Diana Rein is truly one of those rare, multi-talented threats worth taking note of; not only is she an accomplished singer, songwriter, and guitarist, she’s also a former child actress who you might just remember as Kevin McCallister’s older cousin, Sondra, in 1990’s Home Alone, and it’s 1992 follow up, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
But more on that later. Rein’s main focus these days is without a doubt her music (her last professional acting credit was actually in 2011), and when I spoke to her via phone this past week, it was apparent that’s where her passion truly lies.
Of course being a musician in 2020 is no easy feat, so one of the first things I wanted to know was how she’s handled being a musician throughout the pandemic. Rein tells me; “I think I was actually in Virginia when I decided to cancel the rest of my first tour when things started getting really bad earlier this year. Before I went on the tour, my life was at home with my 8-year-old, doing music, social media, and recording from home. So I’m kind of back to doing that again, and that’s okay for me. I can still feel like I can create a reach where not being on tour isn’t like a total detriment though, so that’s nice.”
Rein’s third solo album, Queen of my Castle, has been out since last year. I inquired how she felt it held up compared to her previous work, to which she replied; “It was my first album with the label Gulf Coast Records, who were just starting out, so that kind of gave it a nice little push. A lot of people seem to still love it, but I’m also in a different mind space now because of all that’s happened since then, and I’m writing new music right now, too. It was going so well on my first tour, getting such a good response, so it’s just such an absolute shame that I got cut short of that experience.”
However, Rein does inform me she has been working on new material since then; “I came back and was learning more of the technical stuff of creating music from home for a couple of months. Then I took out my acoustic guitar and starting writing for about two weeks before I took about another week and wrote lyrics to all them (around twenty total). Then I went into the process of recording, mixing, and mastering all of them from beginning to end. So we’ll see what happens with them, maybe they’ll be released as singles, or another album next year.”
I was also curious what some of Rein’s favorite go-to songs were while playing live, and her response was; “Well, there’s two that really come to mind; “Heat” from Queen of my Castle has got a really amazing riff that I love playing, and when the solo comes around its super fun. And my song “Midnight Line” has a really awesome beat, and whenever I see that coming up on my set list I get so excited! A couple of songs that aren’t my own though both happen to be Hendrix songs; “Little Wing,” which I completely get lost in more than any other song. And then “All Along the Watchtower” I usually end my shows with. Something about Hendrix, just the way he wrote, out of all of them, those two just take me to a different place. And he was probably writing from a different realm, too (laughs)!”
As far as when you might be able to catch her live for yourself, Rein explains; “There were actually some shows from this year that got phased into 2021. I think there’s some dates right now for California, Arizona, and Colorado, so there should definitely be a few if things start looking up. I don’t think it’s going to be that busy of a year for me live, but you never know! But I do think I’m going to try to stay more regional next year since things are still not yet certain.”
Of course, I had to ask Diana about her involvement in one of the biggest holiday films of all time, the previously mentioned Home Alone (and it’s first sequel). She tells me; “I cannot believe it’s been thirty years, but it just feels like it’s stood the test of time! I’m on TikTok now, and just did a recent video on there that talked about it being thirty, and showed my scene in the beginning of the first film where I say my lines to Joe Peschi (which are, “Hi,” “Yeah,” and “No!”). The response I’ve been getting has been overwhelming! There’s so many people who watch it multiple times, every year! It’s like their holiday tradition, and that makes me feel SO good that it’s still around like it is! And I didn’t know when I was eleven that it was going to be this, kind of cult-following type of film someday! John Hughes was such an amazing writer and producer (Hughes gave directorial duties at the time to newcomer, Chris Columbus), and I’m just SO grateful to have had a small part in his history.”
And with Christmas being just next week, I wondered what some of Rein’s own traditions might be. She tells me; “Well, I was never one for traditions, but I’m starting a new one this year. My dog Roxy just passed away on November 30, and I’m getting little personalized oranaments made for him, our other dog and cat, and ones for my husband and son. So I’m just going to do new ones that we can add to our tree every year from now on.”
You can keep up with all of Rein’s endeavors at dianarein.com, as well as follow her on all the major social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming, thirty-year anniversary piece on Home Alone; expect it to drop early this week!