Maroon 5 front man and The Voice coach Adam Levine turns 33 today. Naturally, I couldn't let that happen without saying something.
There's no doubt that Levine is a professional success. With Maroon 5, he's got a huge following around the world, three Grammy Awards, and an American Music Award, plus countless nominations. He made history last year as the first artist to crack the Billboard charts both as a group (with "Moves Like Jagger") and as a solo artist (guesting on the Gym Class Heroes hit "Stereo Hearts"). He's a coach on the show that broke American Idol's ratings dominance and, depending on who you talk to, saved NBC. He's got his own record label, upcoming fragrance, and a line of guitars. Oh, and he's a rock star who drives an Aston Martin and dates a Victoria's Secret model.
But when I think of him, I don't think of any of that. I think of who he is as a person. I think of the man who changed my life a year ago and has since become my hero.
When he comes to mind, the first thing I always think about is the times we shared on the red carpet for The Voice last season. The first time we met, he held me while I broke down and cried. The second time we met, he pulled me into a huge hug. I've gone through my whole life with people not wanting to touch me because of my disability. But the man I respect most in the world not only didn't mind getting close to me, he initiated it, and he has no idea how much that meant to me.
Adam didn't just set the example for the person I wanted to be, but he encouraged me to find that person inside of me, and has stayed by my side throughout that journey. When I had to put myself on my own operating table, the last thing I heard was the chorus of "She Will Be Loved." The last time I saw him, at a concert last July, I asked him if we could keep in touch, because I valued his support. He said, "Of course," and he meant it.
Along with the other coaches and artists on The Voice, Adam helped me discover my own voice, and raise it. I have him to thank for opening up the whole world of music to me. Without that, I never would have met some of my best friends, musicians like Jesse Macht, Jesse Blaze Snider, Beverly McClellan, Nakia, Tim Mahoney, and all my Voice family.
He also gave me a dream: to sing with him someday. I don't know if it will ever happen, but just thinking about it makes me smile. It would mean the world to me, to have that moment of being an equal with the man who inspires me every day.
So happy birthday, Adam. I hope it's as fantastic as you so clearly deserve.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.