Combining his many passions with his determination, Montclair State University student JT Bethea is making his creative mark with his many skills.
Bethea, originally from Egg Harbor Township, is a junior film and television major at Montclair State. He works as Booking Director at WMSC 90.3 and hosts “Madness To The Method” and “Identity Crisis” along with Terry Dickerson, a junior journalism and digital media major, and Cam Martin, a junior sports communication major.
Artistically, JT Untamed (his stage name) is a rapper, actor, producer and filmmaker. Since he was in first grade, he has demonstrated an amazing ability for writing. Now he is combing it with huge passion for content creation on social media.
One of his earliest memories is when he started creating parodies of some of his favorite songs.
“I just remember writing my own lyrics to the tune [from] ‘The Jungle Book,'” Bethea said. “It kind of took a spin from there.”
But everything would take an unexpected twist when, according to Bethea, at the age of 14, his mother brought home what would become his first contact with the world of music and the production of his own art.
“When I was a freshman in high school my mom [bought] the family a new computer,” Bethea said. “I was always on [it] downloading all [sorts] of software, playing with it.”
With the lapse of time—and a lot of self-training—Bethea composed his first song using GarageBand along with a quick poem to go with it. The song was recorded but never released.
It wasn’t until his high school years that he took his career seriously. This led him to focus more on improving his songwriting, recording and producing skills. As a result, he created new music he is proud of.
His growth as an artist and person has had its ups and downs, but the love and support from his loved ones is always present.
Shekinah Mays, his girlfriend, has witnessed all the hard work her partner constantly puts into his content. Mays especially supports him in his filmmaking career by motivating him to persist and helping him in any way she can.
“I think he’s a very professional artist,” Mays said. “He’s a hard worker and gives his all in anything he does. I’m so proud of him.”
Bethea said something that really represents him as an artist is his last EP, “Nocturnal Daydreams.”
“Nocturnal Daydreams,” which has a total of six songs, was released on June 17, 2022. Some of the songs are in collaboration with fellow artists like Ben Petruk, a senior journalism major, and Lilgrinch, Bethea’s hometown friend.
Bethea spoke on the project.
“Every song on it, with the exception of the last [one], has a message, has a meaning, and I pour my heart [and soul] on every song,” Bethea said. “My favorites are ‘Nocturnal Nightmare,‘ ‘Battle‘ and ‘Intro.'”
In October, Bethea directed a music video for his latest single “Snow,” a Christmas rap that is now available on all music platforms.
The creative process and production were challenging. Sabrina Hajsok, a senior film and television major, was the executive producer and director of this project. For Hajsok, it took a lot of effort and hard work from the entire team.
“There was much to do between writing the script, casting, putting together the crew, finding locations, costumes and so much more,” Hajsok said. “Overall, it was a great experience.”
Brent Brown, a junior social media and public relations major, was the director of photography on the set. Brown said it was a fun experience, especially because he was surrounded by his friends and made connections with amazing people.
Jared Tauber, a junior filmmaking major, acted as Kringle, the head elf in the music video. Tauber recounted one of his favorite moments during filming.
“My favorite part was shooting in [Bethea’s] car because we just got to dance to the song in an insulated, warm environment without [worrying] about blocking or continuity, just vibes,” Tauber said.
During the time it has taken him to forge his musical career, Bethea learned a fundamental lesson: the best thing you can do, in every sense of your life, is what you feel is right at the moment— everything will align in time.
“I feel like the best course [of] action is to take things one day at a time,” Bethea said. “One step at a time, one task at a time, one song at a time.”