By Erica Russell
When Evanescence first broke out in 2003, no one really knew what to make of them.
Despite rising on the Billboard Hot 100 and Top 40 charts and scoring five Grammy nominations (including two wins), Evanescence were imperfect outsiders who crashed into the mainstream when popular music just so happened to be at its most polished. The sound of their debut album, Fallen — a distinctive synthesis of sweeping orchestral drama; dark, gothic nu-metal; and big, pop-friendly hooks — was subversive and unexpected. And lead singer Amy Lee, with her commanding, celestial voice and faerie-goth aesthetic (complete with corsets and striped arm warmers) was like no other pop star at the time.
With their dynamic breakout “Bring Me to Life,” rage-fueled rock banger “Going Under,” and somber piano ballad “My Immortal,” hit songs that tackled topics from feeling numb and disconnected to coping with trauma, Lee became a symbol for the post-Y2K outcasts everywhere; the broken kids who couldn’t necessarily relate to many of the songs on the radio but felt seen and heard by the musician’s expressive, alternative style and angst-ridden, soul-baring lyrics.
“We’ve never tried to follow a trend. More the opposite, if anything,” Lee tells MTV News, citing artists such as Björk, Garbage, Veruca Salt, and Tori Amos as personal heroes. “The people who inspired me the most during my formative years were people who weren’t trying to be pretty; who weren’t always showing the perfect, polished version of themselves — it was people who put their heart, opinions, and scars front and center.”
Nearly two decades and four successful albums after the band’s debut, Evanescence’s authenticity still resonates today. “I think there’s something in our music that speaks to people around the world on a deep level,” the 38-year-old musician muses. “I just know that if I write from my heart, about the things I feel are real, I won’t be alone in those feelings. I don’t know the secret to our success, but I believe in touching on things that aren’t often talked about in popular music and questioning the deeper stuff. I want people to know that it’s OK to hurt.”
Having personally experienced the tragedy of loss (her younger sister, Bonnie, died at the age of three in 1987, and her brother Robby passed away in 2018, just 24 at the time), Lee is no stranger to life’s painful moments. She admits she feels a bond with “people who have experienced death, heartbreak, and big challenges in their lives,” and that her yearning to find human connection is what motivated her to start the band in the first place. “It’s funny,” she says, “because I’ve had people ask me, ‘Why is your music so depressing?’ And I’m like, ‘Have you really listened to it? It’s not!’ It’s full of hope.”
Since the release of their self-titled third studio album in 2011, Evanescence embarked on two world tours and countless festivals; experienced a number of lineup changes; dropped a collection of B-sides and rarities (2016’s Lost Whispers); and released an album of orchestral and electronic reworkings of previously released songs (2017’s Synthesis). During it all, Lee collaborated on a soundtrack (2014’s Aftermath), worked on an EP of song covers (2016’s Recover, Vol. 1), and released a children’s album (2016’s Dream Too Much). She also experienced a lot of “big moments” (including the birth of her first child) that forced her “to zoom out and see my life, myself, my time, and our world in a different way, and start asking questions and writing ideas.”
But as the music “started flowing out,” like most of the world, Evanescence (currently composed of Lee, bassist Tim McCord, drummer Will Hunt, and guitarists/backing vocalists Jen Majura and Troy McLawhorn) were plunged into quarantine just as they were preparing to roll out The Bitter Truth, their forthcoming full album of original music in nearly 10 years. Nevertheless, Lee’s “heart was on fire,” ready to share her new perspective with the world, and so instead of postponing the record the band decided it was time to make their comeback — and hopefully inspire their fans to give moving forward in the process.
“The world shifted. We were put into a completely unprecedented situation,” Lee explains. “It’s been so long since we’ve released a fully new album, and if there’s one thing that I want for myself and for the people that follow us, it’s to not give up, you know?” And so, in April, Evanescence released “Wasted on You,” an emotional rock ballad about feeling stuck in limbo, along with an intimate music video composed of footage each band member filmed on their iPhone while at their respective homes during isolation. The clip is nominated for Best Rock at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, something which Lee says has inspired the group to work even harder.
As the band continues to unveil The Bitter Truth one track at a time, Evanescence’s latest single, “Use My Voice,” may be their most politically charged song to date. The track features collaboration from some of Lee’s rock peers, including Taylor Momsen and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm, as well as friends and family members, such as the musician’s sisters. Lee says the song, which captures the current socio-political zeitgeist of advocacy and activism, and was inspired by how she’s been “feeling about the state of our country,” has been a few years in the making.
