Adam Levine on decision to play Super Bowl halftime: 'Nobody thought about it more than I did' (Exclusive)

Adam Levine says he definitely didn't take the decision to perform at this year's Super Bowl halftime show lightly.

ET's Kevin Frazier exclusively sat down with the 39-year-old singer on Thursday in Atlanta for the singer's only interview before the big game, where he addressed Maroon 5's decision to headline the halftime show in light of the current controversy surrounding how the NFL has handled Colin Kaepernick and other players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality. 

"No one thought about it more than I did," he says. "No one put more thought and love into this than I did. ... I spoke to many people, most importantly though, I silenced all the noise and listened to myself, and made my decision about how I felt."  

He adds he "absolutely 100 percent" took a hard look inside of himself.

"I will never sit here and deny that," he says. "I think that to have not done that would have been deeply irresponsible."

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Adam Levine and Maroon 5 through the years
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Adam Levine and Maroon 5 through the years
CARSON, CA - MAY 13: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs on stage at 102.7 KIIS FM's 2017 Wango Tango at StubHub Center on May 13, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
CARSON, CA - MAY 13: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs onstage during 102.7 KIIS FM's 2017 Wango Tango at StubHub Center on May 13, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
CARSON, CA - MAY 13: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs onstage during 102.7 KIIS FM's 2017 Wango Tango at StubHub Center on May 13, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 29: (L-R) PJ Morton, Jesse Carmichael, Adam Levine, Matt Flynn and James Valentine of Maroon 5 perform during the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at Fair Grounds Race Course on April 29, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Recording artist Adam Levine (3rd from L) and Maroon 5 band members attend his being honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 10, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 639 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jesse Carmichael and Adam Levine of musical guest Maroon 5 perform on March 14, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE VOICE -- 'Live Top 10' Episode 1116A -- Pictured: Adam Levine with Maroon 5 -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: James Valentine and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 pose in the press room at the 2016 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: (L-R) Musicians Mickey Madden, Matt Flynn, PJ Morton, James Valentine and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 pose in the press room at the 2016 American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Singer Adam Levine (L) and Maroon 5 perform onstage during the 2016 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 28: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs on Mundo stage at Rock in Rio on May 28, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Pedro Gomes/Redferns)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 03: Musician Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs on stage during Capital One JamFest at the NCAA March Madness Music Festival Day 3 at Discovery Green on April 3, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Turner)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 24: Recording artists Adam Levine (L) and James Valentine of Maroon 5 perform onstage during CBS RADIOs third annual We Can Survive, presented by Chrysler, at the Hollywood Bowl on October 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 24: (L-R) Musicians Jesse Carmichael, Adam Levine, James Valentine and PJ Morton of Maroon 5 perform onstage during CBS RADIOs third annual We Can Survive, presented by Chrysler, at the Hollywood Bowl on October 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 24: (L-R) Musicians Matt Flynn, Adam Levine, James Valentine and PJ Morton of Maroon 5 perform onstage during CBS RADIOs third annual We Can Survive, presented by Chrysler, at the Hollywood Bowl on October 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 24: Recording artist Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs onstage during CBS RADIOs third annual We Can Survive, presented by Chrysler, at the Hollywood Bowl on October 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 24: Recording artists Adam Levine (L) and James Valentine of Maroon 5 perform onstage during CBS RADIOs third annual We Can Survive, presented by Chrysler, at the Hollywood Bowl on October 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs at Allphones Arena on September 29, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
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And for those who feel like their voices aren’t being heard, Levine has a reassuring message. 

"They will be [heard] -- that's all I want to say because I don't want to spoil anything," he shares. "And once again, I like to think that people know where I stand as a human being after two decades doing this. I'm not a speaker. I'm not a public speaker. I do speak, but it's through the music. My life's work and what I put out into the universe has been positive and hopefully inspiring ... So, what I would say is, you know, we are going to do what we keep on doing, hopefully without becoming politicians and continuing to use the one voice we know how to use properly."

"To make people understand, we got you," he says succinctly. "We got you."

Levine also acknowledges that he did take the controversy into consideration when approaching the performance.

"I think we wanted to make sure we were able to speak once again through the music, so yes, absolutely, once we processed these things, it took a lot of looking inward and introspection and I thought to myself, 'What is my greatest tool, you know, what is the thing that I can use to express myself ... the best way for the band to express themselves, and how are we going to do it this year? What do we owe ourselves, what do we owe the people?'" he explains. "And that is what we did, and I am beyond proud of the finished product, and literally never, never been more excited in my entire life to present this to the people because I believe that it's truly a reflection of all of us."

