Evanescence singer Amy Lee has discussed the legendary moment the band beat hot favourite 50 Cent to the Best New Artist award at the 2004 Grammys, in one of the category's biggest ever upsets. Rapper 50, who had released his chart-smashing debut album Get Rich Or Die Tryin' the year prior, was widely favoured to win the award.
On the night of the ceremony, however, which took place on February 8 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Evanescence beat out 50 (real name Curtis Jackson), as well as fellow nominees Fountains Of Wayne, Heather Headley and Sean Paul.
“I was pretty sure that we weren’t going to win, at least not Best New Artist," Lee explains in an exclusive interview in the new issue of Metal Hammer, out this Thursday. "I thought for sure that would be 50 Cent. We were 100% the dark horse. I felt like, 'People don’t know who I am'...I’m a 21-, 22-year-old kid, trying to dress up like a grown-up and I had my shoes off when they called our name. I don’t normally wear heels. They’re very uncomfortable.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Lee talks about the challenges Evanescence faced in their early days.
“The fight for credibility was the most frustrating in the beginning," she notes. "It was the mentality of labels to tell, especially newer artists, that they need to have writers. I fought for way too long after the success of [2003 debut album] Fallen to say I can write my own music. I constantly had to fight off men that were like, ‘No, you want me to do it? You want this guy to do it? You want my friend to do it?’ And the reason that they wanted them to do it was because that’s where the money was. That’s where the power was. Everybody else wanted to be able to say they did that when I did that. It took a long time to get respect for being a creator and not just the frontwoman, the pretty face standing in front of the guys doing the real work.”
“Some of it was surreal. Concerts went from clubs to arenas in a couple of months," she says of the band's unbelievable rise to fame "There was a lot to be excited about, but there was a lot of hard stuff going on in the background. Not just drama about what we were doing, but also my brother [Robby, who died in 2018 following complications with epilepsy] was sick, and it was a scary time to be out on my own. And I did, in a lot of ways at that time, feel alone.”
Evanescence walked away with two Grammys at the 2004 awards, also bagging the win in the Best Rock Performance category. You can read the full version of Amy Lee's interview only in the next issue of Metal Hammer. Keep an eye on Magazines Direct for access to a limited amount of online copies when it goes on sale on Thursday (April 27).