When I was 13, I was just building up the courage to have my first kiss with my first girlfriend. When guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, bassist Alec Atkins, and drummer Jarad Dawkins were 13, they signed a two-record deal with Sony. (Actually, Dawkins is only 12!)
As the metal band Unlocking the Truth, the trio of Brooklyn 8th graders got their start doing some serious busking around Times Square. Now, Sony has picked up the hardcore teens (and tween) for a guaranteed two-album deal with the option for four more. The deal secures $60,000 up-front for the boys on their first LP, with a possible $350,000 advance on their second. What’s more, if Sony goes all the way with the six-record contract, the band could net upwards of $1.7 million(!!). Because of the members’ ages, the contract had to be approved in the Manhattan Supreme Court, which it was.
Alan Sacks, the band’s manager, told The NY Post that the deal gives a group of young, black musicians a chance to redefine the perception of metal music, a genre typically dominated by white artists. The Post does say, however, that the contract’s a bit tricky. Though the boys will get an exceptional 16%-17% royalties on their sales, that only comes after 250,000 records are sold. For comparison, Beyoncé’s last record sold 600,000.
According to the NY Daily News, the group was discovered performing in Washington Square Park back in 2012 by Steve Jordan, drummer for Eric Clapton. That led to gigs playing across the country, including opening for Guns ‘N’ Roses in Vegas, a current spot on the Vans Warped Tour, a gig with Queens of the Stone Age next weekend, and even an opening slot on Coachella’s main stage. “What started out as play dates went to Times Square and now this,” said Dawkins’ mother, Tabatha. “It’s been one great thing after another.” For you concerned mothers out there, don’t worry; Dawkins said the boys are all solid students. “School work comes first. If their school work is not done, they don’t play.”
Dawkins revealed Unlocking the Truth also has a book deal from Penguin and will film a documentary about their rise. Below, watch the band stir up a mosh pit with “Monster” at Coachella’s second weekend this year.
by Ben Kaye