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 chosen by the club owner as an opening solo piano act for Thomas' performance, placing him directly in front of Guthrie Thomas who asked Nilsen to record on Eagle Records. Nilsen recorded three solo piano projects on Eagle before leaving the label and becoming the founder of Magic Wing.
With a new recording in the works in 1986, John had considered starting his own record label. There were many changes, not only in his life, but also in the music industry during the recording of Blue Pacific and he felt the timing was right for him to start his own record label. 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 better manage his career with his own label, since John felt he understood the business model of an independent record label.
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 was turning away from vinyl records and was moving toward a smaller product and a clearer sound.
Magic Wing has released fifteen CDs 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, who is an exceptional pianist, writer and arranger and has toured throughout the globe.
John has often mentioned founding the Magic Wing recording label is the best business decision he's ever made. John 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 one million CDs worldwide, a near impossible milestone in the life of small, independent record labels.