In 2016, Bethany Becker was an 18-year-old signed country artist looking for a guitar player to fill out her band. She put out a listing online where she heard from Blake Jurasin, a recent Berklee College of Music graduate. After passing the interview with Bethany and her dad, Blake got the job. For the next several years they performed together as bandmates, and eventually became more than that.
“I think we had a really deep respect for each other professionally and personally, even before we started dating,” says Bethany.
Fast forward to today and Bethany and Blake have been married for two years and are living in Austin, Texas. Bethany earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Music Studies from Berklee Online, and the two are continuing to create music together as independent artists.
What makes Bethany and Blake such a strong couple, both musically and romantically, is that they were both already far along in their own musical journeys before they met.
Originally from the New Orleans area, Blake started out playing alto saxophone at age eight. His mom’s side of the family is made up of musicians, especially his grandfather Edward Merritt, who still gigs as a saxophonist to this day. Blake’s family encouraged him to pick up the sax to help him cope with his parents’ divorce.
“For an eight-year-old, that’s a lot, and so my parents were both trying to encourage me to do something, to work through different issues,” says Blake. “I wasn’t particularly athletic, so they tried to put me in sports and it just didn’t work. But one day my mom asked me, ‘Hey, do you want to try saxophone?’”
In 2005, Blake and his family had to evacuate their home when Hurricane Katrina hit. He remembers it took two and half hours to cross the 26-mile Causeway bridge out of New Orleans, all four lanes directed north. While they were waiting out the storm in Monroe, LA, he remembers his uncle, Larry Merritt, introducing him to Green Day’s music. Blake says that Larry had a big influence on him and was always supportive of his musical endeavors.
“[Green Day] is what I gravitated towards and used to process everything that was going on,” says Blake.
The house his mom rented in New Orleans was spared of catastrophic damage because it was located on the north shore of Louisiana, whereas the south shore was hit the hardest. When his family returned, they still had 14 inches of water in their home. Blake remembers watching the first Saints football game at the Superdome following the hurricane, when Green Day teamed up with U2 for a powerful halftime show.
“My thought was, I really want to do that,” says Blake, who was 12 at the time. “I really want to be a guitar player. I really want to be able to make a change with my music. So pretty much the next day I had my mom teach me a couple of chords—the D chord, the A chord, the E chord—and then I just took off from there.”
Blake started taking guitar lessons, attending jazz camps, and working on recordings. When he was in high school, he was accepted into Berklee College of Music’s Music Business program, his principal instrument being guitar. He even interned in the Berklee Online office.
After graduating from Berklee, Blake moved to Texas to be closer to his family. In 2016, he landed a job playing gospel music at a church, which he says was much more difficult than he anticipated.
“I didn’t really understand how hard gospel music was at the time,” says Blake. “It’s all these crazy, super fast praise breaks and a bunch of different, jazzy chord progressions that you have to play over. It definitely kicked my ass.”
Reflecting on all of the genres that Blake has explored, he says that it’s hard to prepare for it until you’re actually performing in front of an audience.
“Each project has provided different learning experiences for me,” he says. “Even though the Taylor Swift music [referring to Bethany’s country music], wasn’t hard to play, I still had to learn more about what it was like to be a pop-country guitar player, as opposed to being a rock player, as opposed to being a gospel player. And that’s stuff that we covered at Berklee, but it’s not something that you really know until you’re thrown into the thick of it.”
Growing up, Bethany was a huge fan of the Disney channel show Hannah Montana. She read a biography of Miley Cyrus where she learned that she got her start at the age of 12. Something clicked and Bethany realized that the clock was ticking if she wanted to become the next Hannah Montana.
“I’m sitting there at 12 and being like, ‘man, I’m aging out of my window of opportunity!’” says Bethany.
She worked up the nerve to tell her parents that she wanted to pursue a career as a singer. From there she recorded a demo CD (with songs like “Headphones” by Britt Nicole, “White Horse” by Taylor Swift, and “When I Look at You” by Miley Cyrus) in her dad’s closet and distributed copies widely. One of her CDs ended up on the desk of a music industry headhunter who wanted to interview her.
