The band scored a monster, chart-topping hit; arguably the song of the summer. But even the end of the year, with 3 million copies of the single “Rude” sold, Magic! was far from interested in talking about the past.
“We think about it but we try not to overly think about it,” lead singer Nasri Atweh told me after the band performed at “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” in Times Square. “We have a lot of work to do for the next song, which is called ‘Let Your Hair Down,’ yunno to make that a popular song.”
The Canadian pop-reggae outfit already has its third single lined up from the album, Don’t Kill The Magic, called “No Way No.” In New Zealand, Australia and Canada this will be the fourth song released from the album – as the album’s title track was also serviced as a single in those countries.
“We have a lot of work to do because we’re not going anywhere,” the singer explained as the band stood around him on a frigid night in Times Square. Perhaps true to their Canadian roots, the guys wore yellow suits paired with skinny ties and a white dress shirt; no coats, no scarves, and except for Atweh no gloves. With five layers on my upper body alone, I was cold just looking at them. And I didn’t grow up that far from Canada.
“We’re just starting,” the front man continued, “so we’ve got to catch up to the success of ‘Rude.’”
The bar is set high. “Rude” cracked the top 10 in 10 different countries, topping the charts in the UK in addition to the States. The single sold a lot of units abroad as well, achieving platinum-or-better status in four other territories besides the U.S.
Prior to performing “Rude” with Wyclef Jean at The American Music Awards, the band told me that they would once again tour the globe following the holidays. That was not an exaggeration. Magic! will head to Jamaica soon where the quartet will film the music video for “No Way No.” Then it’s back stateside with a performance at the DIRECTV Super Fan Festival the weekend of the Super Bowl.
Then in February, Magic! hits the road as the supporting act on Maroon 5’s world tour. The trek begins on February 16 in Dallas, with North American dates continuing through the start of April. Towards the end of May, the schedule picks back up overseas.
Adam Levine turns 34 next month. Yes, it’s already on the Maroon 5 lead singer’s mind.
“I thought about that today, I was like ‘Sh*t, I’m gonna be 34 or 35, how old am I?’” Levine admitted during an interview with “The Ralphie Show.” “Still the right side of 30! Hanging on for another year.”
Almost two years have passed since the debut of NBC’s “The Voice.” With the TV show, Maroon 5’s recent success, and a new fragrance line, Levine is as busy as he’s ever been since the band launched in 2001.
“It’s just one of those things (where) you roll with the punches and kind of go with the flow,” said Levine of how he’s handling his new schedule. “You have to match the energy of the moment.”
That isn’t always easy for the singer.
“It’s not as tough when were on the road, actually,” Levine explained. “Once you’re on the road, you have a singular purpose: you want the show to be really great, and that’s your job. When you get home and you’re not on tour, then all of the other peripheral things start to kind of take over.”
The aforementioned new fragrance line is one of those peripheral things, and Adam has been flying coast-to-coast to promote the new product with Macy’s.
“It’s good to keep people guessing, right?” Levine responded when asked why he decided to launch a line of cologne and perfume. “I think that it hasn’t been done particularly well, so there’s a negative stigma attached to it.”
The singer is quick to point out that on Twitter, he didn’t do anything at first to help said stigma. But Levine then reasoned with a line of thought that Maroon 5 adopted on its last album, Overexposed.
“You can just hate something, which is one way of dealing with it, or you can take an opportunity that falls in to your lap, and use it to make something good,” he said. “I will not sit here and tell you that I don’t love to make money because I do love to make money. However, that’s not the only reason why I’m doing a lot of these things.”
Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn enjoyed the “Glee” cover of “Everybody Talks,” but it wasn’t his favorite.
“I liked the ‘Animal’ version better,” Glenn admitted in an interview on “The Ralphie Show.” “But its fun… we’re never going to stop someone from covering our music.”
Guitarist Chris Allen disagreed – favoring the latest performance to the previous. Drummer Elaine Bradley is just happy that the band’s music is still featured on the hit TV show.
“We want to be gracious,” she explained. “It’s flattering that they covered it.”
Neon Trees will be able to play its own tracks live for fans next year, when the band supports Maroon 5 on tour.
