PASADENA, Calif. -- Adam Levine noticed it "like, at the supermarket," at first.
"I was aware of the term TV famous,' but I was all right being on the other side, kind of not known as much," says the 32-year-old native Californian, who is no stranger to fans approaching him as frontman of the platinum-selling band Maroon 5.
As a judge on "The Voice," airing 7 p.m. Mondays on KSL Channel 5, Levine is discovering that celebrity has an evolution all its own. Being a rock star is one thing. Being a TV personality is an entirely new process for him. People notice more -- and care what he does.
"I was used to what was suddenly happening to me after being in a band for many, many years," says Levine, "but, still, this is new for me."
He was on tour in Southeast Asia last year when NBC's competition show caught on there, and then his fame evolved. "Suddenly, more people started noticing me, like, at the supermarket," he says. "I know that sounds weird, but they did."
In 2011, "The Voice" was the biggest new series NBC launched in a decade.
As "The Voice" gained traction everywhere, the media were more interested in Levine's personal life, where he was going and what he was up to. As the guy in Maroon 5, he thought the media really didn't care about such things. Now as a judge on "The Voice," they do.
"There was a spike in people wanting to know what I do," Levine says. "I'm fine with it. I don't really care. It comes with it."
Even when "The Voice" came along, Maroon 5 was hardly washed up. The band had secured hefty radio play in recent years with "Harder to Breathe," "This Love" and "She Will Be Loved." But in rock 'n' roll, you're only as good as your last hit, and Maroon 5 had spent a couple of years before "The Voice" not churning out consistent hits. "We were doing well before this," Levine says of the band, "but ('The Voice') changed things. It elevated things. It moved things along.
"It allowed me to learn more about who I was and to speak. Everybody knows what I sound like when I sing. Not too many people know me when I speak. People judge you a lot if you don't have a chance to speak up," he said.
After "The Voice" took off in 2011, Maroon 5 was able to jump on its bandwagon. "Moves Like Jagger," a club-infused number with fellow "Voice" judge Christina Aguilera providing guest vocals, rocketed to the top of the charts, making it one of the band's quickest hits ever.
Maroon 5 isn't the only musical act to get a career jolt from TV competitions. Jennifer Lopez had her first Top 10 single in years thanks to her exposure on "American Idol." And fellow "Voice" judges Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green also had hits over the past few months.
Levine is finding that he has to watch what he says and how he presents it. For him, a line exists between loutish rock star and respectable TV judge.
"It used to be it was OK to say what you say and not worry about what you said. Now it's different. You have to watch what you say. A lot of people are listening to you," he says. "There's a huge list of no-nos on what shouldn't be said. Sometimes (the media) can take what you say (and twist it) even when your intention is different. I'm not so bad at this (stuff) now."