“As we were recording it, I was listening back to my own words and started asking myself, ‘What can I do to use my voice? How can we use our platform for good and empower people?’ I believe that this is a very important, revolutionary time,” she shares. “Things are messed up. I’ve never been political publicly — I’ve kept that part of myself private because I see music as a place to get away from our differences and find unity. We need to be unified now more than ever, but I finally feel in my heart that if I’m going to be true to my word. It’s time to use my voice to help promote our future.”
A rollicking non-partisan protest song about the importance of standing up for what you believe in, “Use My Voice” serves as the official song for HeadCount’s 2020 voting-registration PSA, for which Lee is the spokesperson. The timely campaign — which promotes a user-friendly website on which people can learn about the government officials up for election, find their local polling stations, and register to vote in just minutes — is more critical than ever during an election year that will take place amid a global pandemic, as well as controversy surrounding voting by mail.
“I think there are a lot of unheard voices in our country right now, and they deserve to be heard — all of them,” Lee says. “I just want to encourage people to vote. I heard that nearly half of [voting age] Americans don’t vote. It’s a big number. We need to get out there and make a change, so more people can get their voices heard.”
“Use My Voice” is also significant for Lee on a more personal level, considering how fiercely she’s had to fight to use hers throughout her career. In 2005, the musician sued her band’s former manager for financial and sexual misconduct, and in 2014, she sued Wind-Up Records for more than $1 million in unpaid royalties. Many have tried to either silence or speak for Lee — from her label forcing a male vocalist on “Bring Me to Life,” to 50 Cent nearly interrupting her Best New Artist acceptance speech at the 2003 Grammys — and music industry-wide sexism has repeatedly marginalized her among her male rock peers.
But Lee is resilient. Her music undoubtedly paved the way for the edgy, nu-metal/pop embraced by artists such as Rina Sawayama, Grimes, and Poppy today, and stars like Halsey and Taylor Momsen count themselves as longtime admirers. Just as Lee inspired Evanescence fans to embrace their inner truths and speak up for themselves nearly 20 years ago, nothing can quiet her down.
“No matter who’s standing around you telling you that it’s not as important as somebody else’s voice, your voice does matter. You have to have a strong constitution to say, ‘This is my voice and you’re not gonna take it away from me.’ Sure, you can still respect other people and nod your head and say, ‘Cool, thanks for your opinion,’ while standing up for yourself. But we can’t be silenced. We just can’t.”
What Makes a Good Online Casino?
A quick search for an online casino will reveal hundreds of results. However, these casinos are not created equally. Some are better than others in many ways. That’s why you cannot settle for the first option that catches your eye. You need to do thorough research to ensure you settle for a casino that will give you a better experience – and some good money in the process.
So, what makes a good online casino?
The truth is that there are many reputable casinos online – and new ones keep popping up with each passing day. But the few bad ones spoil the name for the others. These casinos scam people. They are eager to make deposits but not keen to give players their money back, pay their affiliates, or even stick to their terms and conditions. These casinos – scam or rogue casinos – are exactly the types you want to avoid.
Unfortunately, most of these rogue casinos disguise as good ones. You might have a hard time telling them apart, especially if you are just getting started. To help you make an informed decision, here are some qualities that make a good online casino.
It does not feature in the blacklist
One of the easiest ways to tell a good casino from the bad ones is by looking at different online casino blacklists. Different reputable platforms always release yearly blacklists to protect casino players from gambling scams online. They put bad casinos on a list for everyone to see and ensure no one signs up to any of those casinos in the future. Since these sites differ, chances are you won’t find the same casinos on every blacklist. But the fact that a casino makes the list means they have one or more of these problems:
- Change terms
- Predatory terms
- Slow pay
- Unfair games
- Marketing spam
- Licensing and regulation
Choice of games
As a player, you’ll appreciate the choice of picking whichever game pleases you. That’s why you need a casino that offers more games. Browse around to find the casino games that the provider offers to see if it’s a good fit.
It’s fair, secure, and serious
As you may have noticed from above, many casinos end up on the blacklist for many reasons, including unfairness and security issues. Good online casinos use random number generator that determines the chances of winning. On top of that, they work with third parties to check the fairness of games. What’s more, these casinos display various certificates on their platforms, giving you further assurance that things are conducted fairly.
Has good customer service
You can tell a good casino by how their customer support team treats you when you send a request or inquire about something. They will be willing and happy to serve you. they will also have adequate knowledge to address your concerns and be available 24/7.
