Women aren’t the only ones allowed to change their minds. Rock stars are, too.
This story first appeared in the March 23, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Adam Levine, who has in the past been an unusually outspoken detractor of celebrity fragrances, tweeted the following on March 5, 2011: “I also would like to put an official ban on celebrity fragrances. Punishable by death from this point forward.”
On March 7 of this year, as reported, he did an about-face by announcing that he planned to do a fragrance masterbrand called 222 by Adam Levine, due out in May 2013 — and fellow celebrity fragrance creator and “The Voice” cohort Christina Aguilera quickly ribbed him with the following tweet: “Haha @AdamLevine. What a difference a year makes.…Welcome to the celebrity fragrance family!”
Singer-songwriter and Maroon 5 front man Levine, who celebrated his 33rd birthday March 18, takes the teasing in stride: after all, he opines, many celebrity offerings have been, in his words, “lame.”
“I’m not going to lie, I cringed the first time I heard about [the offer of doing my own fragrances],” he said in a recent phone interview with WWD. “All I have to compare having a fragrance to are all of the other fragrances. But at the end of the day, I thought that it was a cop-out to say, ‘Oh, that’s lame. I don’t want to do that.’ I love fashion; there are a lot of things I’d like to express creatively in the world. I like to think that I have decent taste, so why not try it and do a good version? Just to say no and not to try to elevate this is a cop-out.
“I’ve seen cool, sexy, inspiring things in fragrances,” he continued, mentioning Dior Homme as a favorite. “If I’m emulating those things, then I love it. If I’m not putting any effort into it, if I’m cashing in and just letting it go and having nothing to do with the creative process, I’m not interested.” Levine’s fragrance licensee, ID Perfumes, is headed by Ilia Lekach, who has had extensive experience in celebrity fragrances, and whose current company also holds Selena Gomez’s scent license.
And, of course, there are the financial benefits. “People do this to make money, I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “Obviously, there’s a financial part to this as well. But there are other things that come into play, too, and I’m not just going to sign off on something if I don’t love it. I want to tailor it to me as much as humanly possible.” Levine loves “architectural, very basic craftsmanship — simple and elegant. This will reflect that, absolutely.”
While most celebrities launch with one scent, Levine decided to do two, one for men and one for women — mostly, he said, because although he embraced the idea of unisex, it didn’t quite work in practical application. “The occasional anomaly aside, men and women are too different,” he said. “So we’re going with men’s and women’s scents.” Jokingly, he promised, “They’ll be the scents of greatness.” The men’s and women’s scents are expected to be sold in department and specialty store doors in the U.S., as well as duty free. Eventually, they could expand to Canada, Mexico, South America, the U.K., Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East, where ID Perfumes distributes. While ID Perfumes isn’t discussing juice details yet, the eau de parfum will be sold in 1-oz., 1.7-oz. and 3.4-oz. sizes, for $36, $45 and $65, respectively.
Could the stylish singer turn to fashion next? Levine doesn’t rule out doing an apparel line one day, but it’s not on the front burner. “I don’t really feel the need to do a clothing line as long as Tom Ford exists, because I can just wear his clothes,” Levine quipped. Turning serious, he said, “I don’t want to spread myself too thin — I’m already in danger of that. I’m trying to just focus on the things I can really do my best. You start multitasking too much, and the quality of what you’re doing starts to diminish.”
Among Levine’s current projects: a new album; NBC’s “The Voice” and, of course, the fragrances — and he is also reportedly developing a second TV series for NBC that involves karaoke. He is also said to be in final negotiations to star in the second season of FX’s “American Horror Story.” Overcommitted? Probably, but “having a somewhat casual attitude about doing it [all] has probably made me capable of doing it,” he said. “I’m doing these things because I’m enjoying them, and I’m pushing myself harder and harder to really go the distance with everything,” Levine added. “I guess, at this point, I’m incapable of not trying my best.”
He calls “The Voice,” on which he is a vocal coach for what is NBC’s version of “American Idol,” “a blast.”
“This show has inspired me in amazing ways I never thought possible,” said Levine. “It has given the band sort of a second life that we never really saw coming. I live a very charmed life that I don’t ever take for granted. I wake up in the morning and feel like the luckiest man in the world. I’m a confident person — but I still think, confidence aside, [success] has a lot to do with timing, making the right decisions and being lucky. All I know is, it’s a lot of fun. If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon these types of things, to not embrace them with open arms is a waste.”
Although Levine has released a few tweets regarding Maroon 5’s upcoming album — chief among them that the album will be “very self-aware” — he remains fairly mum on the release, tentatively slated for a summer launch. “You spend a lot of time playing in a band together with all these guys, and we thought, Let’s really go for it. Every record is a chance to outdo yourself.”
And that, he said, is at the heart of everything: “I’m in a band. All these wonderful things on the periphery are fine, but I want to be in a band. I want to go on tour. That’s what I do. I can forget that sometimes.”