Amy Lee, the singer of multi-platinum hard-rockers Evanescence, is showing her gentler side with her first children's album, Dream Too Much. The 12-song LP, to be released as an Amazon Music exclusive on September 30th, brings her soaring voice to kid-friendly fare like the Sesame Street classic "Rubber Duckie," the Beatles' "Hello Goodbye" and R&B standard "Goodnight My Love."
With inspiration from her two-year-old son Jack, the album started as a studio-time present to her father, a guitar player and one-time Gong Show champion, who always played music in the Lee home.
"Dad has always been talking about making some kid songs for Jack to have later in life," Lee tells Rolling Stone. "[My husband suggested,] 'You guys should just do it, get in the studio together, you've never been in the studio together, you're both musicians."
Lee and her father joined forces in Fort Worth, Texas, for a few sessions that promptly grew into a project that enveloped much of her family. Her dad played ukulele, dobro and banjo; Lee teamed with sisters Carrie and Lori for some Andrews Sisters–style harmonies; her uncle Tom plays guitar, bass and harmonica; and her son Jack even makes a cameo.
"We've been saying, even if we're the only ones who ever heard it … it was worth it because it means so much to us as a family and we love it," she says. "So, I'm very proud of it and it was very fulfilling to be able to do that together. … I'm always looking for ways that I can expand myself creatively and this was a surprise. This kind of came out of a very random place and a very pure place. It was just for ourselves and it turned into something really beautiful."
A handful of Lee originals that round out the record are redolent of folkier strains of contemporary indie rock. Songs like "The End of the Book" were inspired directly by life with Jack.
"Every time I would get to the end of a book he would cry … like seriously cry like, 'I can't believe we're at the end of the book,' like, 'Nooo,'" says Lee. "And I'd be like, "Hey, dude … not the end … we can just read it again." I thought that was really cute and sweet and it just ended up a song about the end of the book isn't the end of the story."
Though Dream Too Much is only the second solo project to bear Amy Lee's name, she doesn't see playing kids shows as a new career path.
"Like traveling around with a family band?" she asks with a laugh. "I'm not saying no but, that's not really my plan. Who knows, maybe I'll be the next Raffi. I can imagine us doing some isolated performances here and there but I think, really, I'm going to focus on the next thing being … more centered around my adult music career."
Dream Too Much is available for pre-order here.