DIANA REIN – BLUES QUEEN
DIANA REIN, FORMERLY KNOWN AS “THE KID FROM THAT HOME ALONE FLICK”, has been flying high with her album Queen Of My Castle. Red Hot Rock Magazine had the opportunity to spend some time speaking with Diana to discuss the goings-on of the rising blues guitarist and vocalist.
RED HOT ROCK MAGAZINE: Hey, Diana! How are you doing?
DIANA REIN: Hiiiii! How are ya?
RHRM: OK. Pretty good, thank you. Are you all ready?
DR: I am so ready. Yes.
RHRM: OK. Ha ha. Your album, Queen Of My Castle, has some really nice stuff on it. But before we get to that record, let’s go back to the very beginning for our readers who may not be aware of your history. When you were three years of age, your parents fled with you from communist Romania, and you ended up in Chicago. You did some acting as a kid and landed roles in the first two Home Alone films. But even before that, you already had some exposure to singing the blues because you were in Chicago, one of the meccas of the blues. As a little kid, your parents brought you to a club and somehow arranged for you to sit in with the band that was performing. I think that I’ve summarized everything nice and quick and succinctly there. Ha ha.
DR: You did. That was really good. I wish I could do it that quickly. Ha ha ha.
RHRM: Lots of carbs and caffeine today.
DR: Ha ha.
RHRM: Anyhow, when you were at that club as a little kid, was this getting up with the band planned or did your parents just throw you in at the deep end? Do you remember who it was with whom you sat in and what kind of experience that was for you?
DR: There’s a hotel, the Westin Hotel, in Chicago on Michigan Avenue. My mom worked at The Drake hotel for many years. When we were picking her up one night, we found out my uncle was playing at the Westin with a woman named Sheryl. My uncle played drums. He was playing with Sheryl at the Westin in like a lounge area. And when I went there, he asked Sheryl if I could sing a song, ‘cause he told her that I sang. She said, “Sure, what do you know?” And I said, “How about “I Just Called To Say I Love You”. Stevie Wonder.” And so, we did that song together. She got a kick out of it. And then she said, “Well, we’re doing a show at The Back Room. How about you have your parents bring you there and we’ll do a couple of songs together. We’ll do this song, maybe another song that you want to do.” And I was like, “That’s fun! Cool.” So, they set it up and we went there to The Back Room, and I sang “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston. I remember that. Ha ha. And then Sheryl kept me up on the stage to sing one called “Move It”. I didn’t know it, but she said, “Just repeat after me during the chorus and you’ll be fine.” So, I did that. That was over. I was gettin’ off the stage, but she told me to stay on and said that we were gonna be doing a blues song. And I said, “What’s that?” Ha ha. She said, “Just follow me. It’s a twelve-bar blues. Just follow me.” She brought another man, Oliver, up onstage, too, so I was right in the middle of them. I was like, “Wow. What’s going on?” I’m soaking it all in. So, she started first. And then she passed the mic to him. By the time the mic got to him, I heard what he was doing. I figured it out. Then they gave the mic to me. And I just went to like… green light, go. Ha ha ha.
RHRM: So, as a kid, did you ever get the opportunity to sit in with any of the blues legends still floating around in Chicago at that time?
DR: I. Did. Not.
RHRM: Ha ha ha!
DR: Ha ha. That was my introduction. And then… like, I was not even allowed in that club. We had to be there by a certain time and leave by a certain time because I wasn’t allowed. I was too little. And most of the clubs, I was too little for them. So, I didn’t. And by the time I was seventeen, I was off to college in California. I was busy with school and acting between that moment at The Back Room and then going to college. It’s been a really interesting ride because music was always there. Music was there before acting ever came in, since I was really little. Back in Romania, I was singing and doing things and asking my parents to play Bee Gees for me to go to sleep. Ha ha. Music was always there. But acting somehow came in and then turned my world upside down. I really honestly thought that that was gonna be my destiny in life. So, I went full force, straight ahead, for like fifteen years. But music kept always knocking at my door. Finally, I feel like, when my son was born… like, I had done my album, I had played at different spots in Chicago as a solo artist and did some band stuff. But I feel like, finally, when I understood what my true calling was, my son was a year old and I had just had a heart-to-heart with myself to try and figure out, you know, what’s the next step. And what is really my life’s purpose. So, I’m really happy that I finally came around to it. But it was a full circle and there were many different roads that led me to where I needed to be. Ha ha.
RHRM: It sounds as if you have lived life but that you are now where you are supposed to be. Before we jump into your newest album, you mentioned being a little kid in Romania. I know that you were very young, but what memories do you have of life in Romania at that time?
DR: The only thing I remember is leaving my grandparents at the airport in Romania and being separated from them. ‘Cause my parents, my sister and myself left first. And so, I just remember crying and my grandma tying the red bonnet that I had on, on my head, it’s like a red knit hat that she made for me, and she was tying it around my neck. Just crying and, like, leaving them. And then I think it was maybe two years later that we were able to bring them to America.
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