07/14/2014 at 11:00 AM EDT
When you think of the average eighth-grader from East Flatbush, Brooklyn, you probably aren't thinking of Unlocking the Truth. And that's to their advantage.
The three boys – guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, 13; bassist Alec Atkins, 13; and drummer Jarad Dawkins, 12 – play heavy metal, a genre choice that places them at odds with their peers, though it's working to their advantage: The group just signed a record contract with Sony
that's potentially worth up to $1.7 million.
The group's profile grew steadily over the past year: A video of them busking in Manhattan (their music decidedly against the grain of typical street musicians) went viral, and profiles of the band popped up on Gawker and Vice.
Grammy-winning drummer Steve Jordan (who's famous for his work with Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder and many, many others) discovered the group when they were playing in Manhattan's Washington Square Park, and he has since taken an active hand in their career. They're currently managed by Welcome Back, Kotter
co-creator Alan Sacks, and The New York Daily News
reports that they have a book deal with Penguin in the works as well.
The group is tied to a guaranteed two-album deal, with a $60,000 advance on their first album and up to a $350,000 advance on their second. Should Sony pick up all the options on the six-record contract, the trio could see the full, nearly $2 million amount.
Not bad for a band who's not old enough to drive to their own gigs.