Levine in 2011
|Birth name||Adam Noah Levine|
March 18, 1979 |
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupations||Musician, singer-songwriter, television music competition coach, entrepreneur, actor|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass, piano, drums|
|Associated acts||Maroon 5, Kara's Flowers|
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Levine began his musical career in 1994, when he co-founded alternative rock band Kara's Flowers, of which he was the lead vocalist and guitarist. After the commercial failure of their only album, The Fourth World, the band split up. Later, he reformed the band and a fifth member was added to form Maroon 5. The band released their first album, Songs About Jane, which went multi-platinum in the US. Since then, they have released three more albums, It Won't Be Soon Before Long (2007), Hands All Over (2010) and Overexposed (2012). As part of Maroon 5, he has received three Grammy Awards, two Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards, an MTV Video Music Award and a World Music Award.
Since 2011, Levine has served as a coach on NBC's reality talent show The Voice. The winners of the first and fifth seasons, Javier Colon and Tessanne Chin, were on his team. In 2012, he made his acting debut as a recurring character in the horror television show American Horror Story: Asylum for the series' second season. He also appeared in the film Begin Again.
As an entrepreneur, Levine launched his own eponymous fragrance line in 2013. The same year, he collaborated with Kmart and ShopYourWay.com to develop his menswear collection. He also owns a record label, 222 Records. In 2013, The Hollywood Reporter reported that "sources familiar with his many business dealings" estimated Levine would earn more than $35 million that year.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Kara's Flowers
- 3 Maroon 5 and mainstream success
- 4 Other work
- 5 Artistry
- 6 Personal life
- 7 Discography
- 8 Filmography
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Adam Noah Levine was born in Los Angeles on March 18, 1979 to Fred Levine, the founder of retail chain M. Fredric, and Patsy (née Noah) Levine, an admissions counselor. Journalist and author Timothy Noah is his uncle. He has two brothers, Michael and Sam. Levine's parents divorced when he was seven. Growing up, he spent weekdays with his mother and weekends with his father. He underwent therapy for his parents' divorce, but called it a "waste of time" explaining that his parents could not "accept the fact that I might have been OK with it. I cried my eyes out and kicked and screamed and said, 'Why?' and all the things you do when you find out. A few days later I was fine but I still had to go to therapy".
Levine describes his family as "very musical" and credits his mother with "start[ing] me out on the path". He also attributes his mother's idols - Simon & Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac and, most notably, The Beatles - to shaping his musical style, calling them "a huge part of my upbringing". He attended Brentwood School, where he met Jesse Carmichael and Mickey Madden, his future bandmates. He carried his musical interests to high school, where he states he was "a little rebellious. I didn't want to do the things they were teaching me ... [music] consumed my every thought."
Levine used hallucinogenic drugs in his adolescence. In an interview with Q, he said that using mushrooms "really forced me to look at myself" but added that he had never abused drugs. On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, he stated that he stopped using drugs after his first experience with prescription drug Ambien, which left him unconscious for an hour.
Levine's father and maternal grandfather are Jewish, while his maternal grandmother was Protestant. Levine considers himself Jewish, though according to his interview in The Jewish Chronicle, he "has rejected formal religious practice for a more generalized, spiritual way of life". He chose not to have a Bar Mitzvah as a child, explaining: "I felt as though a lot of kids were trying to cash in ... I just don't think it's the most respectful way to deal with God and beliefs and years and years and years of cultural heritage".
