Six String Siren Diana Rein Interview





2016 LA Critics Award winner for Best Blues Artist, Best Female CD (Album: Long Road) and Fan Favorite!

In mythology, Sirens were dangerous yet beautiful creatures that would lure sailors with enchanting songs and make them crash onto the rocky coast. It is said that some crews survived by using wax in their ears to keep from being compelled.

But what if the music was turned up? What if it was amplified? What if there were soaring guitar tones that shook your bones and cut through to your soul?

You’d be helpless.

Get ready to meet your fate with Diana Rein on her magnetic Indie Blues sophomore album “Long Road”.

See if you can escape the artist named "the Six String Siren" by her adoring fans. With a sharp tongue, driving blues guitars and melodic solos  — it won’t take long before you fall under her spell.

Born in Romania and raised in Chicago, Diana came onto the scene as an acoustic rhythm guitar player in her hometown with the release of her first album of 8 originals "The Back Room".

"On Long Road, Diana Rein doesn't just show off her incredible guitar playing, which is reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan with a sprinkling of Buddy Guy & Jimi Hendrix, but also her powerful voice !! Killer Vocals, Killer Guitar, Killer Rock !! With music like this, Diana's Rein as "Queen of Blues/Rock" will be a long one !! " - Michael Trike McGrath of Trike's Trax

It wasn't long before she was doing solo and band shows all around Chicago including venues like: The Double Door, Fitzgerald's, Joe's Bar, Lucille's, festivals, college shows and playing a set at The Taste of Chicago right before Bonnie Raitt hit the main stage.

Diana is also working on a solo project/one woman band show that will be an intimate treat for her fans. Her music is saturated with the Blues at its core and infused with guitar driven Rock and Roots. Courtesy of dianarein.com



Interview

Six String Siren Diana Rein Interview

Scott - Hi Diana, thank you for agreeing to do an interview w/ my website Guitarz Forever.com ...

Diana- Of course! It's my pleasure to talk with you.
 
Scott - Give our readers a short but descriptive label for your style of music.

Diana- I play blues based music, sometimes traditional sounding and sometimes with a slight hint of Blues and sometimes Blues Rockin'. I love writing melodies you will remember for my vocals and guitar solos that sit on top of a bluesy beat and vibe.
 
What is the name of your New Album and why the title?

The name of the album is Long Road. I had taken a break from music because of a vocal polyp and focused on acting instead since I could conceal that polyp better if I didn't have to sing. That lasted for a few years until an acting exercise left me without a voice for two weeks and I had to have surgery. That was one of the scariest things I have had to do in my life. And the whole not talking for 3 weeks after the surgery was really intense too. Not very long after that I had my son Vaughn and when he was a year old I decided to get back in the saddle with music and write one song......that became Long Road. It's my "Music is Back in my LIfe" career marker. That also became my guitar marker because it was at that point that I decided to commit my life to mastering the guitar.
 
What is the genesis for the NEW Album?

This album was my dream to make, it was a cry to let out my creativity and all that I had held inside for so long. All of the pain, grief, frustration, angst, desire and passion that was laying dormant in me during the struggles with my voice, being a new Mom and finally wanting to release the fruits of my labor from learning how to play guitar. I wanted a voice again, an identity. I lost sight of myself and my purpose for awhile there. It was bit of a learning curve...actually A LOT of a learning curve. But putting in the time and digging deep is what makes it that much more special in the end.
 
What differentiates this album from your other recordings?

This album is my second since I began my career and what makes it unique is that I recorded it on my own. I had to learn how to do it all when I had the time, especially as a new Mom in demand! Everything you hear on the album I either recorded or I programmed it the way I wanted it to sound. When it came time for the mixing stage, I tried to do that on my own as well, but I gave up because I wanted it to sound right for radio airplay and I had no clue if there were certain requirements for that. So I outsourced to a studio in San Diego to mix it the way that I wanted it and it made my life a whole lot easier at that point. It took me a year and half to make this album from the writing of the music to all of the recording so I was ready for it to be DONE already.
 
How do you come up with your songs? Is it one song writer or more of a collaborated effort with other musicians?

I am pretty selfish with my songwriting. It is a form of therapy for me and for figuring myself out so I want it to be purely from me. I have my way of doing things, my process, in order to make sure that I don't miss any ideas. It's like a painter that creates a painting. It fulfills me to know that all of the strokes on a song came from me and that I can mold it in whatever way that I wish.

 
So Diana, tell me a little bit of what you’ve learned about human nature during making this new production.

I learned that I was lazy in my 20's because when I had the time in my 20's I squandered it and was really distracted. Who knew that with a toddler I could get my act together in 3 years whereas I never made it happen before. And you know what it took? Picking my guitar up everyday and committing to steps everyday that got me closer to finishing my album, learning how to play lead guitar and rehabilitating my voice. It all adds up and I definitely put in the time everyday in one way or another.
 
What are your personal highlights on the new album? Why?

