Anyone who knows Tanya Winch knows these things about her: she’s a native Wisconsinite, her hugs are monumental, and music is in her soul.
Tanya’s first harmonies were back home in the Lutheran church, singing her heart out alongside her jazz-band grandfather, her barbershop quartet dad, her composer uncles, and her two troubadour and pianist brothers. She took up violin at age five and went on to study piano, clarinet, saxophone, and voice throughout her childhood. It seems she was a bird destined to sing.
After finishing university in the Midwest, Tanya made the road trip to Los Angeles in search of inspiration and sunshine. She liked it there so much that she decided to stick around a while. For the next 20 years, she enjoyed life as an independent musician in LA – from studying with Grammy winning songwriters and vocal coaches to gigging nationwide as a founding member of bands Crazy Cat George and One Real Peach. She played the House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. Her bands brought home both an LA Music and Rock City Music Award. She co-wrote and sang backup with her brother, Sam Winch, whose songs are featured on the beloved Grey’s Anatomy TV series. She toured with celebrated singer songwriters as backup for the Anna Montgomery Band and Sally Zito Experience. You could even find her grooving and crooning smooth backup vocals for Grammy winner Shelby Lynne on the Tonight Show.
By 2006, Tanya was ready to switch gears. Hoping to find some Americana music, a slower pace, (and maybe her very own cowboy), she packed up her arsenal of happy house plants and musical instruments and settled in Austin. After some time gigging around Texas, she connected with Girl Guitar Austin, where she taught for ten years, helping hundreds of women fulfill their goals of learning music. She volunteered teaching music to foster children with the Kids in a New Groove organization (transitioned to Partnerships for Children) and was twice honored with their Mentor of the Year award. Tanya also fronted several of her own projects over the years including The Good Huggers, Dirty Mercy Band, and Whiskey Tango Family Band. She continues to sing backup for more bands than she can count.
Tanya has called Austin home for 15 years now. She still writes songs and plays guitar every day. She still teaches private voice, guitar, piano, and songwriting to students of all ages. She still believes that playing music with others can lift your heart and bring you connection and joy.And of course, she still gives monumental hugs.*
You can find her in South Austin with her talented musician partner (and cowboy at heart) Doug Pegg, her two genius step-sons, and her ridiculously lovable Chihuahua mix, Boz Scaggs.
*Covid has sadly put a damper on hugs at this time, along with in-person lessons and indoor gigs. We’ll get back to all of the above when it’s safe to do so. Here’s to happiness and health in 2021!