Magazine article The New Yorker

Electric Man

Magazine article The New Yorker

Electric Man

Article excerpt

ELECTRIC MAN

Adam Levine rolled into the Electric Lady recording studio on a tide of smooth. When one of his waiting handlers asked, "Do you remember me?," he cooed, "How could I forget?" When another inquired, "You need anything?," he purred, "Just your love." Then, having proved People's theorem that he's the sexiest man in the world, he kicked back onto a black leather sofa.

At thirty-five, the spiky-haired Maroon 5 frontman has conquered nearly every province of celebrity. He explained, "Before the show"--his ongoing turn coaching aspirant singers on NBC's "The Voice"--"people who didn't know me thought I was a bimbo, that all I could do was sing and date models. Now they actually know me, so when they say, 'You're an asshole!,' I'm, like, 'O.K., cool!' " He's gone on to extend his brand with a clothing line--"oversized grandpa sweaters that are awesome"--and a cologne: "I actually hate cologne, so I wanted to make a cologne people who hate cologne would like. It's citrusy--it smells almost like Lemon Pledge."Adam Levine

He also has his first film role, in "Begin Again," a new feature about the New York music world set, in part, at Electric Lady, a heavily mirrored spliff of the seventies on West Eighth Street. Levine stands out as Dave Kohl, a rising rock star who cheats on his girlfriend, Gretta (Keira Knightley), lets the record company tart up his sound, and hides behind a self-pitying beard. A douche, in short. "Dave's discomfort with himself is like the way I used to change my facial hair and look when the success was first happening," Levine said. "When he grows the beard, you want to fucking punch him." He added, "It's so overwhelming when people suddenly offer you whatever you want--drugs, women, money. I had a friggin' blast, but if I hadn't been able to curb my tendencies we know how that record goes. People die." He made Dave redeemable, he said, by having him be "very polite to Gretta, very apologetic. In real life, I'm unapologetic. I am a confident person--I don't think that's a crime. It'd be arrogant to believe you're actually the sexiest man alive, but I do think my comfort with myself can come off as--dare I fucking say this?--sexy."

He lay back, his "Highway to Hell" T-shirt facing Heaven, and said, "I just wish somebody would believe I could play a non-musician. …

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