My personal highlights are playing guitar driven blues rock that I only dreamed of playing in years past. I would go to Blues shows in Chicago and be that one person that would station myself in front of the guitar player just staring all night at the way their fingers moved on the fretboard and trying to dissect it all. It's much easier for me to do that now because I am still that girl....just with more knowledge.....but back then I would just leave the show frustrated and clueless as to how I was going to get it. I had to "get to it" to get it, but like I said before I was distracted and didn't care about Father time the same way I do now, especially after having a child.





Scott - Where do you live, play live, and  record?

Diana- I live in Southern California and I record in my home. As far as playing live, I have also been sticking to SoCal for now. I am from Chicago and still have family there so I am trying to figure out a good way to share my music with Californians, Chicagoans and places in between and making it a family affair with my husband and little guy.
 
Are there a lot of places to play your style of music in and around your area? If so, could you name some venues?

I am getting ready to get out on the scene with a one woman band act which puts me in a more solo act/singer/songwriter category. So in that case, there are opportunities for playing at Wineries like Wilson Creek and Fazeli's, Farmer's Markets in Riverside County and San Diego. There are also many restaurants in the area that have live music like Crush & Brew, Baily's and Luke's.

How often when you start an idea for song, does it actually get finished?

I have a multitude of song ideas that I come up with on my guitar that are stored in a folder on my computer. I will probably continue working on some of those and some will never become anything. The only time that I know that I will finish a song...and quickly, is when I start writing lyrics for it.....then I know it's a keeper and I will stay on that thing until I complete it.
 
I was wondering if you ever hear music in your dreams and turn them into songs?

That has never happened to me. I am too crazy about making sure that I am always setup to where I can record my idea so I don't lose it that I just shut the door to my songwriting department in my brain unless I have access to a recorder and am coherent about what I am doing. On the other hand, when I turn my songwriting department on it just goes and goes and goes. It's pretty amazing. I like the ability to turn it on and off otherwise I couldn't function and be normal in my day to day life. There are times when I will be driving and I will think of guitar riff and I will sing it into my phone with my voice so I don't forget it. But there's nothing like having the guitar in hand to start up an idea.
 
Are you a schooled guitar player or a self-taught guitar player?

I picked up the guitar when I was 16 and learned by ear and learned my first chords from a book. The acoustic that I learned on was too oversized for me and I ended up letting it go when I left home for college. Then when I got back to the guitar, I just started composing songs on a Baby Taylor and started playing out at venues in Chicago. After doing that for awhile I started taking some lead guitar lessons but I didn't have the discipline and squandered my time honestly. It wasn't until I had my son that I said it's now or never girl, your dream has always been to play lead guitar. Do it now or else. I took lessons for a year to keep me accountable and by that point I was extremely hooked and you have to pry me away from the guitar now. I love it so much.
 
Did You develop your style by concept or by messing around on the neck playing what sounded cool to you?

I feel like every guitarist has their own unique style and way of being melodic. I just listened to a performance that I did at The Taste of Chicago when I played a solo on an acoustic guitar before taking any lessons and I heard a familiarity with my phrasing that I still do to this day after lessons. I find it hard for me to learn other player's riffs note for note because I have a terrible memory for it and when push comes to shove and I am onstage, all of that goes out the window and I play the melody that I hear in that moment. It's good to expand your riff language so that things don't get complacent but I truly feel that just like everyone has their own way that they walk and talk, the same goes for how they play the guitar. It's so unique to each player.



"All of the songs in the album explain, in different levels, parts of her as a musician and as a person. In “Wild One” she even makes a reference to one of her biggest influences, Stevie Ray Vaughan, who could easily be imagined stomping his feet and nodding in approval listening to her solos in the electric guitar driven “Down Down Down” “Livin’ Loud” and “Green Light.” Sofia AvilaBlues Rock Review



Scott - So, what type of guitars do you play and why?

Diana - I play Fender Stratocasters. I have an almost 20 year old Red Cali Strat that my father bought me 11 years ago and I have a reissue 62 Hot Rod Vintage Strat. Those are my main squeezes. I have a Les Paul Epiphone that never comes out of its case really. Stevie Ray Vaughan turned me on to playing lead guitar and because I loved his sound so much, I gravitated towards Fender Strats. I love their tone and I love their clarity. My 62 reissue has a really thick neck so it definitely adds to a more robust tone. Strats are also lighter than Gibsons and that's also a plus for me. I am pretty loyal to my two Strats. I want them to grow with me so I tend to stick to those two rather than acquiring a ton of guitars that won't get played often. I still have the Les Paul because my father bought it for me and it has sentimental value. I used it for one of my youtube cover songs and got a nice gritty rockin' tone so it has its place, but it just doesn't come around very often.
 
What type of amps do you use? Do you use different amps for the studio vs live shows... If so, why?

For the recording of my album I used a Ceriatone JM50 amp. It is like a mini Dumble amp that was built in Malaysia. Ceriatone is a great company and really worked with me to get what I wanted. I have used that one the most live so far. I also have a 1975 Blackface Super Reverb that I haven't gotten the chance to play live yet because it is so loud but I have had the pleasure of having a back line Super Reverb to play for a festival or two this year. For smaller shows/radio interviews I just purchased a Roland Street Cube EX which I love because it is super light and has inputs for a vocal mic and my mixing board. And for practicing at home I have a Yamaha THR10C and I love the hall delay on that unit, sounds so dreamy. You need some good wattage to play live stages but when you are playing bars having a really loud amp can be overbearing so you just have to keep that in mind when thinking about your tools for each gig.
 
