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Great destinations for Huggins

On Jeff Huggins' bedroom wall, a new road map to his future has begun.

On Jeff Huggins' bedroom wall, a new road map to his future has begun.

The 18-year-old Coquitlam musician has four directions guiding his current journey: his band, The Knots, which recently released its debut EP; his busking, a summer job at Granville Island and farmers' markets; his room renovations, of which he has attached a sketch; and his college plans.

Next to the latter, Huggins has proudly pinned a letter of acceptance from Vancouver Community College, where next month he will start a four-year music program.

Huggins applied for VCC's jazz and contemporary voice diploma after emailing the Vancouver-based band Mother Mother; three of its five members graduated there and recommended he enroll, too.

It'll be a fresh adventure for Huggins, who just graduated from Gleneagle secondary where, for four years, he commuted for two hours a day, to and from the other side of Coquitlam - by city bus - to attend the TALONS program for gifted students. "It was worth it," he said of the long daily ride. "I loved going to Gleneagle."

Though academically advanced, Huggins has always put his music first.

At six, he started with classical piano. In Grade 8, Huggins picked up the guitar and drums, and signed up with the School Alliance of Student Songwriters. The next year, Huggins, his cousin Jonny Schmidt and David Griffiths, a friend since Grade 1, formed the indie/rock band The Knots, a name coined by Schmidt after staring up at Huggins' wood ceiling.

"I think it's kind of a cool name because this is the place where we all practice," the lead singer said during an interview at his home last week.

So far, their union has been a good one.

Last year, while Huggins also studied choir and vocal jazz as extra-cirriculars, The Knots won a songwriting contest that allowed them to play during the Olympic torch relay in New Westminster. Later that spring, they clinched the title of BC's Best Teen Band after a five-month contest sponsored by Youthink Magazine and Tom Lee Music.

As part of the band's prize, they worked briefly with Shawn Verrault, the lead singer of Wide Mouth Mason (Verrault was also the associate producer for The Knots new four-track EP).

Huggins said the EP "is just the first of many things to come for us. Obviously, we're hoping down the road we can have a full-length CD."

But even Huggins is unsure when he'll find the time to write songs for it, given that his schedule will be packed with VCC studies and Knots' shows.

"That's where the map comes in handy," he said, pointing to it. "Everything is laid out so I can see where I'm heading."