You probably know Dan Wilson as the lead singer of Semisonic, the seminal band that brought you “Closing Time.” Though his output in that long-tenured alternative rock outfit is certainly remarkable in its own right, Wilson has made even more significant contributions to entertainment as a songwriter. Over the last 20 years, the songwriter and producer has worked with some of modern music’s biggest names, including collaborations with Taylor Swift, John Legend, Pink, Halsey, Chris Stapleton, and Jason Mraz. Most notably, he’s also won two Grammys for songs he wrote with Adele—including mega-hit “Someone Like You”—and The Chicks. Long before he was crafting some of the world’s most popular songs, Wilson was a Minnesota kid who was scoring a play at his high school.
Recently, My First Band host Tyler Maas was able to speak with Wilson about his prolific co-writing résumé, the new Semisonic EP, and his “Words + Music In 6 Seconds” inspirational cards. Eventually, the conversation turned to Wilson’s extensive and impressive musical history. Over the course of the hour discussion, the Grammy-winner opened up about family singalongs on the beaches of North Carolina, beginning to play guitar, playing with his brother (former My First Band guest Matt Wilson) in Trip Shakespeare and other groups, nearly giving up on music prior to the start of Semisonic, what it’s like to hear “Closing Time” out in public, and what he strives to bring to his collaborations with internationally-beloved musicians. Along the way, he talked about the time Matt kicked him out of a band while he was taking a bath.
My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering and Lakefront Brewery. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Semisonic (“You’re Not Alone”).