Maroon 5 keyboardist Jesse Carmichael was born on April 2, 1979, in Boulder, CO. His family relocated to Los Angeles and Carmichael, initially a guitarist, began playing music with some junior-high friends, singer/guitarist Adam Levine and bassist Mickey Madden, under the influence of groups like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. After the final 1994 addition of Ryan Dusick on drums, the alternative pop/rock band Kara's Flowers were born. The quartet scored a record deal with Reprise, released a mediocre album, and was released from its contract all in a matter of years. Following the termination of its deal, the band went on hiatus and Carmichael headed to New York with Levine to attend Five Towns College on Long Island. While there, the guys were exposed to a whole new music scene and absorbed new influences like hip-hop, soul, gospel, and R&B. Not only did the two friends gain a fresh perspective on songwriting at school, but Carmichael also started playing the keyboards. They only lasted a semester before dropping out and heading back to California rejuvenated and inspired to add a new groove-based element to their band's rock template. Carmichael and Levine hooked back up with the rest of the Kara's Flowers guys, and songs were quickly written that were directly inspired by Levine's recently failed relationship. After adding in new guitarist James Valentine -- effectively moving Carmichael over to keyboards -- and scoring a new deal with Octone Records, the newly christened Maroon 5 were officially up and running; their debut album, the aptly titled Songs About Jane, was soon completed. Released in June 2002, the album sold steadily over the next couple of years and was certified platinum by 2004. Maroon 5 scored several hit singles, won two Grammy Awards, and toured constantly in support of it.
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