More than a decade ago, as a relatively young and eager journalist, I was pretty psyched to be headed to Tokyo, Japan where I was about to interview a young band on the brink of super stardom.
Basking in the success of their first album Songs About Jane, Maroon 5 was well on the way to international acclaim. Fronted by the very cool Adam Levine who though not responsible for the song was largely credited for bringing “sexy back.” I was unashamedly a fan, which might have been perceived as being quite odd for a man in his mid-30s. But if I recall correctly there was a serious lack of cool-ness at the time.
I guess it was quite un-cool on my part but I was quite excited to be interviewing the band. Along with the music executive who had accompanied me to Tokyo, we headed to the venue. As the cab turned the corner, there sat Levine, in a red t-shit and sunglasses, nonchalantly with a Starbucks cup in hand, looking very much like a young James Dean.
“It’s fun and flattering,” he said to me when I asked about him being a sex symbol. “Who doesn’t want to be a sex symbol?” he responded in jest.
Throughout the interview Levine maintained this affable disposition, coming across as extremely likeable and obliging. Fame, he said, had done little to change the band, “we’re pretty much the same, we just have nice shoes.” Judging by the way he is on The Voice, that hasn’t changed. Perhaps, it is because the Maroon 5 lead has always been driven by his passion.
“Music is everything to me. It’s on my mind 24/7. It’s what I live for. The values are freedom in its purest form. It’s expression. It’s love. It’s everything,” he is quoted as saying.
Despite being all about the music, Levine ventures into new territory as the face of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté’s Y Eau de Parfum. In a statement, Yves Saint Laurent Beauté described Levine as personifying the spirit of the fragrance, which is about the willingness to push oneself in the pursuit of success.
“A bold creative force with a sense of his place in the world, Levine provides the perfect blend of youth, establishment and creativity. With his lack of fear and an intensity of vision which mirrors the dark heart of the fragrance; as he also has a clarity of thought, which reflects the bright, inclusive spirit of the scent,” Yves Saint Laurent Beauté states in its press release.
Congratulations on the new role as Y international ambassador – what does it mean to share a global platform with YSL?
I’ve been a fan of YSL forever, so the opportunity to be a part of a brand that I have respected and enjoyed for so long means a lot to me. As soon as I got the call, it was an instant, “Yes.”
What do you think about Y, and why do you think the two of you are a natural fit?
Y has a true elegance, yet there’s strength. That duality is relatable for a lot of guys. You want to be classy, but you don’t want to lose your edge either. Even though I love high-end fashion, at the same time, I think my style is a little more simple and straightforward — not so flashy or crazy. I’m a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of guy. As a classic fragrance, Y adds that last touch of refinement to any look.
What is so refreshing about Y and the values captured in the campaign?
Y stands out without explicitly trying to do so. I love that. It’s quietly tough. Those values define the campaign. That’s a message I’m happy to promote and share. It’s also iconic. One letter, “Y”, conveys this whole philosophy and mindset.
A new chapter to Y the Eau de Toilette which was released last year — while the latter was designed for men on the path to achieving their dreams, Y Eau de Parfum represents his natural evolution. The new Y man is someone who has already accomplished his dreams and is on his way to the next stage of his life. Established, confident and capable of facing the challenges presented to him, he is also someone who is focused on improving the world. Created by legendary perfumer Dominique Ropion, Y Eau de Parfum is deep, fresh and masculine. The fragrance is built around a structure of fougère, among the most prevalent family in masculine fragrance, contrasted with fresh citrus and aromatic notes followed by more sensual woody notes. A new take on the fougère form, Y brings to mind two key items in the YSL man’s wardrobe – the classic white T-shirt and the iconic black jacket.
What do you like about wearing the fragrance? What were your first thoughts when you smelt it, and how do you wear it now? Eg do you spritz all over or dab on your wrist?
At first scent, I was impressed. It wasn’t overbearing, but it was still intense. I’m a proponent of the patented “Spray and Step” method. I spray, step, that’s it.
What are your favourite notes within the fragrance; how does it evolve through the day?
Right away, it’s powerful. You get that intensity on the top notes. Throughout the day, the middle notes have the same strength and full body. At the end of the day, you can still smell the best part. It lasts until even when you’re ready for bed.
You are joining a crack team of very beautiful, stylish, creative YSL ambassadors – opening a new chapter in the Y story. Why do you think did YSL Beauté choose you, as a musician?
YSL Beauté has a rock ‘n’ roll energy. We have that in common, so we’re starting this cool chapter together.
What does music represent in your life?
Music is everything to me. It’s on my mind 24/7. It’s what I live for. The values are freedom in its purest form. It’s expression. It’s love. It’s everything.
You’ve always been a fan of the Saint Laurent look; what’s it like now to delve more into the beauty/grooming side of things, have you picked up any good grooming tips?
It’s something that I’ve always wanted to delve into more. As far as good grooming tips go, do what works for you!
To someone who hasn’t worn or experienced Y as a fragrance, how would you describe it?
It’s strong, but it’s also subtle. The ingredients are just right. It also lasts. That’s crucial when you’re on stage for two hours. It does everything a classic cologne should do.
What’s your tip for wearing Y?
You just need a little bit to make a real impression. Don’t douse it on. Just spray and step. Spray and step…