“I found out later that thousands of people get put in front of these headhunters,” says Bethany. “He only picks a hundred to interview a year, and out of the hundred he might select 10 to work with.”
Bethany flew out to the headhunter’s office and she remembers looking at the platinum and gold records of artists she admired on the walls. An interview that was supposed to be five minutes lasted for three hours and concluded with a mapped-out version of Bethany’s music career plan. She went to Nashville to record, where she got to work with folks like Liz Rose, who co-wrote several of Taylor Swift’s early hits like “Tim McGraw,” “Teardrops On My Guitar,” and “You Belong With Me.” (This is why Blake refers to her music as Taylor Swift music!)
“She’s written all of my favorite Taylor Swift songs, so I was very starstruck,” says Bethany.
At age 16, Bethany dropped her first EP independently, which resulted in a label deal. As with so many artists, the deal wasn’t what she hoped it would be, but it did allow her to meet her manager of five years, who she says did a lot of good for her career. Bethany played more than 1,000 live shows and toured with Nickelodeon star Drake Bell, which she acknowledges is less exciting to share now since he pleaded guilty to child endangerment accusations in 2021.
“I loved Drake and Josh growing up, so that was cool at the time,” says Bethany.
She also collaborated with brands like In-N-Out Burger and Hollister, where she would tour different high schools and put on concerts during lunch. Before COVID, she performed at a lot of festivals, and she’s slowly rebuilding that momentum again. Bethany says that studying at Berklee Online while performing so consistently was the best education she could get.
“You need both to really have the full package,” says Bethany. “So having Berklee Online and being able to get that education along with the real-life work experience was really beneficial to me.”
Bethany and Blake’s Wedding
COVID was a hard time for Bethany and Blake, who were used to performing anywhere from three to seven shows on any given weekend, a schedule which obviously came to a screeching halt. Not only that, they were planning their wedding for September 2020.
“Bethany and I sat down one day with her dad and her dad was like, ‘I think we need to have a conversation about canceling or postponing the wedding,’” says Blake. “And so obviously we were pretty distraught.”
In June 2020, Bethany was scrolling on Instagram when she saw a contest offering an all-expense paid micro-wedding. To enter the contest, they had to share a written story about why they wanted to win, with an optional video submission.
“I looked at Blake, and it’s the last day the contest submissions are open, and I’m like, ‘How badly do you want to win this wedding?’” says Bethany.
Not even 15 minutes later, Bethany had written out the lyrics to a parody of “We Were Us” by Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert, replacing the original lyrics with how COVID crashed their wedding.
“I had a whole studio setup at my mom’s house at the time, and so we went to my filming studio and we hooked up all of our mics and gear and we recorded ourselves singing,” says Bethany. “I put the lyrics down in the corner and emailed it to them.
The next day, Bethany and Blake were invited to a Zoom meeting.
“I remember specifically seeing all of the vendors on this tiny little screen and being like, ‘Oh hi everybody’ and they surprised us,” says Blake. “They said, ‘So we just wanted to let you know that you won.’ And we started crying.”
Bethany and Blake were married on July 19, 2020, in front of 20 of their closest friends and family. Nearly two-dozen central Texas vendors donated their services.
“We were very blessed,” says Bethany. “I literally told them, y’all are going to get so sick of me thanking you. Because I’m never going to feel like I can thank you enough for this gift you’ve given us.”
What’s Next for Bethany and Blake?
In addition to performing all over Texas, Bethany and Blake are currently working on her 2023 EP, which Blake is producing.
“It’s weird being married to your producer because we have conflicting opinions on things sometimes, but he’s really, really good,” says Bethany.
Over the years, Bethany and Blake have learned that the benefit of creating music with your spouse is that you can count on each other to be honest and supportive.
“Bethany and I met as professionals and we had so much in common as professionals and I think that’s part of the reason why we fell in love,” says Blake. “We had a lot of similar ideas when it came to music and how serious we were about it.”