There’s a funny feeling you get watching Wayne Holtz perform, gyrating wildly, belting out his take-no-prisoners lyrics in that signature baritone. You don’t have a hard time imagining him capturing the world’s imagination. And in a way he’s already begun to do so. The San Antonio Current wrote a piece on him last year, he’s been featured on the Ross Matthews podcast and in April he played the Arneson River Theater at Maverick Music Festival.
“It was really nice. I had never been so far away from the audience before,” he says reflecting on his experience at the festival, “It was interesting seeing some of the videos afterward from the audience’s perspective.” His presence there was no small matter. Holtz closed the Arneson on the final night of the festival, the same night such behemoths as Bastille and The Naked and Famous were performing on the main stage. “It was an honor to be on the same bill as some of the other people that were there.” Wayne says.
Holtz describing his experiences performing. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
“I didn’t grow up with too many opportunities as far as being able to go out and do stuff. I relied a lot on inner imagination.”
The pop star is certainly experiencing increased recognition, which is affording him better and better opportunities. What led to this point in his life? Where did the man of a thousand costume changes come from? Let’s start at the beginning. Wayne Holtz grew up just outside Loop 410 and he describes himself as being a more introverted kid. “I didn’t grow up with too many opportunities as far as being able to go out and do stuff. I relied a lot on inner imagination.” Holtz would attend Communication Arts High School, outside Loop 1604, where he was elected school historian four years in a row due to his interest and skill in photography. “It was a great way to meet people who were in my realm and open up to them. I kind of just stalked everyone for four years.” He jokes.
After high school, Wayne pursued his photography in San Antonio. His interest in music (he played viola and cello in middle school) drew him to the music scene. “It was that which kind of brought me downtown to work and live.” Holtz’s interest in performance was reflected in his taste in television. “Dancing with the Stars-I am obsessed with the show.” Beyond this, a huge influence on him was Lady GaGa, whose Monster Ball DVD informed his attitude and sense of showmanship. In the midst of everything, Wayne Holtz started exploring options to create his own music. “I tried to get a band together for a long time and no one really wanted to do it,” he recounts, “Then Bobby Rivas of Islands and Tigers reached out to me and said he had heard that I wanted to do music and that he was down to produce something for me. I guess it was an opportunity for him to get a new genre under his belt.” The rest is recent history.
Holtz owning the stage in a performance of "Hey Bae." Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
Over the next year, Holtz has performed his own original material in countless venues, from dive bars to festival stages. He even writes his own lyrics. “They’re very direct and I think they’re very refreshing and catchy and it’s not an ambiguous sound where you have to think about it too much. It’s not vague. I say exactly what’s in my head and rhyme it very well. In fact they’re just conversations that rhyme.” In addition to this, he trains his dancers in the choreography he has created. In the past he worked with a dance group called House of Kenzo, but most recently he prepared all new dancers a week prior to his performance at Maverick Music Festival.
Wayne interpreting his lyrics through dance. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
His training for all of this? Three dance classes and four years of karaoke. It’s an astounding realization considering his complete mastery of the stage while he performs, not to mention his surprisingly calm demeanor off stage. Not that Wayne thinks it’s that astounding: “Yeah of course there’s a difference between me on and off stage. When you get on stage you have to give it your full on, you can’t really be wafty about it. I would say I have a lot more direct attitude on stage. As opposed to during the day when I love spending time at home with my dogs, you know what I mean? Drawing, eating, or watching Wendy Williams or something. It’s all the same person but I guess there are different sides to the same person.”
"The world would be a much calmer place if everyone could be open about who they are and not feel so confined.”
Wayne Holtz has no problem showing off all sides of his person on stage. “I’m here to be gay as hell,” he says, “But I would say as my lyrics go it’s more me talking about myself in general. The world would be a much calmer place if everyone could be open about who they are and not feel so confined.” One creative side of his person inspires his iconic costume choices. “Every show is different,” He explains, “Sometimes it’s a little more casual. Other times I’ll put together props and I’ll pick a theme. Sometimes I’m doing five songs and five outfits and there’s nothing more to it than that. Sometimes it has depth and sometimes it’s just me wearing my pajamas.”
Music brought him downtown in the first place, but why has he decided to remain? “I definitely do the majority of my performances downtown,” says Holtz, “When I’m downtown during the day I do a lot of walking and running errands. Or I’m photographing people and getting some exercise. Maybe I’m meeting up with people to discuss random stuff. There’s also nightlife. I still like going to shows.” For Wayne, it’s just obvious to be downtown. “The downtown of every city is where things are happening. C’mon, there’s even a song about it- ‘Downtown.’ So when you’re talking about how you’re always bored, go to where things are happening!”
There you have it, from San Antonio’s newest pop star himself.