Adam Levine says he definitely didn’t take the decision to perform at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show lightly.
ET’s Kevin Frazier exclusively sat down with the 39-year-old singer on Thursday in Atlanta for the singer’s only interview before the big game, where he addressed Maroon 5’s decision to headline the halftime show in light of the current controversy surrounding how the NFL has handled Colin Kaepernick and other players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
“No one thought about it more than I did,” he says. “No one put more thought and love into this than I did. … I spoke to many people, most importantly though, I silenced all the noise and listened to myself, and made my decision about how I felt.”
He adds he “absolutely 100 percent” took a hard look inside of himself.
“I will never sit here and deny that,” he says. “I think that to have not done that would have been deeply irresponsible.”
And for those who feel like their voices aren’t being heard, Levine has a reassuring message.
“They will be [heard] — that’s all I want to say because I don’t want to spoil anything,” he shares. “And once again, I like to think that people know where I stand as a human being after two decades doing this. I’m not a speaker. I’m not a public speaker. I do speak, but it’s through the music. My life’s work and what I put out into the universe has been positive and hopefully inspiring … So, what I would say is, you know, we are going to do what we keep on doing, hopefully without becoming politicians and continuing to use the one voice we know how to use properly.”
“To make people understand, we got you,” he says succinctly. “We got you.”
Levine also acknowledges that he did take the controversy into consideration when approaching the performance.
“I think we wanted to make sure we were able to speak once again through the music, so yes, absolutely, once we processed these things, it took a lot of looking inward and introspection and I thought to myself, ‘What is my greatest tool, you know, what is the thing that I can use to express myself … the best way for the band to express themselves, and how are we going to do it this year? What do we owe ourselves, what do we owe the people?'” he explains. “And that is what we did, and I am beyond proud of the finished product, and literally never, never been more excited in my entire life to present this to the people because I believe that it’s truly a reflection of all of us.”
Levine notes that he’s not alone when it comes to controversy about a halftime show and being a performer, he has to be able to handle criticism.
“You know, I think when you look back on every Super Bowl halftime show, it is this insatiable urge to hate a little bit,” he says. “I am not in the right profession if I can’t handle a bit of controversy. It is what it is. We would like to move on from it and speak through the music.”
Indeed, Levine appears to be letting his actions speak for him. During the interview, the singer chose to wear an Off-White hoodie by Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton’s first black artistic director in the luxury brand’s history. On Tuesday, Maroon 5 also announced that along with their label, Interscope Records, as well as the NFL, they’ll be donating $500,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America ahead of Super Bowl LIII. As part of the NFL’s #InspireChange social justice initiative, the contribution will help to create positive social changes for youth in communities across the country.
In addition to Maroon 5, Outkast’s Big Boi — who hails from Atlanta — and Travis Scott will also be playing the big show. Earlier this month, Scott revealed that he, along with the NFL, will be making a donation to Dream Corps, an organization that is at the forefront of social justice issues like reducing jail populations and creating career opportunities for communities.
The Super Bowl airs Feb. 3 starting at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
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