DK: Thanks Diana for taking the time with me today!
DR: You got it! I am very happy to be able to sit down and talk about everything that is up and coming!
DK: There is a lot of BUZZ around you these days and it is all good!
DR: Wow! That’s music to my ears!
DK: First, you have your CD release party coming up very soon at Joe’s Bar in Chicago. And second, you’ll be opening for the John Corbett band who, for those that don’t know played “Aiden” in HBO’s Sex in the City. How does this activity and positive vibe in your music career make you feel?
DR: It has been nothing short of inspiring. I took a break for about a year to find the perfect Producer for my album, to finally get some of my songs recorded, to mix the album and master it and finally package it. Now that I have the product in hand, I have been so open to getting it out there and finding any avenues that I can to reach people with my music. I am keeping the channels open and opportunities keep appearing. It has been really wonderful.
DK: What have been the hardest challenges you’ve went through and what challenges do you see ahead of you still?
DR: The hardest challenges that I have faced? I could go on and on!! (laughs)
One of those would be finding a producer that really held the same vision as I did for my music. Someone that allowed me to record my music the way that I envisioned it, someone who really supported my artistic sense and wanted me to succeed my way. I found that person in Ted Wulfers, who is an amazing solo artist himself. So he understood what it meant to help me out and not hurt me by completely changing my music to fit his needs. He didn’t have any ulterior motives with my album. He just wanted it to sound good and he wanted me to be happy.
Now that I have the album, the biggest challenge that I am facing is distribution and getting my music out there. I am a one woman show right now. I would really welcome getting a team together to help with the business side of things, but they have to be the right person, with the right energy. Otherwise, I am happy to be doing all of the little things myself since it is my business essentially. It is really rewarding when you work so hard at something yourself and start seeing results. At the same time, it is really rewarding when you find people that are willing to help you out because they believe in you. What more could an artist ask for?
DK: Do you do anything to help you stay focused on the tasks ahead of you to always be productive with your time?
DR: I can get a little scatter brained sometimes. I can definitely be a procrastinator. But a couple of things that have helped me are to workout regularly in order to clear my head. I stay away from the TV as much as possible because I can definitely get sucked in and waste hours in front of the tube. I am nuts about wanting people to know that I am serious about my career so I don’t sit on things for very long. I get things done fast otherwise they nag at me. For example, if someone writes me an email, I have to keep the ball rolling and get back to them ASAP because I am anxious to get stuff moving. Gotta make the most of my time. I think that if you are passionate about something, you don’t mind doing everything it takes to make it happen.
DK: Tell me a little bit about the album itself, how do you feel about it overall?
DR: The album, “The Back Room”, is a collaborative work between me and my Producer Ted Wulfers. I used to do shows with him and one day I was talking to him about the difficulties that I was having finding a Producer to record my songs the way that I envisioned them. He suggested that we lay down some tracks. We started recording songs in my home studio and Ted and I played most of the instruments. We brought in our drummer, Jeff Kelly, towards the end to add drums to all of the tunes. During the mixing stage, we had Van Christie of Pulseblack Records to make that happen. During the mastering stage we had Dan Stout over at Colossal mastering work on that. This album is a dream come true to me. Everyone that was involved put such a great touch to it. The name of the album actually came from The Back Room that is on Rush Street here in Chicago. When I was about 9 years old, I went there with my parents and was brought up onstage to do a blues improv with two blues singers. That was the first time that I received a standing ovation and my parents were in awe that I had just sung the blues with veterans when I was just a little kid. I have video of that event and I am hoping to get it up on the website soon. That was where it all began and I am fortunate to have that on celluloid!
DK: How long did it take you to produce the album?
DR: In total from the first track that we laid down to the packaging of the album, it took one year. It took awhile because of schedules, etc. But I think it worked out just perfectly because I may not have been ready until now. Everything worked out just perfectly.
DK: The songs themselves, what do they mean to you personally?
