Artist of the day: Next Exit
They've come a long way from their days of playing in the alleys of Ybor City.
The precocious musicians of Next Exit all attend Pinellas County schools: Singer Mia Hartley, 15 goes to Osceola High School; drummer Brian Rothenberger, 16, and saxophonist Jarred Armstrong, 16, attend Boca Ciega High; keyboardist Justin Lincoln, 16, goes to Lakewood High; and bassist Nikolas Hartley, 14, attends Madiera Beach Middle School.
Mia, Brian and Justin founded the band about five years ago by learning two songs: Ghostbusters and Proud Mary. Since then, Next Exit has played at various festivals around town, all while remaining active in their own school jazz and music programs.
Over the summer they released a new CD, Runnin' -- which also happens to be the name of a track the band submitted to USAA's "Garage Band Playoff '09" competition. The song was one of 24 selected as a finalist, and voting began over the weekend.
The grand prize is $2,500 cash, a photo and video shoot and more. Click here to vote for Next Exit. (UPDATE: Looks like Next Exit's tournament matchup isn't taking place this week. But check back on the above link for an update in the coming month.)
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*