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According to the press, and summed up by Walter Tunis of the Lexington Herald-Leader, Maroon 5 was "one of the hottest new pop rock bands in the land." In February 2005 the music industry added its approval to the statement by presenting Maroon 5 with a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

I miraculously graduated because I could say, ' Sorry, I didn't do that paper because I was in the studio'." Although they did not excel academically at Brentwood, the boys did become quite the school stars, picking up a loyal following in and around L. As Kara's Flowers they released their first and only album, called The Fourth World, in mid-1997.Levine, Carmichael, and Madden were seniors in high school, and Dusick, who is slightly older, was a sophomore at the University of California, Los Angeles.They toured briefly and shot one video for MTV for the single "Soap Disco." The album, however, never really took off.In 1999 Reprise Records released them from their contract, and Kara's Flowers disbanded.The foursome separated when Madden decided to attend UCLA with Dusick, and Levine and Carmichael headed to New York to attend Five Towns College, a small liberal arts school on Long Island.The experience was a major turning point for the transplanted Californians.As Levine explained to David Hiltbrand of the Philadelphia Inquirer, "We had never lived anywhere but L. It was a different world, a really cool experience." Living in the dorms introduced Levine and Carmichael to a variety of music styles, from hip-hop to gospel music to rhythm and blues—styles that would eventually influence their future sound. "My singing style changed so much," he told Hiltbrand."All I knew when I was younger was Paul Mc Cartney and Paul Simon. They called their friends Dusick and Madden and began playing as a band again.Listening to Stevie Wonder changed everything." Less than two years into their college experience, Levine and Carmichael returned to L. Carmichael, however, had switched from guitar to playing keyboards, so a fifth member, James Valentine (formerly of the band Square), was brought on board in 2001 to round out the group.With a fresh sound and a new band mate, the group decided to change their name first to Maroon, eventually settling on Maroon 5.The reason for the name remains a bit of a mystery: According to some, it was inspired by a fictional band called Yellow 5, which is featured on the Web-based comic Pokey the Penguin.

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