BMHOF Class of 2005
Mike Nowakowski of Buffalo, NY has been involved in the Polka Music field for over 40 years, starting his own polka band at age 12. He has been successful in all aspects of the industry. While recognized as an outstanding musician, he has also been president and executive producer of his own Sunshine record label since 1984, managing all details of the recording industry. There are nearly 120 bands on Sunshine and it has been a major label in the Polka Music industry. It's reach extends to over 350 radio stations, as well as promoters and music reviewers across the U.S. and Canada. Many of the bands on the label have gone on to national prominence with the help of Sunshine's promotion. The label has had eleven Grammy-nominated recordings in the last seven years. Nowakowski himself received a nomination in 2002 for his accordion work on Jerry Darlak & the Touch band's album "Let the Good Times Roll," and again in 2003 with the same band on "Polkas in Black & White." After his first band, The Varitones, he played with the Modernaires from 1971 until 1976 and then formed The Sunshine Band, which recorded several albums and played for over fifteen years throughout the United States and Canada. After this, came The Buffalo Knewz, The Dynatones and the band that he still plays with today, Jerry Darlak and The Touch. Nowakowski has proven that he is comfortable on either side of the recording booth, recording several full-length albums, as an accordionist, as well as being featured as a pianist on several others. In 2004, Nowakowski was named a member of the International Polka Association's Music Hall of Fame, which is headquartered in Chicago and includes other polka legends Frankie Yankovic, Li'l Wally Jagiello, Marion Lush, Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr., and Buffalo's Dave "Scrubby" Seweryniak. Mike Nowakowski's love of polka music has created a career that many can only dream of. He is ever vigilant in his quest to promote the music and the industry with new talent.
Back - 2005