Do you have any endorsement with instrument and gear companies?

Not yet, I have had some offers but they didn't end up being the right fit.
 
What were your favorite recording artists and or bands a teenager?

The first song that I taught myself on the guitar was Far Behind by Candlebox, that guitar intro still gives me chills. I was also a huge fan of Sheryl Crow, Pearl Jam (Yellow Ledbetter was my favorite), Bonnie Raitt,  Eric Clapton (I listened to the album From the Cradle a lot), Gwen Stefani, Led Zeppelin, Big Head Todd and the Monsters (the song "If you can't slow down" was on constant replay for me). I still hear these songs now and I get goose bumps. That's how I know when a song is good and I resonate with it. Instant goosebumps. So, that was pretty much my high school soundtrack.



Photo Credit - Shawna Sarnowski

"Diana Rein is one of the blues world’s rising stars. Long Road is the result of Rein’s being able to combine blues and rock seamlessly, not always the easiest thing to accomplish. “Wild One” is a stellar tune that exhibits in your grill guitar riffs, along with haunting vocals that have the listener playing along on air guitar! One of our favorites is “Livin’ Loud,” a slow-grooving number with a dark beat, destined to have heads bobbing throughout the song. Rein confirms she is a rare talent with the ability to capture the listener and hold them throughout the album. A gem that should be in every blues fan’s music library."

Steve Crowley - American Blues Scene Magazine



Who have been your main influences on your career to date?

As far as singing goes, I don't have a main influence. I have listened to many singers from pop, to rock, to country and blues. The women that come to mind are Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Celine Dion, Bekka Bramlett, June Carter Cash, Etta James, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin.

When it comes to the guitar, my main influences are easily SRV, Albert King, Eric Clapton, Philip Sayce and David Gilmour. I love listening to their solos the most. I will never tire of listening to these amazing players.
 
How has your guitar playing evolved over the years?

I remember when I first attempted to play lead guitar years ago and my hands would sweat and I would get really faint because I was nervous. Nowadays, the practice time that I have put in really got rid of those nerves and I get so excited to play for people. But technically, I have become a smarter player, I actually know what I am attempting to do and I know what other players are doing when I watch them. I have developed my ear for playing the guitar so finding my way and learning songs has become easier and quicker. When you first start playing it sounds more like a run on sentence and I have learned how to stop doing that and play more themes, or I try my best to do that. Sometimes you have nights where you can't stop playing notes and other nights, when you don't feel rushed and you don't feel the pressure to prove yourself, you can take your time and just talk effortlessly with your guitar.
 
What are you listening to these days?

SRV always and I have my car Sirius station set to channel 70 BB King's Bluesville so I can hear the Blues all of the time. Now that you got me thinking about my high school play list, I am going to check out the new Candlebox album and Big Head Todd album as well. I am also putting together a song list that is half originals/half covers of about 60 songs to do for my solo act. So I am listening to a lot of my own songs and covers by the likes of Hendrix, Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, BB King, Albert King, Freddie King....





Scott - How did this all come about?

Diana - Well, doing a solo act came from my desire to keep getting better as a guitarist and musician. I came up with a way to play drums with my feet, guitar with my hands, add a looper and my guitar pedals into the mix and sing. It's a one woman band. I also love it because it gives me the freedom to book shows and take my family along for the ride if we do mini-tours to smaller venues. I can connect with fans on a more intimate level and have a great exchange with people. It's all about connection, actually seeing the difference you are creating with your music and getting feedback firsthand. Might sound old fashioned but I like it that way.
 
I also don't want to forget this... Tell us about any other things you may be in involved in or any special interest besides music that is close to your heart?

Other than music, I am a full time Mom. Nothing could be closer to my heart than my son and my husband. Family is super important to keep me grounded and fulfilled. I plan on homeschooling my son and being a part of his growth and education. It's very important to me that he knows that I am there for him and that he is a priority. I am also a proponent of veganism. I came to being a vegan from a moral and health standpoint. I am not a zealot and I don't pass judgement, but I choose to not be cruel to any beings on this planet. I can nourish myself without hurting any animals very easily and I sleep better at night because of it.
 
Diana I would like to thank you for your time and candor with our loyal readers and keep on fighting the good fight to bring us some awesome music.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my thoughts and music Scott.

I hope that your readers received some inspiration to keep music at the forefront of their lives, whether it's playing an instrument or being a listener after reading this article. I also hope that it intrigued you to check out my music to see what one artist in the original music scene is creating. I am a proponent and advocate for original music and the Blues and I am so happy to have had the platform to get this message to you. Share original music with your kids, share the Blues with your kids, share some great classic rock songs with your kids. Keep the appreciation for music going strong!!!!! Thank you!!!







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