In September 1995, Levine, along with Carmichael, Madden and Ryan Dusick, another Brentwood High student, formed garage band Kara's Flowers. The group played their first gig at the Whisky a Go Go, a nightclub in West Hollywood, California, with Levine on vocals and guitar. In 1997, the band was discovered while they were performing at a beach party in Malibu by independent producer Tommy Allen. Allen, along with his partner John DeNicola, had the band record a 11-track album. Owing to a string of industry showcases in Los Angeles, they were signed on to Reprise Records through producer Rob Cavallo. In 1997, Kara's Flowers released their first album, titled The Fourth World. That same year, the band appeared on an episode of the drama series Beverly Hills, 90210. After their graduation, the band toured in support of their debut. Despite high expectations, the album had little success, selling about 5,000 copies, and its only single, "Soap Disco", failed commercially. Finally, on Cavallo's exit from the label, Reprise decided to drop the band. Disappointed with the results of their album, the band broke up. Later, Levine would say of the experience: "Kara’s Flowers was just floating up the wall beneath the sticks. Make a record quickly, put it out. No touring base, no nothing. Just try to make it happen right out of the gate and it just doesn’t work".
Maroon 5 and mainstream success
After the break up of Kara's Flowers, Levine, along with Carmichael, left Los Angeles to pursue further studies in New York. On MTV News, in 2002, he said: "That's when I started waking up to the whole hip-hop, R&B thing. We had friends named Chaos and Shit. It was not Brentwood High". After dropping out of Five Towns College, where he and Carmichael had enrolled to study music, they reunited with Madden and Dusick to form a band once more. They experimented with several styles, including country and folk, before deciding groove-based music would become their genre. Levine explained the need for a makeover for the band: "We were just so sick of being a typical rock 'n'roll band ... I felt like I needed to look elsewhere for vocal inspiration." The band put together a demo that was rejected by several labels, before falling into the hands of Octone Records executives James Diener, Ben Berkman, and David Boxenbaum. Following Berkman's advice, the band added a fifth member, former Square guitarist James Valentine, and was renamed Maroon 5. In an interview with HitQuarters, Berkman explained that Levine "seemed to be a very shy, shoe-gazing type ... a fifth member could play the guitar to free up the singer [Levine], so he could be the star I perceived him to be".
Around this time, Levine had been working as a writer's assistant on the CBS television show Judging Amy, whose producer Barbara Hall was his family friend. While on the show, he would spend time writing songs about his ex-girlfriend Jane. These songs were put into Maroon 5's debut album Songs About Jane, which was released in June 2002. The album slowly gained airplay, and eventually became a sleeper hit, selling an estimated 10 million copies and becoming the tenth best-selling album of 2004, two years after its release. In 2005, Maroon 5 won their first Grammy Award, for Best New Artist. The next year, they won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for the second Songs About Jane single "This Love".
By 2006, the band started recording once again, and in May 2007, Maroon 5's second album It Won't Be Soon Before Long was released. Levine described the album as a "a vast improvement", explaining: "I think this record is a little more self-confident and powerful lyrically". To support the album, the band performed on a "six-date club tour" in which they visited small venues in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Miami, and New York City in early June 2007. The album and its lead, third and penultimate singles ("Makes Me Wonder", "Won't Go Home Without You" and "If I Never See Your Face Again", respectively) each received Grammy nominations, although only "Makes Me Wonder" secured a win.
After winding down from a world tour in support It Won't Be Soon Before Long, the band began recording in Switzerland in 2009, in collaboration with record producer and songwriter Robert John "Mutt" Lange. Levine said Lange "worked me harder than anyone ever has". In 2010, Maroon 5 released their third studio album, Hands All Over. The album did not initially meet expectations. In an interview with Los Angeles Times, Levine explained that the album suffered from being "all these disparate ideas and songs that didn't make any sense together". After the moderate success of the album's first three singles, the band released "Moves like Jagger" which Levine classified as "one of those songs that was definitely a risk; it's a bold statement". The single became a success worldwide; it was the ninth-best-selling digital single of 2011 with sales of 8.5 million copies and, as of 2012, the eighth-best-selling digital single of all time. Levine later credited the song with "totally reviving the band".
