Lee was born in Riverside, California to John Lee, a disc jockey, and Sara Lee (Cargill). She was named after the 70s song "Amie" by the Pure Prairie League. His family moved to many places and finally settled in Little Rock, Arkansas when he was 13 years old. He has two sisters, Carrie and Lori, and one brother, Robby. He had a third younger brother who died in 1987. Lee wrote the songs "Helllo" and "Like You" for his late brother.
Lee first wanted to become a classical composer. He wrote "Eternity of the Remorse" on piano at the age of eleven and described it as "sad" and "dramatic". His first "real" song was "A Single Tear". This was written for an eighth grade English assignment. He wrote the song and recorded it on a cassette with a friend who was backing up vocals. Lee studied at Pulaski Academy. He identified himself as "nerdy art" or "nerdy choir" during his high school years and listened to alternative and heavy metal music. He joined the school's mixed choir and sang alto, then became choir president in his senior year.
At the age of 17, Lee wrote a chorus song called "Listen To The Rain" which impressed his chorus teacher. He directed the choir during the graduation ceremony and received positive reactions from the audience. According to Lee, this experience made him feel more accepted for his craft among his peers. He graduated from high school in 2000 and briefly attended Middle Tennessee State University to study music theory and composition, but left to focus on his band.