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From Johnny Rockets to The Grammys: The Voice Coach Adam Levine's Career

The Maroon 5 frontman and one of the O.G. Coaches of The Voice had a meteoric rise over the last 25 years.

By Caitlin Schunn & Jessica White

No one can deny the star power of Adam Levine

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Levine might be one of the most famous singers in the world now, but the Maroon 5 frontman had a bumpy start to his music career. He ultimately became one of the most prominent names in the music industry, which led him to a job as one of the OG Coaches on The Voice. Levine was a red chair sensation for several seasons and a cherished Coach to many talented Artists whom he helped soar throughout the NBC competition. 

Look back at Levine's incredible music career that led him to The Voice and beyond. 

Adam Levine's Early Career: Maroon 5's Rocky Launch as Kara Flowers

Mickey Madden, James Valentine, and Adam Levine play guitars in a recording studio.

Adam Levine was born on March 18, 1979, in Los Angeles. He formed his first band, Kara’s Flowers (later known as Maroon 5), while he was a student at the Brentwood School. The band was named after Kara — a girl whom the bandmates were all crushing on, according to E! Online

Levine and the band got their first break after a producer from Reprise Records overheard his band performing at a house party and decided to sign the band. Sadly, that success was short-lived.

RELATED: Adam Levine's Kids: Inside His Beautiful Family Life with Behati Prinsloo

“Technically my first job was a musician because I got signed to a record label at a young age, so I did get paid for that,” Levine told People. “But then I got a job at Johnny Rockets when that record deal didn’t work out, and then I got a job as a [production assistant] on a TV show, actually.”

In 1997, the same year he graduated from high school, Levine and his band appeared on an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 and released an album titled Fourth World. But after the album failed to sell, the record label dropped the band.

Levine attended Five Towns College in New York for a while before returning to Los Angeles in 2000 to get the band back together.

Maroon 5's First Album, Songs About Jane

In 2001, Kara’s Flowers added guitarist James Valentine as its fifth member and changed the band name to Maroon 5. They eventually signed with Octone Records and released their debut album, Songs About Jane, in 2002.

The lyrics and song titles were inspired by Levine's his ex-girlfriend, Jane.

“I saw this girl [Jane] at the gas station, and I fell in love with her,” he told Rolling Stone. “I wrote a song about her and played it in the store where she worked. It was an awful song, but she found out about this relatively psychotic boy. She was my muse for years.”

The timeless tracks "She Will Be Loved," “Harder To Breathe,” and “This Love” increased the band’s popularity, and Songs About Jane broke through to the Billboard Hot 200. That same year, Maroon 5 won the Grammy for Best New Artist.

Maroon 5's Album It Won't Be Soon Before Long

Levine and Maroon 5's success continued to pick up steam with the release of their sophomore album, 2007's It Won't Be Soon Before Long.

RELATED: Adam Levine Opens Up About His Family of 5: They "Mean More Than My Career" 

Its single, “Makes Me Wonder,” won a 2007 Grammy for Best Pop Performance, jetting the band into further superstardom. The album's release marked the band's embrace of pop influences to complement their alternative rock sound.

Hands All Over and Maroon 5's Smash Hit "Moves Like Jagger"

Maroon 5 had already produced several platinum-level tracks by the time their third studio album, Hands All Over, arrived in 2010, but the album only further elevated them into the limelight. The record, boasting its lead single "Misery," features a tour-de-force of musical collaborations, notably with Lady Antebellum and Levine's now-fellow The Voice alum, Christina Aguilera.

Maroon 5 re-released the album to include 2011's supernova single "Moves Like Jagger," featuring a feature from Aguilera. The track was a celebrated success, with Maroon 5 even performing the song on Season 37 of Saturday Night Live and during the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The track dominated the Billboard Hot 100 after its release, hanging out at No. 1 for four weeks straight.

Maroon 5's Fourth Album Overexposed

In 2012, Maroon 5 released their fourth studio album, Overexposed. The album features several beloved singles, including "One More Night," "Daylight," and "Love Somebody."

RELATED: Adam Levine Hit a Seriously Impressive High Note Singing Prince's "Purple Rain"

The album's most celebrated single was a collaboration with rapper Wiz Khalifa for the melancholy bop "Payphone," boasting Levine's trademark falsetto and a timelessly catchy refrain.

Maroon 5's V

Two years following Overexposed, Maroon 5 kept the ball rolling with their 2014 album, V. Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the album features many songs that still rock the radio waves, such as its lead single "Maps," "Sugar," and the track "Animals."

In 2015, Maroon 5 released a deluxe edition of V, boasting the tracks "This Summer's Gonna Hurt like a Motherf-cker" and "Feelings."

Maroon 5's Red Pill Blues and "Girls Like You"

Maroon 5 graced fans with new music in 2017 with the release of their sixth studio album, Red Pill Blues. The album and its deluxe reissue continued Maroon 5's love for collaborating with other industry titans, featuring verses from SZA, A$AP Rocky, Julia Michaels, Future, and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few.