Since "Moves Like Jagger" was the first time Maroon 5 had collaborated with an outside writer, the band decided to attempt it again on their next album, entitled Overexposed. Its title is supposedly an allusion to Levine's public ubiquity. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he opined that is their most dance-driven album ever, commenting: "It's very much an old-fashioned disco tune. I have a love/hate relationship with it - but mostly I love it". The album and its lead single "Payphone" gave Maroon 5 their second Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance nominations. In support of Overexposed, the band conducted the Overexposed Tour from 2012–13 (with the European leg extending to 2014 due to scheduling conflicts), and also headlined the 12th Annual Honda Civic Tour, which included The Voice contestant Tony Lucca.
In 2007, Levine had stated that he believed Maroon 5 was reaching its peak and might make one more album before disbanding. He was quoted explaining: "Eventually I want to focus on being a completely different person because I don't know if I want to do this into my 40s and 50s and beyond". But in 2010, he dispelled any rumors of the band breaking up, saying:"I love what I do and think that, yes, it might be tiring and complicated at times [but] we don't have any plans on disbanding any time soon". He has also turned down the idea of having a solo career, stating that "there will never be a solo record. I would sooner have another band".
Levine has collaborated with several musical artists. In 2005, he was featured on the song "Live Again" by hip-hop duo Ying Yang Twins. The same year, he appeared on Kanye West's album Late Registration, on the third single, "Heard 'Em Say", a collaboration Levine called "very pure and very easy". The song was created during an airplane flight that he and West shared, and its refrain was later used for the Maroon 5 song "Nothing Lasts Forever" from It Won't Be Soon Before Long. He also appeared on Alicia Keys' third album Alicia Keys: MTV Unplugged, as part of the cover of The Rolling Stones song "Wild Horses". Around the same time, he featured on fellow Octone Records singer K'naan's single "Bang Bang". In 2009, he recorded "Gotten", a song for Slash's first solo album Slash (2010). In February 2010, he was among approximately 80 musicians who sang on the charity-single remake of "We Are the World", called "We Are the World 25 for Haiti". In 2011, he appeared on the Gym Class Heroes song, "Stereo Hearts". He also worked with hip-hop artist 50 Cent on his song "My Life", recording the vocals almost two years before it was released as a single in 2012, which included rapper Eminem. He is also featured as a singer for his band's song "She Will Be Loved" in the music rhythm game, Band Hero.
TV and media
Levine has made four notable comic appearances on television. During 2007, he appeared in the 33rd season premiere of Saturday Night Live in an SNL Digital Short called Iran So Far, performing with Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen and Jake Gyllenhaal. Levine played himself while singing a humorous bridge to a "love song" for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In 2008, he performed on Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars". He also had a cameo on Jimmy Kimmel Live! for the night of stars and endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election. In 2013, he hosted Saturday Night Live and featured alongside Kendrick Lamar on Lonely Island's digital short "YOLO", which parodies the acronym for You Only Live Once. His hosting was generally disliked by reviewers, who called it "mediocre" and "subpar".
Since its inception in 2011, Levine has served as a contestant judge/coach on the reality talent TV show, The Voice. The winner of the first season, Javier Colon, was on his team. In season 2, his team consisted of Mathai, Pip, Tony Lucca, Katrina Parker, Karla Davis, and Kim Yarbrough. In season 3, his team at the Top 12 level included Bryan Keith, Amanda Brown and Melanie Martinez. The latter two finished in the Top 6 of the season. Levine returned for season 4 of The Voice, in which his team consisted of Caroline Glaser, Judith Hill, Sarah Simmons and Amber Carrington, who made it to the Top 4. In Season 5, his team consisted of James Wolpert, Will Champlin and Tessanne Chin. The latter two made it to the finals, with Chin ultimately winning the title. The Voice has been credited with reviving Maroon 5's "faltering" career after the sub-par sales of Hands All Over as well as increasing Levine's popularity. According to polling firm E-Poll Market Research, awareness of Levine has nearly tripled since he joined the show. He has also been described as the "breakout" star of the series, with #TeamAdam and @AdamLevine scoring a respective 203,000 and 2.14 million Twitter mentions in the show's third season, higher than all the other coaches. In 2013, The Hollywood Reporter estimated that Levine was paid $10–12 million for each season of The Voice.