DR: The first song that I ever wrote is “Goodbye”. I used to live in Los Angeles and was pursuing acting out there. After awhile, I got tired of the scene out there and wanted to come back home. I was also involved in a relationship for years out there that I wouldn’t call “healthy”. I had to take a step back and get away from that destructive relationship. You think its love and you have a false sense of it being passionate, but it’s more like a drug that keeps you there and makes you die a little inside with each passing day. When I moved back home, I started singing all of the time and then picked up the guitar again and the songs came flowing out about that particular relationship. It was definitely therapy for me to create something beautiful out of something that was destroying my joy. Most of the songs on the album deal with love and love lost and learning to regain freedom and embrace independence. I know that a lot of people, women and men, can relate to that subject. There are a few songs on there that are very positive about love, true love and that was influenced by my current relationship. There is hope!!
DK: One of your biggest influences was Stevie Ray Vaughan, how did his influence affect the way you play guitar?
DR: God, he inspires me so much. I first saw his DVD that was Live From Austin in 2003. Up to that point, I was all about the acoustic guitar. But after seeing that show, I bought my first electric and started learning Pride N’ Joy and started focusing more on playing solo guitar. I have a good ear for it and I absolutely love it. I know that I have a long way to go in playing solo guitar, but it’s what I absolutely love. I always joke and say that I am going to be the first guitar playin’, blues grandma!! Buddy Guy, who I absolutely adore, is 70 years old and rocking out!! That’s gonna be me!
DK: Where did music begin with you in your life?
DR: I was born in Romania and my father was a music teacher out there and my aunt was a famous singer there. My parents have told me that I wouldn’t fall asleep in my crib unless they turned the radio on so that I could fall asleep to music. The Bee Gees were my favorite, I am told. I came to America when I was three years old. I always remember having a tape recorder to record myself singing my own made up songs. I had a song called “Yellow Baby” where I just kept repeating the words “Yellow Baby” in all sorts of styles and melody lines. It was just so fun for me! I remember the first records that I ever owned, actually my sister owned them and I would listen to them and sing and dance along. They were Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. We also loved Prince. I would always record songs that I loved from the radio onto tape and just sing them all day long.
DK: Did you take any lessons for guitar or singing at all?
DR: I took a few voice lessons when I was in high school and I am currently taking lessons with a wonderful voice teacher by the name of Tamara Anderson. I think that it is so important to know your instrument and to be mindful of how it works and how to manage it, with a rigorous voice schedule, it’s important to know when to use it and when to lay low and to be able to feel it out. I used to play piano when I was younger and I wrote a few compositions on the piano but I didn’t take it seriously. I would love to get back into playing the keys. But the true songwriting didn’t start until I picked up the guitar for some reason. Melodies just jumped out at me when I picked up the guitar. I was self taught in rhythm guitar. It was only after I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan and wanted to learn solo guitar that I looked for help from a teacher. But at the current moment, I am not taking guitar lessons. I think there is a lot of value in learning from a teacher, but I am at the point where I need to be listening more and playing from my soul.
DK: Were there any other bands that you’ve performed or worked with?
DR: After moving back to Chicago, I was singing backup for a country artist named Mark Lonsway. I always collaborated on some acoustic shows with Ted Wulfers. I was involved in a band called Triple Threat a year back. It was a great experience because that was the first time that I played the guitar and also sang in a band situation.
DK: What is your insider’s opinion on Chicago as a music city?
DR: The more and more that I am trying to infiltrate the scene and the more that I read about other’s experiences with Chicago, the more I realize that this is the place to be. Especially for independent singer/songwriters, there are so many places to play out here and there are so many opportunities for getting exposure. I am just getting started in finding out what a gem of a city this is for music. It’s so easy to think that another city is going to provide you with more opportunity, but there is so much to be had here, it is worth seeking out. Plus, the Midwest Chicago folks are the best!
DK: In order to give our readers more of a better idea of who you are as a person, here are a few more personal questions. Besides music, what else occupies your days?
DR: I have been working as a headshot photographer during the day which is really awesome seeing as I had a past in acting and really respect actors. It’s been really rewarding to help others achieve their goals.
DK: Do you read many books or watch movies much?