“Adam (Levine) and (James Valentine) saw us play a couple years ago… one of the Christmas shows, in Buffalo,” recalled Glenn. “Adam made a comment that we really reached for it and we just didn’t like play live and were boring so I think he liked that.”
Owl City will also join the bands for 31 dates. The trek begins in mid-February and runs through early April.
INTERVIEW: Psy Tries to Break Past Maroon 5 on Billboard Chart; Explains Scenes from ‘Gangnam Style’
He’s done TV, he’s done radio, and heck he’s certainly done the Internet. But after finding his single, “Gangnam Style” stuck at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 for the past six weeks, South Korean sensation Psy is doing it all over again.
“How come they play Maroon 5 so much in United States?” the K-Pop star jokingly asked in an interview on “The Ralphie Show,” slightly mispronouncing “maroon” in the process. “One More Night” has held on to the top spot. “At some point I’m thinking like, ‘Wow, how can I stay that long at number two… is this some kind of ‘Truman Show’ or something like that?’”
You can’t blame the artist, born Park Jae-sang, for thinking that TV cameras might be secretly following him around. Prior to “Gangnam Style,” the 34 year-old topped the Korean charts about a half dozen times, but never came close to the success he is currently having. As of Tuesday, the video had over 650 million views and near 5 million “likes.” This is unprecedented for anyone, let alone a relatively unknown artist from a country that has cultivated so many “K-Pop” stars, with none of them breaking in to the U.S.
What is even crazier: Americans have latched on to the song simply for the video and dance, along with the infectious beat. Most of the lyrics are in Korean.
“If I perform this song in different countries, I feel happy and sorry at the same time because yunno, (the audience) looks so happy so I’m happy with that,” explained Psy. “They don’t have any idea what I’m talking about right? What I thought was, they might have their own version of lyrics when I’m singing this.”
U.S. fans of the song and video have other questions as well: one was floated my way on Facebook about why Psy appears to be screaming at one of his backup dancer’s butts in the music video.
“The butt was so mad at me,” he replied with clearly something lost in translation. “They were doing some erotic stuff and it teased me, the butt teased me. So I was like, ‘Hey, stop doing that!’ I yelled at the butt.”
So this is the stuff that 650 million view videos on YouTube are made of.
Adam Levine seems pleased with Maroon 5’s journey – from breaking out with 2002’s Songs About Jane to gaining more momentum in 2007’s It Won’t Be Soon Before Long and then almost losing it all on the 2010 release of Hands All Over. Certainly thanks to the success of “Moves Like Jagger” and this year’s Overexposed, it is easier for Levine to look back fondly on the ride.
“Listen man, it’s a long, weird road being in a band,” Levine explained on “The Ralphie Show.” “We kept treading a line between were we a pop group or were we trying to be a regular alt-rock band? Yunno, we just didn’t know what we wanted for a minute.”
To Maroon 5’s credit – the band figured it out. Not to mention, Levine’s overall involvement with NBC’s “The Voice” hasn’t hurt the cause. The aforementioned “Moves” collaboration with his fellow coach Christina Aguilera proved to revive the group’s popularity. Aguilera will depart after this third season to focus more on her music career. If anything, Levine won’t miss the media-manifested drama between the two.
“I never liked that sh-t,” Levine stated rather bluntly. “I’ll be the first person to say that we had our share of issues in the beginning but I love that girl. Yunno, we’ve been through a lot. We came out the other end as friends and I’ve always got nothing but love for Christina.”
Levine went on to describe what was reported about the two as, “petty, despicable bullsh-t” in publications he called, “god awful.”
The lead singer was just as candid about which candidate he is backing in this year’s presidential election. The last time Levine called in to “The Ralphie Show” was in 2008 on behalf of President Barack Obama.
“I’m gonna do whatever the hell I can (to help President Obama) because if he doesn’t get elected I’m f-cking moving,” Levine claimed. “I’d rather you be president that f-cking Mitt Romney, and I barely know you.”
Levine might be better suited for the position – if you believe those “god awful” publications, he certainly has “binders full of women.”