In February 1994, Levine, along with Mickey Madden, Jesse Carmichael, and Ryan Dusick, another Brentwood High student, formed garage band Kara's Flowers. The group played their first gig at the Whisky a Go Go, a nightclub in West Hollywood, California, with Levine on vocals and guitar. In 1997, the band was discovered while they were performing at a beach party in Malibu by independent producer Tommy Allen. Allen, along with his partner John DeNicola, had the band record an 11-track album. Owing to a string of industry showcases in Los Angeles, they were signed on to Reprise Records through producer Rob Cavallo. In August 1997, the band released their first album, titled The Fourth World. That same year, the band appeared on an episode of the drama series Beverly Hills, 90210. After their graduation, the band toured in support of their debut. Despite high expectations, the album had little success, selling about 5,000 copies, and its only single, "Soap Disco", failed commercially. Finally, on Cavallo's exit from the label, Reprise decided to drop the band. Disappointed with the results of their album, the band broke up. Later, Levine would say of the experience: "Kara's Flowers was just floating up the wall beneath the sticks. Make a record quickly, put it out. No touring base, no nothing. Just try to make it happen right out of the gate and it just doesn't work".