DR: I only go to the movies once in awhile when there is a big film opening like “300”, “Spiderman”, “Superman”, “Batman”. God, that’s a lot of “mans!!” Anyway, I tend to get antsy if I have to sit in front of the TV for a long time because I always feel like that is time that I can be playing or practicing. I usually have to just set time for the movies and make sure that I have practiced for the day before I can feel comfortable lounging and relaxing. I have read a bunch of books lately on the Law of Attraction. I jumped on “The Secret” bandwagon, even though I know that those principles have been around for ages. I try to live my life in a positive way because I know that there is no progression in negative energy unless you use it to create. I love reading about metaphysical topics and about the music industry, like famous band bios and reference books about how the industry works.
DK: What are your views on the world as it is right now?
DR: Wow. That’s a loaded question. My heart goes out to the soldiers who are fighting for us. My heart feels an emptiness for politics in general. My heart yearns for humanity and for the good in people to lift us out from under this cloud of hopelessness. I keep hoping that the positive energy that I put out will be contagious and will be absorbed by everyone around me so that other people around those people will start feeling the positivity until we have an uplifting world to live in. I am a very compassionate person and that’s why I tend to stay away from politics because I feel that it is so power driven, I can’t relate.
I am just learning how to be more green and to help out with the situation that we are facing now with global warming. There are basic things that we can do that start in the home. Recycle; be mindful of the amount of water we use, use natural cleaners in the home instead of harsh chemical products that not only affect our lungs but the environment. Buy organic foods, eat natural, whole foods, turn off appliances when we are not home and unplug them. Use bags made of material instead of using paper or plastic bags because even the paper bags require that we cut down millions of trees a year. It’s a learning process to change our ways, but if it can help our children and their children, I think it’s worth it.
DK: And now back to your music, do you have anything else you’d like our readers to know about your music and your album?
DR: My album was a recording in time. I will always be evolving and growing and I would hope that my creative expression is welcome and appreciated and used in a good way to inspire others.
DK: Any other final thoughts to share?
DR: I almost stopped thinking about pursuing music when I came across a friend who works at a hospital with children. She told me that she played my songs for the kids at the hospital and they would always ask her to play my songs again because they enjoyed them so much and said that “I had a pretty voice.” That brought me to tears and I knew that I had to keep going because it was only then that I realized that I could touch people and connect with people through this medium. Music is my life and music will help me to share my love with others. It fills my heart!
Diana Rein’s music combines soulful vocals with poetic lyrics that heal the hearts of her listeners and reflect her personal life.
Growing up in Chicago, Diana spent her days singing the music of Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Sheryl Crow. Her Uncle was a drummer at a blues club which is where she got her first taste for the Chicago blues. But it wasn’t until 2005, when she saw a DVD of Stevie Ray Vaughan, that Diana became obsessed with the blues, songwriting and learning guitar. She began teaching herself how to play and wrote songs as if music was a long lost friend. That snowballed into open mics, solo shows, playing with multiple bands and a solo album.
In the digital age, Diana has become a presence on Youtube with over 2.4 million views and the number grows by the thousands everyday.
“I was so amazed the first time that I heard fans singing my lyrics at a show. It was such a wonderful and encouraging feeling to know that people were supporting something that I love to do.”~Diana Rein
Diana’s first album “The Back Room” (named after the Chicago club where she first sang the blues at the age of 8!) features beautiful acoustic based ballads like “Till You Came Along” and “Will Love Ever Last”, as well as rockin’ electric driven songs such as “So Sexy” and “Goodbye”.
“Without a doubt, the star on Diana Rein’s album, The Back Room, is her evocative, lofty voice. Her delivery and range propel the bubbling opener, “You’ll Be Mine,” and lends grace and subtly to the title track.
– Patrick Conlan of Illinois Entertainer
Diana is currently in California songwriting and recording a succession of singles to share with her fans. She also recently completed a side project; a short film which she wrote and starred in called “Gypsy Gift”. The film is about a young woman propelled on an inner journey to find herself and her voice again after the loss of her mother. Diana’s song “Paper house” is featured in the film.
Diana Rein provides a loyal local following, a growing National and International fan base and an amazing powerhouse voice that will give you chills!