John Nilsen's recording career began in 1983 when, Sea of Inspiration, a collection of original piano solos, was released on Eagle Records in Los Angeles, Ca. Guthrie Thomas, the founder of Eagle Records, was on tour as a singer/songwriter and had a tour stop in Ashland, Or. during the winter of 1983. Nilsen had been selected as an opening act for Thomas' performance by the club owner of the Vintage Inn, placing him directly in front of Guthrie Thomas. Thomas asked Nilsen to record on Eagle Records after hearing his performance. Nilsen recorded three solo piano projects on Eagle before leaving the label and starting the Magic Wing label.
With a new recording in the works in 1986, John Nilsen started his own record label. There were many changes in the music industry during the recording of Nilsen's 4th recording, Blue Pacific. John had paid close attention to the way the industry worked, from both an artist's creative viewpoint and a record label's business perspective, and felt that he could manage his career with his own label. He guessed right.
Magic Wing was founded in 1986 and Blue Pacific was the label's first release. "From The Sky", released in 1989, became Magic Wing's first CD/cassette only release, as the industry continued to turn away from vinyl while moving toward a smaller, CD product.
The Magic Wing recording label has released twenty recordings to date, all of them being John Nilsen releases, except the collection of piano solos entitled "Remembering" by John's brother-in-law, Dirk Damonte, an exceptional pianist, writer and arranger.
John has often mentioned founding the Magic Wing recording label is the best business decision he's ever made. He benefited substantially from his early years in the industry, when he was given the opportunity to watch and learn from others. The Magic Wing label has now sold well over one million CDs worldwide, a near impossible milestone in the life of an independent record label.