Accept your payment methods
A good casino accepts a wide range of payment options, ranging from online payment options to instant bank transfers and even credit card solutions. This allows you to use your preferred payment method and not feel locked out. Stay away from sites that provide limited payment options. Some of them fail to get approved by payment platforms, which by itself is a red flag.
Has a bonus offer
It’s easy to assume bonus offers and other incentives, especially if you are new to the game. However, you should work with a casino that provides a consistent bonus offer and not just a good welcome offer. You’ll need these bonuses even as an existing client. Moreover, the site should provide promotions without deposit, reload offers, and many free spins. Don’t feel limited. Many casino sites offer these bonuses, and if the one in question doesn’t, you might as well keep looking.
Free games and easy registration
As a newbie, the last thing you want is to sign up with a casino that doesn’t provide free games. You need to practice without having to deposit money or fear that you’ll lose money. Free games allow you to practice and be good before playing real money. Additionally, the casino should have a simple registration and easy account opening process. If it’s too complicated, then maybe it’s not the right casino for you.
How Las Vegas became the world’s casino capital
These days, it’s impossible to think of Las Vegas without the image of the lights on the strip and glamorous casinos coming to mind. But the Vegas we know of 2020 wasn’t always that way; and it took a long, long time to get its reputation for being the world’s casino capital. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get to the root of how Las Vegas became the city that never sleeps.
A historical journey
It’s hard to believe these days, but the Las Vegas region was once an abundant marshland stock full of rich vegetation. That is, until the marsh receded, and the waters disappeared, transforming the landscape into a desert, with the trapped water underground sprouting life and forming an oasis.
It was during the 19th century that the explorer Antonio Armijo from Mexico foraged the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan. It was a member of the group, Rafael Rivera who rode west to find water and venture through the desert, setting his eyes upon Las Vegas Springs. Las Vegas was therefore named ‘the meadows’ after the grasses found growing there.
Years went on and both Mormon and Mexican settlers began to filter through. In 1890 it was decided by railroad developers that Las Vegas would serve as a spot along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles railroad route as well as connecting to major cities along the Pacific Coast. From there on, Vegas boomed with stores, boarding houses and saloons popping up around the area. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas as we know it — with railroad workers and ranchers enjoying the gambling and drinking through illegal speakeasies and bootleg casinos operating despite the ban on gambling in Nevada in 1910.
In 1931 gambling once again became legal in the state, with new casinos and showgirl venues opening up along Fremont Street to entertain the thousands of workers who flocked the city during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first hotel, El Rancho Vegas, opened up in 1941 along Highway 91. Its success inspired others to open up their own hotels along the highway which would one day become the strip. Tourists began to flock to the city over the next few decades to enjoy the casino scene and see incredible artists like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra perform.
The birth of the mega resort
It was in 1966 the businessman Howard Hughes purchased the Desert Inn hotel; this was followed by over a dozen more hotel purchases, pushing out the mobster-owned hotels that had previously dominated Las Vegas. The concept of the mega hotel came about in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage as the first hotel resort in the city. By 1994, Las Vegas was the home of more than 86,000 hotel and motel rooms with 13 of the 20 largest mega resort hotels in the world. It was during this era that the Strip became populated with more hotels and casinos, with developments inspired by the iconic cities and countries of the globe including Egypt, Paris, New York and Rome.
Las Vegas in the 21st century
The Las Vegas of today is well and truly established as a home for entertainment and casinos — which remain the biggest source of income for the city. However, there’s no doubt that Vegas faces more competition than ever before from the virtual world, with more people than ever before opting to play at an online casino, rather than play in the old fashioned way, but Vegas will always have the advantage. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime trip that an online casino can’t replicate, but do the online equivalents help to increase interest in Vegas?
The bright lights of Vegas is attracting billions of dollars in investment as many try and get a slice of the revenue that the sector has to offer. During 2019 over 42.52 million people came to visit Las Vegas from all around the world. Domestically, it was shown to be the second most popular destination for U.S. traveller’s dream spots after New York.
These days, Las Vegas continues to thrive and be a source of entertainment for millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience what the city has to offer. With new generations becoming interested in casino games — and some incredible musical residencies continuing to be announced — Las Vegas surely will continue to be one best places to go for a unforgettable dream destination for many.
What can people find at some of the biggest land-based casinos in Canada? From Niagara Falls to Toronto, there is something for everyone at casinos in Canada, including table games, slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games. There are also many poker and blackjack tournaments held throughout the year and it is easy to find jackpots or slots with free spins at the casinos. Many casinos also have hotels, bars, and numerous restaurants which are perfect for players seeking some comfort. A relaxing casino experience for all ages can be found in many different places in Canada. Choose one from below.
