Dan Wilson

born on 20/5/1961 in Minneapolis, MN, United States

Dan Wilson (musician)

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Dan Wilson (musician)
Born May 20 1961
Minneapolis, Minnesota
United States

Daniel Dodd "Dan" Wilson (born May 20, 1961 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, Grammy-winning songwriter and producer. He is both a solo artist and the lead singer of the band Semisonic, for which he wrote the hits "Closing Time," "Secret Smile," and "Chemistry." Wilson was also a member of indie favorite Trip Shakespeare from the mid-1980s to early 1990s and of college bands Animal Dance, The Love Monsters and The Floating World in the early 1980s.[1]

Currently, Wilson is perhaps best known for his co-writing and collaborations with other artists. He contributed three songs to the 2011 album 21 by UK singer songwriter Adele,which has had the longest Top 5 run in history on the Billboard Album Chart. 21 is nominated for the 2012 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Wilson is part of that Grammy-nominated team, as he co-wrote and produced the hit single "Someone Like You" which held the #1 position for 5 weeks in the U.S. and has remained in the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 for months (EDIT: I don't see how 100 months is possible since the album was released approximately 12 months ago). The song has topped the charts in many other countries as well, including the U.K., Australia, France, and Germany. Wilson co-wrote the song "Home" by Dierks Bentley, the second single for Bentley's 2012 album Home, and the song is currently at #11 on the Billboard Country Singles Chart. Wilson co-wrote six songs for the 2010 Josh Groban album Illuminations, including the singles "Hidden Away" and "Higher Window," both of which charted on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Chart. Wilson co-wrote six songs with the Dixie Chicks for their 2006 album Taking the Long Way, which garnered the coveted Album of the Year at the 2007 Grammy Awards. Wilson himself received the 2007 Grammy Award for Song of the Year for "Not Ready to Make Nice," one of the songs he co wrote with the Dixie Chicks. His accolades as a songwriter have grown from success with his own band Semisonic. In 1999, Wilson was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for Semisonic's "Closing Time," which peaked at #1 on the Modern Rock Chart and #6 in the Top 40 Chart overall.

Wilson has collaborated with a wide range of other artists including The Band Perry, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Jason Mraz, Keith Urban, Carole King, James Morrison, Gin Wigmore, Missy Higgins, Gabe Dixon, Mike Doughty, KT Tunstall, Audrae Mae, Nicole Atkins, and Rachael Yamagata.

Wilson's critically acclaimed first solo album Free Life was released in October 2007. He produced the album himself, with renowned music guru Rick Rubin serving as executive producer and writing the liner notes. The eponymous title track, "Free Life," was featured in a number of American television programs. Wilson is currently working on his second solo album.


"I'm heavily influenced by Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Beatles, Radiohead, Jaco Pastorius, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, Neil Young. I'm lightly but happily influenced by Smashing Pumpkins, Elliott Smith, Bryan Adams, Pat Metheny, REM, Sigur Rós. In the past couple of years I've jammed and played music with a lot of different people and those experiences are turning into influences: Mike Doughty, Nickel Creek, Glen Phillips, The Hopefuls, Benmont Tench, Sheryl Crow, there are more. And in the past few years I've written songs and recorded with a lot of new friends and those experiences have also influenced my music: Rick Rubin, Mike Doughty, The Dixie Chicks, Rachael Yamagata, Jason Mraz, Bleu, Gabe Dixon, lots more."[2]

When asked to describe who he sounds like, he notes "I hope I sound like Neil Young, Sea Change by Beck, Iron and Wine. I know I sound like Semisonic (can't help that!), Beatles but trying not to. I've been listening to a lot of Louis Armstrong lately, somehow that's going to seep into my songwriting."[2]

Personal life

Dan is married to Diane Espaldon,[3] and has two daughters - Corazon or "Coco", born in 1997,[4] and Lily, adopted from the Philippines at age 2 in 2009.[5] Wilson attended Harvard University where he majored in visual arts (printmaking) and received the Louis Sudler Prize for outstanding artistic talent and achievement.[6] He had a successful painting career, represented by Thomas Barry Fine Arts, with his works in numerous private and corporate collections. He set his painting aside in the late 1990s to focus on music. His brother is musician Matt Wilson of the band The Twilight Hours, whom he also played with in Trip Shakespeare.


