Diana Rein Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
Answer: I would call my music blues based and organic with melodic influences and phrasing on vocals and guitar. I would describe myself as a woman that loves to express herself through the power of music. And I hope that my songs evoke feelings that lead to emotions that lead to inspiration.
Lamitschka: How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?
Answer: This last year I have been very hard at work with first of all, raising money to record my album Queen of My Castle. During this time I discovered a way to make necklaces with my guitar strings to sell and raise money for my album and it’s been great to see how many people like them. I never thought that I would make jewelry but it was a nice surprise. I was also very grateful because Walter Trout and Philip Sayce gave me some of their guitar strings to create necklaces to help me raise money. Last year, I was also very excited to have some of my first shows as a trio, like the SoCal Divas of Blues festival where I got to play some of my new songs.
Lamitschka: What is your latest CD and how’s it doing?
Answer: My lastest CD has not been released yet. As I mentioned it’s called Queen of My Castle and it is being Produced by Michael Leasure who some might know as Walter Trout’s drummer of eleven years. He and I were friends and were looking for an opportunity to work together. He has a lot of experience and a really great ear, so I wanted to have his guidance on this album since a large portion of it is Blues. We have been working for over a year with the arrangements of the songs and recording vocals and guitars and making sure it all sounds great. We have done the best we could while working around busy schedules. Working with Michael has really improved my musical ear and my singing and playing. It’s been a great year of growth.
Lamitschka: How did you choose the title for the CD? Is there a story behind the name?
Answer: I was writing songs and one of them was Queen of My Castle. I thought it should be the title right away. I felt like a lot of the songs I was writing at the time were about being empowered and knowing my strengths and power as a female. It took me awhile to step into that role because when I was younger, I gave my power away to others. I lost myself and I would have loved to be able to tell my younger self to be more confident and not be led astray from my dreams and passions by others.
Lamitschka: Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?
Answer: I usually go through writing spurts where I won’t write for awhile and then suddenly write like 20 songs in a few weeks. I really enjoy the process and this year I would like to write more on a daily basis instead of in chunks. And for this particular process for the current album, I wrote and recorded demos of the songs and presented them to Michael and we got to work on arranging them.
Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).
Answer: I really wanted to have a nice collection of 12 bar blues songs, even though when I listen to them, there is a modern spin on them just because I can’t get away from my innate style of writing. My constant influences are Stevie Ray Vaughan, David Gilmour, Philip Sayce, Walter Trout, T Bone Walker, BB King. One of the songs on the album is called Pure Soul and I wrote that for SRV. There’s also a slow blues song called Chill of the Night, a latin influenced blues song called My Love, there is also a really cool song called The Midnight Line that I got inspired to write after doing a cover song of Magic Sam’s All Your Love, then there is a real scorcher called Heat that is different from any other song on the album.
Lamitschka: What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?
Answer: Well, I produced and recorded the last CD on my own and for the current album I have Micheal producing it. So I feel like the songs have leveled up and there has been really great attention to detail and making everything sound like it fits really well. I also feel that there are more traditional 12 bar blues songs on the album.
Lamitschka: What will your next single be?
Answer: The single from my new album that will come out first will most likely be Queen of My Castle because it is the title song of the album and it has an awesome groove.
Lamitschka: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?
Answer: Any song that keeps me creating. Any song that starts off as a thought and ends up in physical form is exciting for me.
Lamitschka: What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what’s the story behind it?
Answer: I loved recording Pure Soul because it is a song for Stevie Ray Vaughan and I had such a hard time trying to come up with the lyrics because I felt like they had to be perfect. I had a complete block on the lyrics and after 3 days I looked at a photo of Stevie and asked him to help me write the song and the words came out like magic. I also loved recording the guitar solo for the song because it felt really powerful but melodic at the same time.
Lamitschka: How much creative control do you have over your music?
Answer: 100% creative control because I am an independent artist.
Lamitschka: Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?
Answer: I love when fans write me and tell me that I inspired them to pick up their guitar again. I am also very grateful to the fans that contribute to the making of my album and that have told me that they wanted to help because my music helped them through tough time. Music is a healer and it’s so beautiful that it can be a gift, especially because I love doing it so much.
Lamitschka: Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?
Answer: I am influenced by many genres and artists. It’s hard to explain. I love the blues and that is my main source of inspiration….especially watching guitar players that are so effortless in their playing and who pick all of the right notes that make you feel something deeply. But I was raised with all sorts of music so sometimes a pop song can really get me going, or a rock song, or trance song. I was born singing and loving music. My father was a music teacher and my Aunt was a famous singer in Romania. So it’s in my blood.
Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s music scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?
Answer: I think music is in an interesting spot now because there aren’t as many gate keepers. Independent artists can really make a mark in the Industry if their music is good and if it resonates with the listeners. It will just keep getting better as far as being able to get your music heard.
Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s music industry?
Answer: I think that people want what is authentic and I don’t know of a better time to be just that. Independent artists don’t have to be with a record label that tells them what to write, how to dress, how to sing, etc. We have a lot of freedom nowadays. There is quite a lot of competition out there but I really do feel that the best rises to the top. But at least everyone has a chance to see if they can have success.
Lamitschka: If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Answer: It would be amazing if artist’s could get paid more for the streaming of their music because right now we only get a very small percentage.
Lamitschka: As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favorite activity?
Answer: My favorite activity is just being able to sit with my guitar to create. I love the days where I have nothing to do except to be with my guitar and write music or just play and see what sounds come together into a cool idea.
Lamitschka: Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?
