The infectious smile and positive attitude of Dray Taylor ’17 are hard to miss. And so are the positive “be you” themes woven into his rap and hip-hop music, something that is unique for an artist in those genres.

Taylor’s Bethel experience was also unique, coming to Bethel as a 20-year-old in the Adult & Graduate Studies (AGS) business program. He had taken some time off after attending another college right out of high school, and at age 20 he better understood the importance of a college degree. He was able to appreciate the variety of ages and experiences represented by AGS students and gained a lot of wisdom through class discussions.

During his time in college, Taylor also met Zach Nelson ’17 through a connection on Instagram, and they discovered they both were students at Bethel. They formed a friendship based on their creative passions, and Nelson helped inspire Taylor in his music.

“We just get together and create,” says Taylor.

When Nelson, who was working at J2 Marketing (Mishawaka) at the time, heard that Bethel wanted to create a video celebrating the change to Bethel University, he immediately pitched the idea to Taylor, saying that he needed to come on board the project and write a song for Bethel.

“He said, ‘Dude, you have been saying ‘be you’ for years, this is perfect, it fits you so much,’” says Taylor, who was hesitant at first, but eventually warmed up to the idea.

Writing a song about BU became more appealing as Taylor reflected on the impact of his Bethel education and the relationships he formed as a student.

“I’m a better me because of Bethel University. I just want to tell people what Bethel did for me and then encourage them to go, too,” he says.

Like all of his music, Taylor wanted the song to encourage others to live fully in their purpose and to turn all their “cant’s“ into ”yes I can,” a message he is especially passionate about.

“Where I was told [as a kid] ‘you can’t,’ I want to tell others ‘you can.’”

The lyrics also speak about doing it “all for the team,” and “all for the King,” emphasizing the importance of being in community and working together to fulfill God’s purpose. When it comes to his education, his music and his passion for encouraging others, Taylor says that he can do it for himself and for others but, “ultimately, I do it all for Christ.”

Taylor hopes to eventually make music his full-time work and appreciates how the song and video project allowed him to showcase his creativity in a new way.

“Being able to write a song for a video project was exciting, but for it to be for the school that I went to and graduated from was icing on the cake.”


“Be You” is an obvious marketing play on now being “BU” (Bethel University) instead of “BC” (Bethel College). As Christians, we believe that the expression of ourselves — the ability to “be you” — must exist alongside our commitment to God and His Word as well as our commitment to a community of believers.

And so, our new tagline incorporates all of these things.

“Be True” – start with a foundation of being true to God and His Word.
“Be Blue – invest in the Bethel community and build relationships that will enrich, challenge and propel you forward.
“Be You” – Become the you that God created you to be, leaning into your unique skills and abilities so you can live out your calling and transform the world around you.