  • 2010 Dan & Matt Wilson Minneapolis 2010
  • 2009 Dan Wilson Live at the Pantages - A 2-CD document of Dan Wilson's concert at Minneapolis' Pantages Theater on December 13, 2008.[7]
  • 2008 "Live At The Electric Fetus"
  • 2008 "Be Free EP" digital release
  • 2007 Free Life
  • 2001 Dan Wilson Live @ the CCC
  • 1998 Dan Wilson Live @ Bryant Lake Bowl


  • 2003 One Night at First Avenue (live)
  • 2001 All About Chemistry
  • 1998 Feeling Strangely Fine
  • 1996 Great Divide
  • 1995 Pleasure EP (EP)
  • 1993 Pleasure

Trip Shakespeare

  • 1992 Volt (EP)
  • 1991 Lulu
  • 1990 Across the Universe
  • 1989 Are You Shakespearienced?

The Love Monsters

  • 1983 Kiss Away The Tears (7")

Featured-on albums

  • 2006 For New Orleans - track # 4 "I Can't Hold You"
  • 1999 Together in Concert: Live, Bic Runga Featuring Dan Wilson.

Producing and Songwriting Highlights

  • Co-wrote the song "Home" from the 2012 Dierks Bentley album Home
  • Co-produced and co-wrote the song "Someone Like You'" a #1 single from the 2011 Adele album, 21
  • Co-wrote the songs "One and Only" and "Don't You Remember" from the Adele album, 21
  • Co-wrote the song "Heavy Boots" from the 2011 Nicole Atkins album Mondo Amore
  • Co-wrote the song "Big Promises" from the 2010 Keith Urban album Get Closer[8]
  • Co-wrote the song "Ruling Me" with Rivers Cuomo featured on Weezer's 2010 album, Hurley.
  • Co-wrote the songs "Hidden Away," "Higher Window," "Bells of New York City," "Love Only Knows," "War At Home," "If I Walk Away" from the 2010 Josh Groban album Illuminations
  • Produced Storyhill's 2010 album Shade of the Trees as well as the band's 2007 album Storyhill.
  • Produced Jeremy Messersmith's 2008 album, The Silver City.
  • Produced Mike Doughty's 2008 album Golden Delicious and 2005 album Haughty Melodic.
  • Co-wrote the song "Not Ready To Make Nice," the 2007 Grammy Award for Song of the Year from the Dixie Chicks album Taking The Long Way
  • Co-wrote the songs "The Long Way Around," "Lullabye," " Easy Silence," "Voice Inside My Head," "So Hard" from the Dixie Chicks 2007 album Taking The Long Way

Awards and nominations


  1. "'Love Monsters' Take First In Council's 'Battle' of Bands" By GILBERT FUCHSBERG, The Harvard Crimson, February 07, 1983, captured at [1] on May 7, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 MySpace.com - Dan Wilson. MySpace.
  3. http://www.modbee.com/2007/10/25/103244/music-review-semisonics-dan-wilson.html
  4. http://www.answers.com/topic/semisonic-1
  5. http://danwilsonblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/huh-what-happened.html
  6. http://ofa.fas.harvard.edu/support/prizes.php
  7. Dan Wilson Music.com. Dan Wilson.
  8. [2]

External links

  • Dan Wilson Official website
  • DanWilson at MySpace
  • Dan Wilson, March 2011 AOL Spinner interview
  • 2010 Dan Wilson interview about Storyhill, covering the making of Shade of the Trees
This page was last modified 31.01.2012 21:26:57

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