Adam Noah Levine (born March 18, 1979) is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor. He is the lead vocalist for the Los Angeles pop rock band Maroon 5.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Levine began his musical career in 1994, when he co-founded the alternative rock band Kara’s Flowers, of which he was the lead vocalist and guitarist. The band split up after their only album, The Fourth World (released in 1997), which did not gain popularity. In 2001, the group was reformed – with guitarist James Valentine joining the line-up – and began a new, musical chapter, changing their name to Maroon 5. In 2002, the band released their first album, Songs About Jane, which went multi-platinum in the US. Since then, they have released four more albums, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long (2007), Hands All Over (2010), Overexposed (2012) and V (2014). As part of Maroon 5, Levine 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 starred 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.
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 prescription 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 an interview with 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 Mickey Madden, Jesse Carmichael, 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 an 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, in Dix Hills, Long Island, New York, where he and Jesse Carmichael spent a semester, they reunited with Mickey Madden and Ryan 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, 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”.
In early 2010, while performing at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue release party in Las Vegas, Levine met Russian Sports Illustrated swimsuit and Victoria’s Secret model Anne Vyalitsyna, whom 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. The couple were married on July 19, 2014 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Levine, whose brother openly identifies as being 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 was “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 an 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)
||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|
(PJ Morton featuring Adam Levine)
(R. City featuring Adam Levine)
||What Dreams Are Made Of|
|“—” 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|
|“Lost Stars”||2014||Begin Again (soundtrack)||N/A|
|“No One Else Like You”|
|“A Higher Place”|
|“Lost Stars (Into the Night Mix)”|
|1997||Beverly Hills, 90210||Himself||Episode: “Forgive and Forget”|
|2005–2014||Saturday Night Live||Himself (musical guest / host)||7 episodes|
|2005||Email!||Computer (voice)||Short film|
|2009||30 Rock||Himself||Episode: “Kidney Now!”|
|2009||Band Hero||Himself (voice)||Video game|
|2011–present||The Voice||Himself (judge)||Teen Choice Award for Choice Reality Personality: Male (2014)
Nominated—People’s Choice Award for Favorite Celebrity Judge (2013)
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Personality (2011)
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Personality: Male (2013)
Nominated—Young Hollywood Award for Best Bromance (2014)
|2012||American Horror Story: Asylum||Leo Morrison||5 episodes|
|2013||Begin Again||Dave Kohl||Film|
|2013||Family Guy||Himself (voice)||Episode: “Quagmire’s Quagmire”|
|2015||Pitch Perfect 2||Himself||Cameo appearance|