Go now to Adam Levine
Frontman of US pop-rock group Maroon 5, Adam Levine pens and performs song for coming-of-age movie Sing Street
The man who walks in for our interview at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills could be a Hollywood executive - clean-shaven, short hair, thousand-dollar suit.
And then out comes the smug grin and there's rock star Adam Levine in the flesh.
The tattoos are covered up, but the star power is intact.
This is no studio suit.
Yet, he's all dressed up to talk about Sing Street, a little Irish movie to which the 37-year-old frontman of US pop-rock group Maroon 5 contributed the track Go Now, one he sang and co-wrote with writer-director-producer John Carney.
It's Levine's second collaboration with Carney after the latter's Begin Again (2013), in which Levine acted alongside Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo.
Opening here tomorrow, Sing Street is a charming musical comedy-drama about a teenager (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) in the 1980s who is so lovestruck by a girl (Lucy Boynton), he asks her to sing in his non-existent band, then has to scramble to put one together.
Did Sing Street's story of starting a band to impress a girl resonate with you?
Same exact thing (laughs). The movie, really honest to God, just struck a chord with me because it really was like putting an Irish mirror to my childhood.
Because these kids dressing like their heroes and writing the songs to get the girls, like that's what we did when we were young.
It's some sort of inspiration, whether it's a girl you like or whether you don't really fit in anywhere and you want to find a community.
When you're in high school and weird-looking and going through puberty, it's a place you feel like you belong. It's kind of empowering to be in a band. John knows what that's like as well, so he painted that picture really perfectly.
BOY BAND? Ferdia Walsh-Peelo as Conor (in dark coat) and Mark McKenna as Eamon (in blue suit) in Sing Street. PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION
How did Go Now come about?
The song had been written but it was rough - it hadn't been finished and he wanted me to see the movie. I fell in love with the movie and so I was like "Wow, I would love to be involved". He said "Well, why don't you help me finish the song?"
I did very little writing on the song. The lion's share was done beforehand. When I listen to a song and I feel like there's something to add, I'll add to it, and if there's not, I won't.
I didn't touch the songs that were written for Begin Again because they were so finished and they were so perfect, but this one I felt like, "Okay, I can add to this", so I put my little fairy dust on it.
Maroon 5 were discovered at a beach party in Malibu, right?
Oh, yeah. We were probably 17. We had just made our first demo and we were in high school and this guy, (producer) Tommy Allen, was jogging on the beach with his dog and he heard our band playing and it was one of those (scenes) like out of a movie, like "What's that sound I hear?" He got our information and we got him the demo and that was the beginning.
You also performed at the famous club Troubadour in Los Angeles when you were very young.
Wow. Like memory lane right now. Yeah, I was in a band called Blurred Vision. Troubadour do these open mic nights every once in a while and I was 12. I got to sing one song and I wasn't the singer, I was a guitar player. I got to sing Rockin' Robin. It was the last thing they did and I thought I was pretty good. They didn't, because I got kicked out. And I got kicked out of the band like a week later (laughs).
Strangely enough, it was the night that the riots in LA broke out. My mother has vivid stories of driving to the place in West Hollywood to see us play and people were kind of shaking, rocking her car and (everything) was kind of heating up and exploding at that time and it kind of freaked her out. It was a scary day. It was the greatest day of my young life and one of the worst days in LA's history.
ROCK STAR:Adam Levine (above) at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association press conference for Sing Street. PHOTO: HFPA
How did you overcome your well-documented shyness and stage fright as a kid?
Probably by just getting through the evil puberty stage. That was enough for me to be happy forever because I hated it so much... My back wasn't turned (to the audience), it was more like I was slightly faced inward (laughs).
Did you have a music mentor?
I had a music teacher in sixth grade I always talk about. He passed away many years ago. He was the most animated, soulful, amazing guy. He was the first guy who told me I could sing. I was probably like nine or 10 and I told him that was lame because I wanted to be a basketball player and if he ever told anybody I'd be really embarrassed because I didn't want to be good at singing because it was stupid in my mind, you know. I wish he was still around. I miss him.
Tell us a bit about your writing process.
I write songs in the shower, when I can't sleep, when I don't want to be writing songs. I'll never sit down to write a song because if I do, it'll be horrible. I get myself into trouble because if I book a recording session to write music with somebody and it's coming up to that point and I have got nothing, I just don't go. I just need to be thinking about anything other than music and it'll happen.
You have some outspoken opinions on record labels.
Well, they are done. They're finished because it's just karma. Record labels have treated people unfairly since the beginning. They're corrupt, they've been corrupt, they've done a bunch of awful things. They've ****ed over artists, you know. They're bad news.
Record labels have to release our records so I can say anything I want. They have no choice because we're one of the only bands that they have that's going to be able to do anything for them.
Sorry guys, you know we don't like you but we have to deal with you (laughs).