots. They give you power. I like a wedge boot that won’t make your feet hurt; strong, powerful bitch boots.
Do you have a go-to “bitch boot” brand?
I like this brand called Demobaza — they’re a Bulgarian Japanese boot brand. It’s your one-stop shop for high-end, postapocalyptic goth gear. All the European metal bands wear this trippy-looking stuff, and three times in a row I asked someone where they got their stuff and they said Demobaza. It’s cool to be able to travel the world and get exposed to that. Everything is from somewhere else.
Do you think the music industry, particularly rock, has changed a lot for women?
Yes. It’s changed, and I saw it in a very specific way. We played the first Download Festival, a heavy-metal festival in England, in 2003, and I vividly remember that day. It was a very heavy-metal crowd; I was the only woman on the whole bill. Somebody, I can’t remember who, got bottled off the stage; they weren’t heavy enough. You literally just see a barrage of bottles. I was like, What will the crowd do when I wheel on the piano?’ So I had a drink and I put my bitch boots on and I had the confidence to go out there.
I was starting to learn that something about our music translates to that world. I didn’t grow up a metal head. Twenty years later and backstage it was like a summer-camp reunion. It was full of women, working there, playing there. It was so different from literally being the only girl I could see 20 years before. I even got my nails done — because I could! Are all the problems solved? No. But it’s changed. I can’t take credit for the change, but it’s beautiful to see.
Do you still make your own clothes?
I do! I have a close friend, Masa Akasato; he lives in New York. I am great at the conceiving part but not great at the cutting and measuring part. So we will hang out at his house and design tour clothes together. I’ll sketch, he’ll sketch back and then we get together to make it on my body. He has all the good tools, the heavy scissors and the heavy sewing machine.
Speaking of being on the road: What was the first thing you did when you got home from tour?
This is the first time I’ve come back from tour and got in the car and put my album on. I just wanted to listen to it one more time before I got back into the world.