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Semisonic’s Dan Wilson Reflects On Prince’s Impact In the Minnesota Music Scene

Dan Wilson / Prince
Frederick M. Brown / Clive Brunskill, Getty Images

Fans all over the land are celebrating the release of two new records from the artist currently known as Prince today (Sept. 30). With his own ‘Art Official Age’ and 3rdEyeGirl’s ‘Plectrumelectrum,’ the iconic rock star continues to leave his unique stamp on the world of music, more than three decades into his career.

Prince’s impact is nothing new to those musicians who grew up in Minnesota. As his career grew and grew, those trying to make it in the cold state took note of what he was doing. One such musician is Dan Wilson, well-known for fronting Semisonic as well as writing Grammy Award winning songs with the likes of Adele and the Dixie Chicks.

We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Wilson. Growing up in Minnesota, he reminisced about the profound influence Prince had on local music.

“Even if the bands that I was really into didn’t sound at all like Prince, he was still loomed extremely large in our scene,” Wilson tells us. “At that time, he didn’t move to L.A. or New York. He kept everything at home, in-house. He took his high school friends and did his very best to make them famous.”

It might be hard to imagine that Prince might have had an influence on bands like Trip Shakespeare or Semisonic — not to mention the Replacements or Husker Du — but Wilson assures us that his impact goes much deeper than the sound of his music. “He was definitely the ultimate DIY artist. It got him in trouble many times,” he explains. “He embodied the kind of punk do-it-yourself ethic as well as any punk rock band ever did, and he kept it all in the Twin Cities.”

“Even the most unfunky bands totally watched very carefully what he did,” Wilson admits, with a bit of nostalgia in his voice. “I think he was the big part of making it all make sense. He was an example of how to give it a shot.”

Prince is celebrating his new albums with a worldwide broadcast of his release party tonight at Paisley Park — his Minnesota studio. Get details on the party here.

Stay tuned for our full interview with Wilson where he discusses his songwriting style, latest solo effort and more.

Next: Semisonic Frontman Dan Wilson Announces Solo U.K. Tour

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