Brooklyn Heavy Metal Pre-Teen Group Score $1.7 Million Sony Record Deal
Musicians are discovered regularly in the city that never sleeps, but this stands out from the norm: three New York City junior high school students — Brooklyn’s Malcolm Brickhouse, 13, Alec Atkins, 13, and Jarad Dawkins, 12 — have been signed with Sony Records. They are the members of Unlocking The Truth (UTT), a metal band that’s defying the typical age and look of metal rock stars.
“The record deal is awesome. This is something we always wanted,” Dawkins told ABC News.
In 2007, Brickhouse and Dawkins founded their metal rock band. They were inspired by the that would be playing while Brickhouse’s father took them to wrestling shows. Usually dominated by white males, Brickhouse said of metal: “It’s just fun. It’s exciting, and if I listen to the lyrics in metal, they just touch me. I don’t like hip-hop because they don’t talk about anything important.”
As the two boys became more serious about their music career, they enlisted Atkins who learned how to play the bass guitar from Brickhouse and Dawkins. UTT told ABC News, their peers would bully them for their heavy metal look but when their music videos began to go viral, their attitudes changed. UTT began to gross $1,600 per day as street performers in Washington Square Park and Union Square. As their fame increased, UTT was invited to tour with Guns N’ Roses and given a performance slot on the Vans Warped Tour. UTT has also performed at South by Southwest and became the youngest performers at the popular music festival Coachella. The boys have been featured in ads for Cole Haan and Beats By Dre.
Annette Jackson, Brickhouse’s mother, who also serves as the group’s co-manager says Jolene Cherry from Sony reached out to offer UTT the deal. To make the deal more secure, Jackson and the boys flew out to Los Angeles to perform for Cherry. The Daily News reports that the business transactions for the record deal were filed by Manhattan Supreme Court since the group members were minors. Sony will produce two UTT albums, with another option to produce four more depending on sales. If all six albums are produced, UTT will approximately earn $1.7 million.
This upcoming Christmas, UTT will release a book, published by Penguin based on their rise to fame. They are also slated to film a documentary on their music industry experience thus far.