In 2012, Levine appeared as a recurring character in American Horror Story: Asylum, the second season of the anthology series. He plays Leo Morrison, a newly-wed photographer visiting modern-day Briarcliff Manor, an insane asylum, on honeymoon with wife. Teresa, played by Jenna Dewan-Tatum. The scenes were shot around his summer touring schedule. In an interview with E!, he said of his role: "It sounded like so much fun and that's why I wanted to do it ... this sounds, like, hysterical, funny, dark and cool and right up my alley". However, he admitted to not being a fan of the show nor horror genre in general, stating he didn't watch the episodes because "it's just so weird and disturbing".
In May 2013, Levine, along with manager Jordan Feldstein, entered a first-look deal with NBC to create scripted and alternative programming for the network to serve as series and specials. In August that year, NBC picked up a script for a semi-autobiographical single-camera sitcom, based on a younger Levine and his roommate, Korean-American writer Gene Hong, who will pen the pilot. The entry will be produced by Universal Television and 222 Productions, and was slated to go into production in late 2013.
In June 2012, Levine was cast in the musical romance-drama film Begin Again. The film, initially titled Can a Song Save Your Life?, was directed by John Carney and starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. In it, he plays Dave Kohl, Knightley's songwriting partner and former boyfriend of five years, who leaves her behind on finding success in the music industry. The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival to generally favorable reviews from critics.
In November 2013, Levine was named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, becoming the first singer and the second non-actor (after John F. Kennedy, Jr.) to claim the title. He was ranked #41 on Glamour's "Sexiest Men of 2012" list. In 2008, he appeared on People's "Single and Sexy Men" list. He was elected TV's Most Crushworthy Male Reality Host/Judge in a poll held by Zap2it. In April 2012, Shalom Life ranked him Number 7 on its list of "Top 50 Hottest Jewish men in the world". Levine stripped naked for testicular cancer awareness for a centerfold in Cosmopolitan UK's February 2011 issue.
Business ventures and endorsements
In October 2008, Levine collaborated with First Act to create the First Act 222 Guitar, which was fashioned to his specifications. The guitar was made available for purchase at Target retail stores. Two years later, he launched his own fashion line, entitled "222", at the Project Trade Show in Las Vegas. The collection is a minimalistic line of jeans, basic T-shirts and leather jackets, a style he described as "simple and pure and durable". The venture was organized in partnership with his father, Fred Levine (who operates a chain of specialty boutiques), and his cousin, Sami Cooper.
In June 2011, Levine took part in an educational campaign to raise awareness of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The project, titled "Own It", was created by Shire and organized in collaboration with the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). The project targets people who were previously diagnosed with the disorder, focusing on how it may continue into adulthood. Levine, who himself was diagnosed with it as a teenager, said, "This campaign is important to me because it can help young adults and adults realize that there's a chance they may still have ADHD if they had it as a kid". In connection to this, he wrote an article in ADDitude Magazine about his personal experience with it.
Levine founded his own record label, 222 Records, in February 2012. He stated that he was inspired to start the label to sign on Rozzi Crane, an USC music student he discovered through a mutual friend. She became the first singer signed on to the label, followed by Glee actor Matthew Morrison, Mexican artist Diego Boneta and The Voice contestant Tony Lucca. It was reported that he was negotiating further with potential distributors, as well as organizing staff, to operate as a full-fledged record company with departments such as marketing, radio and publicity.
In 2013, Levine collaborated with ID Perfumes to create his debut eponymous scent. The line was launched at the Premiere Fragrance Installation in Los Angeles in February 2013. The fragrance range, consisting of scents for both for men and women, is sold through Macy's department stores in microphone-shaped bottles. Speaking at its launch, Levine said: "The task was to make something that I would wear. So that was a process and we finally came to a great conclusion and it smells great" The fragrance garnered media attention for contradicting his tweet the previous year, in which he said that he wanted to "put an official ban on celebrity fragrances. Punishable by death from this point forward".