Choosing a casino depends on your tastes and location within Canada. Do you want to experience the grandeur and splendour of nature while placing a bet? Then head to Niagara Falls. Do you want to see a show? Choose a casino with a show that will be perfect for you. If you are looking for pure relaxation, then check out some of the casinos with spas and world-class dining. Entertainment is also a large part of the casino experience in Canada. Musicians, bands, comedians, and other types of entertainment continue to be found at all of the biggest casinos.
Some Big Casinos Near Nature
Casino Niagara is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and the world. People from all around the globe come to experience the best of both worlds at Casino Niagara. Players have access to beauty and scenery while spending time at one of the biggest casinos in Canada. The casino has two floors with over 1200 slot machines, poker, and other table games. There are also many different restaurants and even a comedy club. The sports bar and casino was refurbished back in 2017, meaning that it has not lost any of its charm and shine.
ST Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies is a golf and nature lovers’ paradise. The location could not be any more splendid. People can find the casino between the Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Furthermore, the casino has an interesting history after it was converted from an Indian Residential School. It was then opened in the early 2000s. St Eugene has table games, electronic roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. There is also a golf course, restaurant, bar, spa, and hotel that is highly rated in Canada. Overall games are limited so most people come for golfing and betting fun.
Caesars Windsor is famously located on the riverbank in Windsor, Ontario. Visitors from both Canada and the States frequent the casino and hotel. Players can see the Detroit and Michigan skyline from the area. There are two floors of slots, table games, and plenty of poker tables. Blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are also available at the casino. It has beautiful restaurants, a gym, bars, slots, and live sports. Check out the Titan 360™, a 10-foot tall slot machine with 5800 pounds of wins at the click of a button. It’s the largest slot machine in the world and great fun.
- Enjoy the size of Casino de Montreal and Hard Rock Casino
- Enjoy the big and beautiful Casino Niagara or ST Eugene Golf Resort
- Enjoy High Culture at Elements Casino Brantford
River Rock Casino Resort – In Transit
Are you passing through Vancouver Airport and have a long transit? Hire a cab and spend some time enjoying slot machines at River Rock Casino Resort. There are slots galore and the different themes make it an enjoyable visit for all. There is even a Dungeons and Dragons slot for gamers. A fourteen-table game room can be found at the casino and international poker tournaments are held regularly. Other features include a VIP area, spa, live music, 24-hour food and drink, as well as other entertainment. Richmond is also worth a quick visit, especially for some delicious seafood.
Casino de Montreal – The Big Gun
Casino de Montreal is 526,488 square feet of casino excitement. The casino has around 20 thousand visitors each day and is one of the biggest casinos on the globe. If you are still unconvinced about the size of the place, then imagine five floors of slots and table games. 3,000 machines and 111 table games make the casino seem even more mammoth. Casino de Montreal games can be played in a smoke-free environment and many players comment on the user-friendly games and helpful staff. Complimentary drinks and top-rated gourmet food is all part of the experience at Casino de Montreal.
Hard Rock Casino – Another Big One
Hard Rock Casino is another large casino located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The casino is over 80,000 square feet, making it a big one in Canada. Hard Rock has gaming tables, slots, baccarat and a poker room. The casino includes 70 casino tables and 1,000 slots. Private rooms and high roller areas are also available. However, the Hard Rock name is known for excellent food and this is what people love about this casino. Many players comment on the quality of the food here. It even has a 1,000 seat theatre, making it great for dining and a show.
Elements Casino Brantford – Enjoy High Culture
Elements Casino Brantford is a historical gem for culture in Ontario. It is a charity casino that was established last century. It includes the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a high society entertainment venue in Ontario. The centre is well known to performing arts enthusiasts in Ontario and Canada. Players come to see a show, enjoy some gourmet food and a game. The casino also has plenty of slots, table games, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, three card poker, roulette, and other games. There is also a 14-table Texas Hold ‘Em poker room. Enjoy all the excitement.
River Cree Resort and Casino – Sports Lovers
River Cree Resort and Casino is a sport and gaming venue located in Edmonton that should not be overlooked. It has 39 tables of various money limits and over 1,000 slots. There are also a few different places to dine while enjoying a bet and other things to experience. There is a fitness centre, spa and a 200 room resort. However, the most interesting feature of this casino is the two hockey rinks, which are often used by the Edmonton Oilers for practice. It is possible to watch the team practice and go for a meal and some gaming fun.
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