, born August 24, 1984, is an American singer-songwriter from Nashville, TN. McDonald is currently a Top 24 contestant on Season 10 of American Idol. Since 2005, he is the lead singer of the band Hightide Blues renamed The Grand Magnolias in 2010.
Paul McDonald was born in Huntsville, Alabama to Dave and Susan McDonald. He also has a sister, Beth. In 2002, McDonald graduated from Huntsville High School and attended college at Auburn University to pursue a degree in Biomedical Sciences to become a pediatric dentist.
In the Spring of 2005, he and fellow student Jonathan Pears began writing songs together, formed the band Hightide Blues. Adding two other members, Phillip Gayle and Scott Rollins, they began touring small clubs around the state of Alabama. In 2006, McDonald put his education on hold to pursue a full-time career in music. After a limited edition self-titled EP Hightide Blues in 2007, the band released in 2008 a self-produced album, Love Come Easy, which was recorded in an old boarding school turned recording studio operated by David Briggs called the House of David in Nashville, TN. The album garnered radio play from the songs "Dreamin' Alone" and "Let it Roll". Also included is a song called "Dancing with the Angels (Meg's Song)". McDonald wrote this song the night before the funeral of a very close friend to the band, Meg Ingram, who passed away from cancer at the young age of 21. The band performed annually at the Meg Ingram Memorial Scholarship benefit concert in Huntsville. Hightide Blues has also had some success on the internet winning multiple awards on OurStage.com including over fifteen Top 10 placements as well as reaching number 2 on Best of Pop for 2011. From 2007-2010, the band continued touring around the country performing with musicians such as the Zac Brown Band, Sarah Barellis, and JJ Grey and Mofro. Hightide Blues also played festivals such as the Bonnaroo Music Festival, the Florida Music Festival, the Hangout Festival, and the Lynyrd Skynrd Simple Man Cruise. Between 2007-2010, Hightide Blues averaged around 150-200 shows per year.
The Grand Magnolias
In August 2010, McDonald and his band members moved to Nashville, TN and launched a campaign to let their fans choose a new name for the band. The group's first album under its new name, entitled The Grand Magnolias was released in 2011. The songs are written by McDonald and band member Jonathan Pears and produced by Dan Hannon and Ken Coomer.