In 2013, it was announced that Levine would be entering a partnership with Sears Holdings to launch a multi-department lifestyle brand to develop apparel and accessories collections. The company, which owns Kmart and ShopYourWay, a shopping social platform, also included rapper Nicki Minaj in the same contract. The menswear collection was launched on October 1 that year and conducts business via 500 Kmart stores across the US, as well as online. In an official statement, Levine said: "Partnering with ShopYourWay to develop this line was an exciting opportunity for me and I am really looking forward to diving into the process of designing an apparel and accessory collection". In an interview with People, he commented further, "it was cool that they really promoted creative control. I like to be involved with process rather than just phoning it in".
Levine's interest in music started at around ten years of age, when he first started playing the guitar. He found music an outlet for feelings, stating: "I picked up a guitar and that was it. I fell so madly in love with it, it's all I did". He performed his first professional jig at The Troubadour when he was twelve, but was so nervous he played with his back to the audience. Throughout his childhood, he had been influenced by the diverse groups like the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, The Who, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana, and, in high school, by Bob Marley, Bill Withers, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. He also incorporated elements of The Police and Prince into his music. In an interview with Billboard, he explained the diversity of his influences: "I love every single kind of music ... even the most saccharine, sugary pop song can be the greatest thing ever. But so can a 25-minute crazy avant-garde fusion gnarly Herbie Hancock jam from the '70s".
Levine remembers that listening to "Are You That Somebody?" by Aaliyah convinced him to pursue a more soulful sound than that of his then-band Kara's Flowers. His move to New York introduced him to a new music scene that involved hip-hop, R&B, gospel and soul music. He took to changing his musical style, extensively emulating Stevie Wonder. Subsequently, Songs About Jane was released, deemed "bluesy funk" and similar to Busted's music. Critics also drew comparisons between Levine and Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay. Maroon 5 worked without any prominent outside collaborators until 2010's "Moves Like Jagger", the band's most successful single as of 2014, which symbolized a shift in their music.
While earlier work was deemed "vaguely funky white-soul" and "rock", recent ones have been judged to have a more reggae, anthemic pop sound, evoking comparisons to Coldplay. Levine refuses to fit his music into a genre, saying: "There's so much variety in music, it's silly to belong to a specific club and try to sound a certain way". He considers himself an orthodox lyricist sticking to conventional themes, acknowledging: "Romance, love, the lack thereof are still very big themes. I haven't figured out a way to use everything yet. As a songwriter, I'm still limited to that one thing." He also claims he does not like mincing words, stating in a Rolling Stone interview: "I was so sick of typical lyrics like 'Ooh, baby' and 'I love you' and all this vague shit. I thought the more explicit I got without being totally explicit was a nice approach".
Levine has a tenor/countertenor vocal range and has been noted for his falsettos. Salon wrote: "When he’s crooning come-ons, his voice lends the music a satisfying lewdness, a sense of sticky physicality that gives his snaky hooks a pheromonal urgency." In a review of It Won't Be Soon Before Long, Entertainment Weekly described his vocals as "smug, R&B-slick deadpan ... there's a twisted logic to his dispassionate delivery". In another review, Allmusic noted that "he knows that he's a pop guy, somewhat in the tradition of Hall & Oates, but he isn't trying to be retro, he's ... making records that are melodic, stylish, and soulful". In a review of the 2013 Honda Civic Tour, The Boston Globe also commented positively on his on-stage presence, which "exude[s] a sense of up-for-anything playfulness ... combined with a rock solid work ethic and a clear love for their audiences and performing".