Levine notes that he's not alone when it comes to controversy about a halftime show and being a performer, he has to be able to handle criticism.

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Justin Timberlake during the 2018 Super Bowl Halftime Show
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Justin Timberlake during the 2018 Super Bowl Halftime Show
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Recording artist Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Recording artist Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Recording artist Justin Timberlake (C) performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Recording artist Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Justin Timberlake performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Recording artist Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Justin Timberlake performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Justin Timberlake performs on stage during the Super Bowl LII halftime show at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota February 4, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Justin Timberlake performs on stage during the Super Bowl LII halftime show at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota February 4, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Justin Timberlake performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: An image of Prince is projected as Justin Timberlake performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Justin Timberlake performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Justin Timberlake performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Justin Timberlake performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Singer Justin Timberlake performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LII at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on February 4, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Recording artist Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Recording artist Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Justin Timberlake performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Recording artist Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Justin Timberlake performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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"You know, I think when you look back on every Super Bowl halftime show, it is this insatiable urge to hate a little bit," he says. "I am not in the right profession if I can't handle a bit of controversy. It is what it is. We would like to move on from it and speak through the music."

Indeed, Levine appears to be letting his actions speak for him. During the interview, the singer chose to wear an Off-White hoodie by Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton's first black artistic director in the luxury brand's history. On Tuesday, Maroon 5 also announced that along with their label, Interscope Records, as well as the NFL, they'll be donating $500,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America ahead of Super Bowl LIII. As part of the NFL's #InspireChange social justice initiative, the contribution will help to create positive social changes for youth in communities across the country.

In addition to Maroon 5, Outkast's Big Boi -- who hails from Atlanta -- and Travis Scott will also be playing the big show. Earlier this month, Scott revealed that he, along with the NFL, will be making a donation to Dream Corps, an organization that is at the forefront of social justice issues like reducing jail populations and creating career opportunities for communities.

The Super Bowl airs Feb. 3 starting at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

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2019 Celebrity Super Bowl Ads
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2019 Celebrity Super Bowl Ads

Andy Warhol for Burger King

The commercial features a nearly silent film of the iconic Pop Artist eating a Whopper.

It’s the first Super Bowl commercial 37 years in the making. The original 4-minute clip was created by Swedish director Jorgen Leth in 1982.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges for Stella Artois x Water.org

The actors are reprising their iconic roles for a good cause.

Charlie Sheen and Alex Rodriguez for Planters

The actor pokes fun at his 'nuts' public image for a Super Bowl ad alongside the one and only, A Rod.

Serena Williams for Bumble

The tennis pro is teaming up with the dating app for it's first-ever Super Bowl commercial which highlights #InHerCourt.

Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys for Doritos

To celebrate the launch of Flamin' Hot Nacho flavor, Doritos is teaming up the musicians for a hilarious and unexpected commercial.

Jason Bateman for Hyndai

The "Ozark" star is taking on the role of an elevator operator to help take the pain out of car shopping!

Cardi B, Steve Carell and Lil Jon for Pepsi

The three mega stars are teaming up with Pepsi for their always iconic Super Bowl commercial.

Harrison Ford for Amazon

The iconic actor is one of many familiar faces that appears in Amazon's 90-second spot, which sheds light on some "top-secret" Amazon Beta Testing Program teasers released last week.

Sarah Michelle Geller for OLAY

The "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" alum has aresume of thriller and horror roles, which makes her the perfect choice for Olay’s Super Bowl ad entitled ‘Killer Skin.’

Zoë Kravitz for Michelob ULTRA

The "Big Little Lies" star is reconnecting with the great outdoors through the power of the delicious organic beer.

Michael Buble for Bubly Sparkling Water

The Grammy-winner singer is collaborating with the sparkling water company for a hilarious play on his last name.

Michael C. Hall for Skittles

The "Dexter" actor will star as the lead in "Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical" on Sunday afternoon instead of the brand running a 30-second spot during the big game.

Harrison Ford for Amazon

Harrison Ford, Forest Whitaker, Broad City's Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson and astronaut Scott Kelly and twin brother Mark Kelly are all uniting with Amazon's Alexa.

Bo Jackson for Sprint

The football and baseball legend is teaming up with the mobile company to bring back the Sprint Robots.

HGTV’s Property Brothers for ADT

Drew and Jonathan Scott are coming together for ADT's first-ever Super Bowl advertisement called "Real Protection."

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