"Drumming was like a superpower to me as a kid, it became a lifestyle very early as I was always traveling and gigging with my brothers throughout the 90’s and often missing school to be on the road."
Our inciting interview with Joshua Zacheus is all you might need to read to hone your talent into perfection. Popularly known as Jstar, Joshua Zacheus is a drummer from Eldorado Park, South Africa who has been in the industry for over 27 years. He Started drumming in his dad’s church at age 4, and has pushed on to tour the world with some of the biggest artists in South Africa, landing endorsements with Yamaha, Zildjian & Promark. Jstar has evolved from a drummer into an all-round performer, including dancing, singing, and is also now a recording and performing artist.
Despite having a variety of talents, drumming remains his core craft. He shares briefly his drumming story, highs and lows, and most importantly, survival tips and lessons learned over the years in this interview. His fatherhood journey is also an intriguing part of our section with him and also an eye opener to some values he earned at some point in life. Jstar is obviously a multi-talented artist, and his craft can be entirely summed into Music.
“Managing the value of my skill in the industry was the most difficult as I was always keen to just play, help and share my ideas. Monetizing my intellectual property I would say was my biggest struggle.”
Can you remember your first contact with drums? Tell us about it.
It all started with a very short lesson from my dad, after watching me show great interest in drums playing with our backyard church drum kit from around age 3. The lesson was something like this: 4 on the hats, kick on one and snare on 3 and the rest was history. I think Before I realized what was happening, I was the permanent drummer in my dads church at the age of 4. Having two older brothers who both played bass and guitar was enough inspiration for me to find my place in Pops’ church and it was behind the drums.
“My Music or songs are all inspired by life's different experiences, spirituality and places I’ve traveled around the world. I feel like my soul is always generating new ideas and pitching it to me at the most random times.”
Was there an exact point where you decided that drumming was something you wanted to do and what informed your decision?
I recall playing at a talent show for our choir in 1993, people got out of their seats and started throwing money at the drums. Looking back I see that as God’s promise to take care of me through my gift, it is definitely a huge defining moment.
Drumming was like a superpower to me as a kid, it became a lifestyle very early as I was always traveling and gigging with my brothers throughout the 90’s and often missing school to be on the road.
That lifestyle became all I wanted to be part of and in essence it gave me my identity and confidence to be my unique self.
Many Creatives find it hard to transition from doing what they really enjoy to monetizing their skills because they fear that they may have to sometimes suppress their instincts and the depth of their art. Was it hard for you to start monetizing your skill as a drummer?
Honestly it was very difficult for me to start putting a price tag on my gift to make a living, after being raised to serve and save with my gift but not necessarily to do business. Managing the value of my skill in the industry was the most difficult as I was always keen to just play, help and share my ideas. Monetizing my intellectual property I would say was my biggest struggle.
Did you have to change anything about the uniqueness of your art when you monetized your skill as a drummer?
Besides being more intentional, I didn’t have to change much other than staying consistent in my daily practice/creative routines and maintaining my discipline while evolving as a drummer into a music director and producer which in turn helped me see live performance and presentation in a new light.
Is there a ritual you practice often to get yourself “in the zone” before sitting before your Drum sets?
Doing rudiments and even finger tutting while stretching and warming up my hands always goes with some prayer and meditation. Man in the mirror moments are also key to getting in the zone.
As a songwriter, what Are your songs mostly inspired by?
My Music or songs are all inspired by life's different experiences, spirituality and places I’ve traveled around the world. I feel like my soul is always generating new ideas and pitching it to me at the most random times.
In all your pictures, you look very satisfied and happy when you’re before drums, asides drumming, what else makes you that excited?
I would have to say dancing and singing, as Those two gifts have always lived in the shadow of my drumming ability, however it is right up there in terms of my love for it and the joy it brings me.
As a father, what is a major lesson that fatherhood has taught you and how does this lesson reflect in your life and work as an artist?
It definitely taught me the power of presence, being present and being able to give yourself, your time, when you have nothing else to give. Like with my first born I had to be there when I didn’t understand, I had to grow through my failures and find my rhythm knowing that nothing can change the relationship I have with music, it helped me better understand the blood connection with my daughter even better and the music in our veins.