The story behind Bring Me To Life by Evanescence

Evanescence circa 2003
Evanescence circa 2003 (Image credit: Getty Images)

On April 22, 2003, Evanescence’s debut single Bring Me To Life introduced the band to the world. The song, which featured on the Daredevil soundtrack, swiftly stormed charts across the globe, bagging the No.1 spot in five countries. It was inspired by an encounter in a restaurant, a moment that would change singer and band-leader Amy Lee’s life in more ways than one.

Bit what's the meaning of Bring Me To Life?

It was written in the wake of a bad relationship

“This song was actually written about my now-husband. I’d been in a really bad, abusive relationship, which had been very difficult for a long time. I thought that I was doing a pretty good job of pretending I was OK, but Josh [Hartzler, Amy’s husband], this guy that I didn’t know really well but I liked a lot, we went into a restaurant while my bandmembers were parking the car. When we sat down, he looked at me right in the eyes, and said, ‘Are you happy?’ It just caught me really off guard. I felt very exposed, but it felt good at the same time – like he could see me. ‘How can you see into my eyes like open doors?’”

I wasn’t prepared for it blowing up

“We went through a lot. That time was such a whirlwind of high highs and low lows for me. There was definitely some difficult stuff going on in the band, but at the same time, all these wonderful things were also happening, like the fact that we were getting to record in a real studio, and then we were nominated for a Grammy! There was a lot of happiness there. But, I was 21 years old, and I don’t think it matters how old you are – there’s no way to be prepared for it. There were a lot of difficulties in adjusting my life to that big change.”

We didn’t want a rapper

“That was not our original plan. It was something that we had to do, it was a concession we had to make for the label. But at least when we did it, I wrote the part, we took a lot of care in creating it the way that we wanted it to be, and I worked with Paul [McCoy, 12 Stones frontman] to get it the way that we still felt it fit our band.”

We didn’t want to be called nu metal

“That’s one of the reasons we didn’t want a rapper in the song in the first place, because it puts it in a box. Since that was our first song, that was the main reason for the fear. Because branching out, and trying different things, and playing around in the world that is more metal, playing around in the world that is more electronica, playing around a little bit in a classical way, those are all things that this band does. But with the first song you have to do your best to sum up who you are; you don’t give people a false idea of what they’re buying into. That was the thing we had to be very careful about.”

It was different to anything else at the time

“All my favourite artists don’t sound like anything else around them that came out at the same time. It’s not a copy, it’s something truly pure. And I felt like those things that made us unique were the things about us that could make us great. But that, in the beginning, was exactly the opposite idea of the suits – they want something safe, they want something that’s been done before. So it was definitely a great feeling when we could prove them wrong and that we had a Number One hit.”

People said it would make us a one-hit wonder

“Now, it’s all OK because we survived it! After the first song came out, we had success with our second single, Going Under. Then we had success again with My Immortal. So it definitely felt like, ‘OK, phew! It all worked out, it’s OK that we had the rapper in the song.’”

Briony Edwards

Briony is the Editor in Chief of Louder and is in charge of sorting out who and what you see covered on the site. She started working with Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog magazines back in 2015 and has been writing about music and entertainment in many guises since 2009. She is a big fan of cats, Husker Du and pizza.