Adam Levine on Why Music Is Important in the Age of Coronavirus

Maroon 5 frontman also discusses how leaving “The Voice” made him a better singer

March 31, 2020

Adam Levine woke up well before dawn on Tuesday morning to join the Stern Show live from the West Coast while he and his family continue to self-quarantine at home. Rocking a bathrobe and a freshly shaved head, the Maroon 5 frontman opened up about how leaving “The Voice” helped him improve as a vocalist and then dazzled Howard and co-host Robin Quivers with a low-fi rendition of an iconic Peter Gabriel tune. He also discussed how he’s been dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and shared a message of hope with Stern Show listeners all across the globe.

“I don’t want people to think it’s the end of the world. I really don’t. I don’t think that it is and a lot of very, very smart people who are much smarter than I am also believe that. So, we’ve got to hold on to hope and we gotta help each other get through this and stay safe,” Adam told Howard on Tuesday morning.

While he didn’t know how long it might take for the world to battle back from COVID-19, he does see light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, he seemed optimistic civilization will emerge more united than ever before. “We’ve never been more connected in a lot of ways because the whole planet is dealing with it, right?” Adam said at one point.

Maroon 5, like so many other acts, was recently force to cancel a world tour due to coronavirus-related safety concerns. Considering how much production value goes into tours for bands of their caliber, Howard wondered if pulling the plug ultimately cost the band a lot of money.

Adam said he believes they did lose some money, but he’s far more concerned with all the crew members employed by the tour who have now lost their jobs. “It sucks, man,” he said. “It’s like this is a wild, unprecedented, insane, totally fucking crazy, fucked up thing that’s happening. We’re still wrapping our head around it,” he said.

Maroon 5 has pressed pause on its tour, but the band is going full speed ahead with their next album. “Obviously, the best thing for a cooped up musician to do is to make music,” Adam said, explaining the band already completed 5 or 6 tracks before going into quarantine.

Howard asked Adam if he would write a song influenced by COVID-19.

“Probably not,” he responded. “I think that would be a very strange, very rock and roll thing to do, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to work that framework into a Maroon 5 single. That would be an extreme feat. If I could accomplish that I’d be over the moon.”

Another reason Adam enjoys making music at home is that it often results in quality time with his wife, Behati Prinsloo. “I love to just sit and play with her, you know, just play music for her,” he told Howard.

“There’s nothing more important in the world, especially right now—other than the necessities in life, you know, that we need to survive,” he continued. “Music, to me, is something you can consume when you’re not having to be out in the world, so it’s that much more sacred.”

While on the subject of his wife, Howard said he’d recently heard a rumor Behati was pregnant with their third child.

“No, she’s not currently pregnant,” Adam said. “I think if I asked her to have another baby right now she’d punch me in the fucking face.”

As Stern Show fans no doubt remember, Adam teamed up with Train to perform a memorable rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain” at Howard’s 2014 Birthday Bash. The entertainer said he’s been working on other covers while self-quarantining, including versions of what he believes are the two greatest songs ever written: the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” and Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” Howard was enthralled by the prospect of Adam performing these love ballads at home for Behati, so he asked his guest to do a little roleplaying on Tuesday morning and put on a concert for the Stern Show as if he were performing for his wife.

Adam picked up his Fender Stratocaster and happily obliged. First, he played what he thinks is the “coolest” guitar riff of all-time for Howard and had him guess the song. To Adam’s delight, the King of All Media correctly identified it as the lick from Pink Floyd’s iconic anthem “Another Brick in the Wall.” Later, he delivered a live cover of “In Your Eyes”—a song which Adam said “possesses a quality which just makes me want to cry.”

While he hit all the right notes on Tuesday morning, Adam told Howard he’d actually struggled as a vocalist in recent years because of the long hours he spent coaching on NBC’s hit reality show “The Voice.” It was the first time in his career that singing had given him any problems.

“I was working a lot, so I was not able to focus on singing the right way,” he explained. “I kind of took that for granted, I think, and once I started performing more often I just started not being able to do it like I used to be.”

“It used to be effortless,” Adam continued. “I was the guy that never warmed up my voice or never thought much about it. I just went out there and everything was alright—for years.”

Mercifully for Maroon 5 fans, Adam got back into a groove after saying goodbye to television. “I really settled into being a musician and a guy in a band again,” he told Howard. “That was it. I was like, ‘This is my job, this is my thing, I don’t care about anything else, I’m all in.’ And so I was able to focus on it for the first time, exclusively, in so long. I was just … firing on all cylinders, you know?”

While Adam still keeps in touch with former co-stars like Blake Shelton and Carson Daly, he doesn’t make a habit out of tuning into the show. In fact, he rarely watched the show back when he was on it. Despite being a competitive person, Adam told Howard he absolutely hopes “The Voice” succeeds in his absence. “I don’t wish failure for a show that doesn’t have me on it, I wish a show success,” he said. “I don’t want the show to go downhill.”

Adam’s voice is again doing everything he wants it to do, but his vocal coach believes he’d be capable of even more … if he’d go under the knife to fix his deviated septum.

But the singer assured Howard rhinoplasty is not in his future. “I don’t want to fuck with my voice. I don’t fuck with my nose. I like my nose. My nose is my favorite, my favorite feature. I love it,” Levine said.