Answer: Well, I feel like since I play the blues and am a bit outside of the lines since I am not fully traditional, it’s an interesting place to be in. I have so much respect for the Blues because it allows me to have a voice with my guitar when emotions really need an instrument as the vehicle to get my feelings out there. But I do push the envelope a bit because I am bringing my own flavor to it. I want the freedom to create without borders. I don’t want to censor myself so I am open to just allowing whatever comes and not labeling it.
Lamitschka: Before you became a star, were your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?
Answer: My family has always been hugely supportive of me. They know that I was born to do this and that my happiest moments in life are when I am making music.
Lamitschka: What inspired you to become an artist?
Answer: I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t creating. This is all I have ever known. I think the inspiration comes from a higher power and the message is so clear if you are an artist that you must create in some way, shape or form otherwise you don’t feel complete and life feels like a struggle.
Lamitschka: What inspired you to become a songwriter?
Answer: The need to express myself and understand life and all of the challenges that I had to go through. It’s like a form of therapy and getting in touch with your inner self to try and understand who you are and what you stand for…..and to share the life lessons I was learning in life to help other people.
Lamitschka: What drives you?
Answer: My son Vaughn. He is 6 years old and I love being an example for him to show him that you can follow your dreams and your passion. I am also driven by a high need to learn new things constantly, to follow my interests and become a Master at something.
Lamitschka: What’s unique about you that will differentiate you from other artists?
Answer: I have an interesting background since I was born in Romania and I feel like the hard times I had growing up give me an honesty with my music. I also used to listen to a lot of pop and rock music when I was younger so I feel like I bring an element of melody to the Blues. Not to mention that the musicians I used to watch when I was younger where all around great Entertainers, so I feel like I am constantly trying to work and improve on that for live shows so that it’s a great show for the people that come out to see me.
Lamitschka: What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
Answer: I would say it would have to be feeling stuck sometimes due to finances. I would put out an album every six months if I had the funds to do it. And also touring for the same reason…..it is expensive and risky to go out on the road if you are an Independent musician.
Lamitschka: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?
Answer: Recording and Producing my last album Long Road all on my own. It took me 18 months to create and it was worth it. Also recording my new album Queen of My Castle has been such a highlight because I have gotten to work with Michael Leasure as the Producer for the album and it has been amazing to learn more about the art of recording.
Lamitschka: Who is your biggest critic, yourself or others?
Answer: Myself of course. I am very critical of everything that I do. I am very in tune with how I feel about everything that I do musically and I work really hard on getting better and better all of the time.
Lamitschka: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
Answer: I like to sit on my awesome big couch with my dogs and watch a movie or do research on youtube about all sorts of topics including music, health, guitar and gear reviews….
Lamitschka: Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?
Answer: I would love more time. Since I am a Mom I only have a certain number of hours to do music and time seems to fly by so fast. I would literally want to wake up every day and just do music until I have to go to sleep.
Lamitschka: What hopes and desires do you have?
Answer: To have a long and prosperous life in music so that I can keep writing awesome songs, keep getting better at guitar and do what I love to do.
Lamitschka: What has been the biggest disappointment in your life?
Answer: I would have to say when anyone close to me passes away. I don’t understand death and it’s a struggle to come to terms with people that I love not being on this Earth anymore.
Lamitschka: Many European fans travel to the United States to attend the several of the music festivals for the opportunity to see so many of their favorite artists, bands and celebrities. Will you be participating and how will the fans be able to find you?
Answer: I hope that with the release of my new album that I will get opportunities to play numerous festivals in the US. I don’t have the names of the exact festivals yet but anything that I book goes right on my website shows page at www.dianarein.com
Lamitschka: Is there any place you haven’t played that you would like to?
Answer: I would like to play all over the world and experience many venues and Countries.
Lamitschka: What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?
Answer: My fans should expect to see me with a band, usually a trio, singing my original songs and filling the venue with some awesome guitar tones and playing.
Lamitschka: When you’re on tour, do you have time to play tourist?
Answer: I haven’t been on a full tour yet but I have friends that tour a lot. My answer would be that when you are on tour, it is very rare to play tourist. If you are working with a booking agency, they usually try to schedule you so that you play as often as possible within a span of time. If you are an Independent and have the gift of time and money, you can space your shows out more and make it more possible to be a tourist on the way to shows.
Lamitschka: Do fans mob you everywhere you go or do they respect your privacy?
Answer: I don’t have fans mob me…..yet….hopefully never….but no, I don’t have that problem.
Lamitschka: Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?
Answer: Yes I do….you can find videos and music and also guitar string jewelry that I make from my own guitar strings. I also have some special guitar string necklaces on my website that are made from Walter Trout’s guitar strings.
Lamitschka: Tell us about the fan club and how people can join it.
Answer: I don’t officially have a fan club yet on my website. I am working on it. But I have fans that have crowdfunded my new album and we have our own little private group on FB.
Lamitschka: What’s the best compliment a fan has ever given you?
Answer: That I inspired them to pick up the guitar again and play.
Lamitschka: What’s your favorite song that you wish you could have recorded?
Answer: Purple Rain by Prince
Lamitschka: What message would you like to send your European fans?
Answer: I hear that you are awesome when it comes to your appreciation and love of music. I can’t wait to be able to play for you.
Lamitschka: Describe what a perfect day is like for you.
Answer: A perfect day would be waking up to do some meditation and yoga without distractions. Then I would get ready for the day and go to my music room and practice and create, only coming out to eat something if I was hungry. I am pretty simple. All I need is some peace and my guitar and to make music.