John Wayne Schulz

John Wayne SchulzJohn Wayne Schulz, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a small-town cowboy from Karnes County, Texas. He could well be described as a “Jack of All Trades” – singer-songwriter, pilot, flight instructor, horse trainer, and a soldier in the United States Marine Corps.

Whether or not he would serve in the military was never a question. He comes from a patriotic family where every generation has served in the U.S. military from the Civil War to the present day. He told Deseret News, “I’ve always wanted to serve our country and serve in the military. I knew that the Marine Corps was where I wanted to go. I wanted to be (one of) the guys that … would see the enemy face to face.”

Schulz grew up on a working cattle ranch and quickly grew to love riding and team roping, a sport he still enjoys today. After graduating high school in 2006, he went to college and received an associate degree in Aviation Science. In 2011, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and during his time in the infantry, he became a Certified Flight Instructor and currently works for SkyWest Airlines as a pilot instructor.

In an interview with the Deseret News, he said, “When I’m not doing things for the marines, I’m singing. When I’m not singing, I’m flying airplanes. When I’m not flying airplanes, I’m training horses cause that’s my all-time passion. When I’m not doing that, (he says with a laugh) I’m hunting for a wife. It usually doesn’t go very well.”

Since his two stints on NBC’s American Idol in 2010 and 2016, climbing his way to the top 40 in both seasons, John Wayne Schulz has carved out an impressive niche for himself over the past several years, with a solid fanbase who have supported him through his journey because of his clean country tunes and unassuming demeanor. When asked who his major influences have been throughout his career, he answers, “John Wayne, Momma, and God.” He is inspired by such singers and musicians such as George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Brad Paisley.

He has managed to perform on countless stages in front of his fans. Building his career from the ground up, one show at a time, he is “forging a path all his own through the music scene without the aid of a major record label and has begun constructing his own field of musical dreams.” He has played to sold out crowds across Texas opening shows for some of Nashville’s top music artists such as Tanya Tucker, Charlie Pride, Alabama, Sammy Kershaw, Tracy Byrd, Joe Nichols, and many more.

Schulz also served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, he had just received his mission call in 2007 when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite her illness, she encouraged her son to serve an honorable mission, and asked him to audition for American Idol when he returned home.

His first American Idol audition went well and earned him a trip to Hollywood, but he was eliminated from the show shortly after arriving. He considers it to have been a blessing in disguise as he could spend more time with his mother, who passed away shortly afterward. In 2016, he decided to give American Idol another try. He auditioned singing “The Dance” by Garth Brooks in honor of his mom. Once again, he made it through to Hollywood, but was eliminated before becoming a finalist.

He says that he is grateful for the experience that American Idol gave him, as it taught him to always stay true to himself. He told the Deseret News, “The producers on the show wanted me to change the music I was singing, and they wanted to change my dress — the way I looked. And I grew up in Texas a cowboy. I always wear a nice button-up shirt tucked in with a nice pair of pants, and my cowboy hat and my boots. They wanted (me) to be a little more pop country … put a t-shirt on, do your hair, have a chain hanging out of your pockets — and that wasn’t me.”

John Wayne Schulz - MarineJohn Wayne Schulz is currently on a yearlong deployment overseas with the U.S. Marines. Before deploying, he recorded five original singles in Rosewood Studios in Tyler, Texas, collaborating with some of the top musicians in the industry, including artists who have worked with the Eagles, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. His production team released one of his singles, “Beautiful Water,” on his YouTube channel on 30 June 2018, and will release one of his singles every two months or so on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube until he returns home. He told the Deseret News, “Sacrificing a year of my life to serve my country — it’s no sacrifice at all. I’m honored to do it. I feel very blessed to be where I’m at in my life. I’m turning in my guitar for a gun.”

Upon returning home from his deployment, Schultz plans on hitting the road with a new band that he’s put together, playing songs inspired by the old Texas country genre he grew up with. He said, “When I write music, I like it to be centered around a principle that can be taught, whether it’s a principle of faith, hope, a principle of getting through a tough time — or maybe you’re just happy to be alive. You’re happy that the sun came up that day.”

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