Tanya Redinger Interview

Tanya Redinger talks to Essentials about her music, strange coincidences, and childhood ambitions

As a child, I wanted to be a spy! I would sneak around the house, dressed up in my mom’s long coats, carrying a notepad and collecting clues. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I love problem solving and puzzles, but I struggled to find my career path – there was no “ah-ha!” moment for me. I only picked up a guitar at the age of 22, and I was instantly enamoured.

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All my life I have loved music, but I never believed that I had the talent or even ability to play an instrument. Strumming the guitar for the first time, I knew I’d met a life-long love. I’m in a band called Up Sexy. The name started out as a joke: our band approaches things a bit tongue in cheek, and we’re all about having fun. Travis plays guitar, sings, and leads the band with me. The other two members, Conrad and Ricky, have been friends with us for the past two years. We play vibey, acoustic-style sets; a mix of folk-pop and a dash of rock. Song-writing is like a therapeutic process for me.

I draw inspiration from my own life. The first song I wrote for the band is about a treasured moment that Travis and I shared: we were travelling to KwaZulu-Natal to spend time with our families, and Travis stopped on the side of the road when he saw a field filled with hay bales. We jumped the fence, ran through the hay, and, spontaneously, we started to sokkie! I wrote a song called Hay Fields about that moment. I just wanted to record a memory and practise my song-writing, but this song has now become one of our most popular tracks.

Travis and I met in our twenties. One day, when I showed him a photograph from my second birthday party, we were both shocked to see him in the photo! We were both born in Harding, in KwaZuluNatal, and the photo led us to discover that our families knew each other when we were kids. My mom is incredibly artistic, and that spirit of creativity permeated my childhood. For two months, when I was 10 years old, my mom homeschooled me. The closest local school was run down, and the next nearest, a very expensive private school, was out of my parents’ budget. It’s amazing the length a mother’s love can stretch to – she wasn’t a teacher, but my mom did her best, and those few months taught me a lot about independence at a very young age.

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