Levine's popularity outside of his musical work has seen him tagged as a "stand-alone star", which critics say have pushed other members of Maroon 5 to the backseat, even in their music. Their guitarist Valentine noted that his vocals were a central aspect around which their music revolved. Conversely, others opine that Levine's fame has been a boost to the band, with Paper writing: "Maroon 5 has managed to ebb and flow with the times ... thanks in no small part to their frontman's uncanny ability to be extremely entertaining". Details noted that his public persona fit the "rockstar" image, commenting: "If you still believe in rock stars, Levine fits that bill as well as anyone these days. For traditionalists, there's the ink, the car, the motorcycle collection, the house in the Hollywood Hills, and, until recently, the Victoria's Secret supermodel girlfriend [ex Anne V]". Delta Sky described him as "a natural, if slightly neurotic, leading man". He claims that the image was consciously cultivated, explaining: "We talked about it a long time ago and decided I would step out, for us, not for me or my own ego ... We wanted there to be a frontman".
In early 2010, Levine met Russian Sports Illustrated swimsuit and Victoria's Secret model Anne Vyalitsyna while performing at the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue release party in Las Vegas, who he later started dating. After two years together, in April 2012, Levine and Vyalitsyna announced that they had split. The following month Levine began dating Namibian Victoria's Secret model Behati Prinsloo. They broke up in March 2013, but later reconciled and subsequently became engaged in July that year.
Levine, whose brother openly identifies as gay, is an outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. In 2011, he made a video on Maroon 5's official YouTube account in support of the It Gets Better Project. In January 2012, he announced that Maroon 5 had changed the location of their post-Grammy Awards show because of the "unnamed Los Angeles restaurant's backing of Proposition 8".
In 2013, Levine was mentioned in a hostile work environment lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by an unnamed security guard who claimed that Universal Music Publishing Group's Santa Monica location were "infiltrated with pervasive drug use where you could smell marijuana seeping from various offices and openly used in common areas, and lounges". The guard claimed that when she complained about the cannabis smoke coming from one of the studios, she was told that "it's Adam Levine ... if he wants to come to the lobby and do a line of cocaine on the floor, it's OK". In an official statement to The Hollywood Reporter, UMPG described the allegations as "absurd".
Singles as a featured artist
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|"Heard 'Em Say"
(Kanye West featuring Adam Levine)
|"Say It Again"
(Natasha Bedingfield featuring Adam Levine)
|2007||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||N.B. and Pocketful of Sunshine|
(K'naan featuring Adam Levine)
(Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine)
|2011||4||4||7||—||4||8||3||3||The Papercut Chronicles II|
|"Man in the Mirror"
(with Javier Colon)
(with Tony Lucca)
(50 Cent featuring Eminem and Adam Levine)
||Street King Immortal|
(The Lonely Island featuring Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar)
|2013||60||31||26||—||—||—||26||77||The Wack Album|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or receive certification.|
|"Live Again"||2005||U.nited S.tate of A.tlanta||Ying Yang Twins|
|"Wild Horses"||Unplugged||Alicia Keys|
|"Stand Up"||2011||Come Through for You||Javier Colon|
|"Heavy"||2013||New Orleans||PJ Morton|
|1997||Beverly Hills, 90210||Musical guest||Episode: "Forgive and Forget"|
|2009||30 Rock||Musical Guest||Episode: "Kidney Now"|
|2010||When I Was 17||Himself||Episode 8|
|2011–pres.||The Voice||Judge||Nominated-Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Personality
Nominated-People's Choice Award for Favorite Celebrity Judge
|2011–2013||Saturday Night Live||Musical guest / host||Episodes: "Charlie Day/Maroon 5", "Jeremy Renner/Maroon 5", "Adam Levine/Kendrick Lamar"|
|2012–2013||American Horror Story: Asylum||Leo Morrison||Recurring role; 4 episodes|
|2013||Begin Again (formerly called Can A Song Save Your Life?)||Dave Kohl||Film|
|Family Guy||Himself||Episode: "Quagmire's Quagmire"|
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Adam Levine|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Adam Levine.|
- (English)Official website
- (English)Adam Levine on Twitter
- (English)Adam Levine on Sina Weibo
- Adam Levine at the Internet Movie Database