As the only album to feature seven members, Red Pill Blues marks the introduction of multi-instrumentalist Sam Farrar and the final appearance of bassist Mickey Madden before his 2020 departure from the band.

Several Red Pill Blues tracks would go on to be hits, notably "Girls Like You," which was re-recorded in 2018 to include a verse from rapper Cardi B. Maroon 5 and Cardi B's collab was a chart-climber, staking claim to Billboard Hot 100's No. 1 spot for seven weeks upon release.

Maroon 5's Seventh Album Jordi

Maroon 5's most recent studio release to date was their 2021 album, Jordi. Like their platinum-selling albums before it, Jordi boasts a versatile lineup of features from the likes of Blackbear, Megan Thee Stallion, Stevie Nicks, and H.E.R., to name a few.

RELATED: Adam Levine Impresses with an Effortless 3-Point Shot: See the Viral Video

The album's name and the lead single "Memories" were inspired by the 2017 passing of Maroon 5's longtime manager, Jordan Feldstein. The album also features collaborations with the late rappers Nipsey Hussle and Juice Wrld.

Adam Levine's Acting Credits: 90210 to Pitch Perfect 2 

Adam Levine and other artists on 30 Rock Episode 322

Besides his appearance on 90210 as a teen and a brief cameo alongside Maroon 5 in a 2008 episode of CSI: NY, Levine made his acting debut in 2009 when he appeared as himself in the Season 3 finale of NBC's 30 Rock. Levine also had a memorable role as Leo Morrison in a three-episode arc in Season 2 of American Horror Story in 2012. 

Related: Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Shakira & Usher Came Together for an Epic Beatles Cover

Levine's on-screen debut was followed by guest appearances as himself in several iconic series, such as Family Guy (2013), Broad City (2016), and the 2018 reality series Sugar. In 2022, he appeared in the animated comedy Big Mouth as Bros 4 Life Member #2.

Levine has also appeared in several comedy films as himself, including 2015's Pitch Perfect 2 and Klown Forever as well as 2016's Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. One of Levine's first film credits was his role as Dave Kohl in the 2013 musical comedy Begin Again. In 2017, Levine scored two fun-filled film roles: Fun Mom Dinner as Luke and The Clapper as Ralph Ranter.

Adam Levine's Tenure as a Coach on The Voice

The Voice Coaches Adam Levine

Levin's most established television tenure came when he joined the original panel of Coaches for The Voice's 2011 debut. Levine hopped into the red chair alongside fellow O.G. Coaches Blake SheltonCee Lo Green, and Aguilera.

Levine stuck with the show for 16 seasons before leaving in 2019. He won three times as a Coach: in the inaugural season with Javier Colon; in Season 5 with Tessanne Chin; and in Season 9 with Jordan Smith.

RELATED: Hear Adam Levine Nail the High Note Singing Aerosmith's "Dream On" with Blake Shelton

Levine and Shelton, although two very different musicians, developed a cherished friendship as they hilariously bantered with each other for years, to the delight of The Voice audiences.

The unlikely friends reunited for one last time on The Voice during the Season 23 finale. Maroon 5 performed their single, “Middle Ground,” for Shelton's final episode as a Coach, which also featured heartwarming send-offs from former The Voice Coaches Miley Cyrus, Usher, Pharrell, John Legend, Nick Jonas, Camila Cabello, and Jennifer Hudson.

Adam Levine and Maroon 5's Super Bowl Halftime Show

It takes incredible talent and an esteemed discography to receive the honor of headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show but, true to their prolific career, Levine and Maroon 5 achieved the jaw-dropping milestone in 2019.

Maroon 5 delivered a powerhouse performance during the Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show, joined by special guests Big Boi and Travis Scott, taking fans on a sonic journey through their greatest hits.

Adam Levine and Maroon 5's Las Vegas Residency

Maroon 5 poses with their Grammys at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.

Levine and the Grammy-winning Maroon 5 crossed off yet another massive milestone in 2023 after they took their talent to the Las Vegas Strip for Maroon 5: The Las Vegas ResidencyThe residency began in March 2023 and is currently scheduled to end in October 2024, having been  extended to accommodate a 16-show run after an explosive reception. (Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.)

"[Maroon 5 has] gotten to the point where we've almost just done it all," Levine told People in March 2023. "We've been doing it for this crazy long amount of time, and so we thought [a Vegas residency] was the logical next step because it was something that we had never embarked upon."

Adam Levine's Awards and Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

Adam Levine poses with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

With decades of hits within Maroon 5's arsenal, it's no wonder Levine has led a gilded career with several awards and accolades. Alongside Maroon 5, Levine has received 13 Grammy nominations, taking home three trophies since their Songs About Jane rise to fame. Maroon 5 is also the proud winner of eight Billboard Music Awards, three American Music Awards, five Teen Choice Awards, and three People's Choice Awards. 

In 2013, Levine was crowned People's Sexiest Man Alive. The following year, Levine took home a Teen Choice Award for Male TV Personality for his red chair reign on The Voice. 

In February 2017, Levine was honored for his outstanding achievements within the music industry with the 2,601st star on the mythic Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Originally published May 22, 2023.