1. It all started with a performance in Times Square last year by a few middle schoolers looking to play some music and collect spare change.
Brooklyn-based band Unlocking the Truth, comprised of 13-year-old guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, 12-year-old drummer Jarad Dawkins, and 13-year-old bassist Alec Atkins, ended up filming the street performance of themselves rocking out on a street corner in New York.
The video got 1.5 million views, and a Sony exec came calling.
3. Soon after, the boys were offered a record deal potentially worth seven figures, which had to be approved by a judge because the musicians are minors.
Sony optioned two albums from the mini rockers, who will get an advance of $60,000 for their first recording, with a second record netting them an advance up to $350,000. They will snag the full multi-million dollar sum if Sony picks up all of the options on their six-record contract, but they’ll only see dollar signs after the advance if their first album sells over 250,000 copies.
“It’s so exciting. We’re jumping over the moon,” Jarad’s mother, Tabatha Dawkins, told the Daily News. “What started out as play dates went to Times Square and now this. It’s been one great thing after another.”
5. But the boys didn’t get to the top without any help — Eric Clapton’s Grammy award-winning drummer Steve Jordan discovered them in 2012 during a set in Washington Square Park, and they’re managed by Welcome Back, Kotter co-creator Alan Sacks.
The band has had appearances all over the country, including a show at Coachella and opening for Guns N’ Roses, and are currently touring with the Vans Warped Tour.
7. Watch the viral video that put them on the map:
- President Obama commuted the federal sentences of 111 prisoners, nearing a total of 700 over the course of his presidency.
- BuzzFeed News exposes a secretive legal system that allows corporations to intimidate entire countries with one threat.
- And Apple has to repay up to €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in illegal tax benefits to Ireland, the European Commission has ruled.