Singer, songwriter, musician, and OU IT Services Specialist, Joshua Jackson is a senior Public Relations major who goes by the stage name “Zalta.” He released a soul/R&B EP under that same name on January of this year. He was born and raised in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, which is just a few hours from the Norman campus.
Outside of being an excellent member of our Services team, he uses his time to focus on writing and producing music. Music has always been a part of his life, and he says that his family has had the greatest influence on his music career. We were excited that Josh agreed to sit down and answer some questions about his time in IT and his passion projects.
What was it like when you first came to OU from Okmulgee?
My graduating class had about 76 people in it. So, coming here I was around a bunch of people that I didn’t know, that didn’t look like me or talk like me. Coming to OU was necessary for me because whenever I go back home I still see people that are stuck in the same loop but being at OU has actually broke me out of that. It taught me how to interact and get a long with people that didn’t exactly live the same way that I did — it’s been really cool.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
What I hope to do is music! I enjoy PR and writing, and I’m looking at PR firms, but I would ultimately like to work in the PR department of a record label. I think that would help me get my foot in the door on the business side of music.
Cool! Can you tell us about your time with IT?
IT is one of the first jobs that I’ve had where I actually enjoy the people that I work with. I got the job because I like to help people and even though I didn’t know a lot about IT-related stuff, they really worked with me on that. Being able to help other people has been the main thing that I’ve gotten from working here. I really like working in OneU the most because I get to work hands on with the customers. I’m not very extroverted and it helps me interact with people better!
What is the thing that you most take away from working at IT?
The thing that I most take away from IT would be the connections that I’ve made with everyone that I work with. I’ve met a lot of people that I hope to be friends with after college. For me, the only friends I really had before this were the ones from home. So, coming up here and making friends was something that was challenging but rewarding.
How did you get into music?
I got into music because I grew up in church. My grandpa is a pastor, and my dad was a deacon. A lot of people on my dad’s side of the family are musicians and singers. Every Sunday I would see my dad sing and a lot of my singing I got from him — honestly I think he’s a better singer than me. I think that my voice is a mix between my mom’s and my dad’s because his is harsher and hers is softer. My dad has influenced me the most when it comes to the music that I grew up listening to. It was a lot of 70’s and 80’s soul music and Michael Jackson, of course.
I started getting local shows in Okmulgee but I didn’t really start taking music seriously until high school–that’s when I started writing with my friends. Even the friends I have that don’t make music are helping promote my stuff. So, when I got up here it wasn’t too hard to find events to start singing at. That’s what has propelled me to get to where I’m at now.
What kind of shows do you do on campus?
I’ve done shows for UPB (Union Programming Board) like Sound Lounge. I’ve done some for Relay For Life, which I really like doing because I know a lot of people that have been affected by cancer. I’ve done one for the Gender and Equality Center (GEC) called the Pink & Black Ball. I’m doing Boomer Fest again this semester too. I also just mess around on the piano in the union, and I probably bother a lot of people when I do that (laughs).
Tell us about your EP that you just released!
It’s a five-track EP that’s on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud. It’s self-titled and is called “Zalta.” I recorded it in my bedroom, and it was a challenge for me because I wanted to learn how to master a little better. It was almost more of an experiment than anything else, but I like the feedback that it’s getting. With me, I’m not the best at communicating face-to-face until I’m comfortable around people so music is a good way to convey emotion. A lot of the songs I wrote are personal experiences or there are songs like “Maybelline” and “Pinot Noir” that are fun ones I like to make with my friends. When people listen to it I want them to feel it, but I also want people to have fun listening to it.
That’s awesome. Okay last question: What piece of technology do you use the most?
Outside of music I use my PS4. I’ve been playing a lot of Fortnite. Actually, forget that. I’m going to be honest with you… I really like to play Sims on my computer. I have to check in on my wife and kids every now and then.
Haha! Thanks for talking with us Josh.