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Semisonic’s Dan Wilson discusses his Grammy win with Adele for “Someone Like You”


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Eight-time Grammy winner Adele was nothing if not modest last night, thanking her collaborators during each walk to the glittery stage. But those listening closely may have caught one name that stood out: Dan Wilson, the co-writer of the ubiquitous “Someone Like You.”

While no stranger to the award show (he picked up a Best Song statue for the Dixie Chick’s 2007 hit “Not Ready to Make Nice”), those of us who came of age during the ’90s know him primarily as the lead singer of seminal band Semisonic, and the songsmith behind the timeless “Closing Time.” So how did one of rock’s most underrated songwriters come to be associated with the up-and-coming British soul singer?

“[Producer] Rick Rubin introduced us,” Wilson tells IFC. “He really thought we could write something great together. I’ve done a bunch of writing on albums he’s produced and he thinks I’m good at bringing out the individuality of the artist. So my rock background is less of an issue than you might think.”

Having co-written songs with everyone from Weezer to Keith Urban, Wilson is used to the collaborative process. And, of course, what Adele brought to the relationship was instrumental in the creation of “Someone Like You.”

“Adele brought the first four or five lines of ‘Someone Like You”s first verse to the session,” says Wilson. “She actually showed me her idea for ‘Rumour Has It’ but I liked the super-sad start better. Adele is really clear in her vision. My impression is that she thought that with me she could write a really direct and emotional song, plainspoken almost, about the collapse of her relationship. Once we were into the song, it was a partnership. I probably worked more on the music and Adele focused on lyrics, but we each pushed really hard for both the music and the lyrics to be great. I think it took us the entire second day to get the second verse and the bridge just perfect. Almost word-by-word sometimes.”

The results were a global hit, reaching triple platinum in the United States and becoming the first single in a decade to sell a million copies in the UK. The song quickly became a radio mainstay, and a coming-out performance during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards helped lead “Someone Like You” to nearly 4 million downloads in the U.S. alone.

Wilson is quick to credit his partner’s chops for the single’s success.

“Adele has the whole package,” he says. “Great voice. Superbly musical sense of melody. Gift of gab when it comes to lyrics. Total commitment to her art. Vision. Stubbornness. Everything you want in an artist.”

If Adele comes calling, Wilson stands ready to work again with the singer. And for those wondering about his own project, he says a new Semisonic single could be in the future. “I’d love to do another Semisonic album. Every time we play together I feel that great groove that only comes from the three of us and I think, ‘I want more of this in the world!’ So hopefully yes.”

Dan Wilson can be found online at

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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