Paul McDonald (born William Paul McDonald; August 29, 1984) is an American singer-songwriter from Huntsville, Alabama, who as of 2011, resides in Nashville, Tennessee. McDonald placed 8th on the tenth season of American Idol and since 2005, he has been the lead singer of the band Hightide Blues, renamed The Grand Magnolias in 2010. In 2011, he and Nikki Reed were married.
1 Early life,
2.1 Hightide Blues,
2.2 The Grand Magnolias,
2.3 American Idol
2.3.1 Performances and results,
3 Personal life,
4.2 Extended plays,
6 External links,
McDonald was born to Susan and David McDonald, in Auburn/Opelika. His father is a clinical psychologist and his mother teaches occupational therapy at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. McDonald was raised in Huntsville, Alabama. He is a graduate of Huntsville High School, where he also played wide receiver on the varsity football team, and he was in the school's play, "The Wizard of Oz", directed by Mike Chappell.
McDonald attended Auburn University and joined The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. McDonald left Auburn University six hours short of graduation to focus on his growing music career in Nashville, Tennessee.
In the spring of 2005, he and fellow Auburn student Jonathan Pears began writing songs together, forming the band Hightide Blues. Adding two other members, Cragon Sims and Rob Foster, 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, Tennessee. The album garnered radio play from the songs "Dreamin' Alone" and "Let It Roll". Also included was a song called "Dancing with the Angels (Meg's Song)". McDonald wrote this song the night before the funeral of a close friend to the band, Meg Ingram, who died of cancer at the age of 21. McDonald performed the song at her memorial service. The band performs annually at the Meg Ingram Memorial Scholarship benefit concert in Huntsville.
Hightide Blues has also had success on the Internet, winning multiple awards on OurStage.com including over 15 Top 10 placements, as well as reaching number 2 on Best of Pop for 2011. From 2007 to 2010, the band continued touring around the country, performing with musicians such as the Zac Brown Band, Sarah Bareilles, 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 Skynyrd Simple Man Cruise. Between 2007 and 2010, Hightide Blues averaged around 150-200 shows per year.
The Grand Magnolias:
In August 2010, McDonald and his band members moved to Nashville, Tennessee, 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 were written by McDonald and band member Jonathan Pears and produced by Dan Hannon and Ken Coomer. The album has seen a boost in sales since Paul McDonald's appearance on American Idol, and it reached number twelve on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and had sold 9,000 copies by April 27, 2011. iTunes pulled the album from its store, without explanation, and the sales dropped off 60% from the previous week. A week later the album returned, again without explanation.
When the band learned that McDonald had made it through to the Hollywood round they put together a content release campaign to maximize the exposure from the show.
On January 27, 2011, McDonald received a golden ticket to compete in Hollywood from judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson, and made it into the Top 24 by singing an original song, "American Dreams." He was one of ten candidates chosen as a finalist based on public voting. Thirteen competed in the finals.
Since entering the competition, McDonald has made use of the social networking site Twitter to communicate with his fans and promote his band, The Grand Magnolias. The album also debuted on the Billboard Heatseekers chart before McDonald even sang in the show's semi-final round. He was also the first 2011 Idol hopeful to reach 50,000 followers on his newly created official American Idol Twitter account. McDonald continues to be one of the most popular American Idol Season 10 competitors on the social networking site.
McDonald was eliminated from the show on April 14, 2011, with a finish of 8th place.
Performances and results:
Hollywood Round, Part 1
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Hollywood Round, Part 2
"Carry On Wayward Son"
Hollywood Round, Part 3
Las Vegas Round
Songs of The Beatles Group Performance
Hollywood Round Final
The Grand Magnolias
Top 24 (12 Men)
Your Personal Idol
"Come Pick Me Up"
Year You Were Born
"I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues"
"The Tracks of My Tears"
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
"Folsom Prison Blues"
Songs from the Movies
"Old Time Rock and Roll" -- Risky Business
^Note 1 Due to the judges using their one save to save Casey Abrams, the Top 11 remained intact for another week, when two contestants were eliminated.,
^Note 2 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results in the particular night, McDonald was in the bottom three, but was the only contestant declared safe as both Naima Adedapo and Thia Megia were eliminated.,
McDonald was one of the 11 performers in the 2011 American Idols Live Tour, which began in West Valley City, Utah, on July 6, 2011, and ended in Rochester, New York, on September 10, 2011. On May 25, 2011 he appeared on Rachael Ray along with Stefano Langone and Pia Toscano. McDonald even recorded a song, "Now That I've Found You", with his wife Nikki Reed, which debuted on Ryan Seacrest's radio show on November 15, 2011. The couple released their first EP together, The Best Part, on October 29, 2012.
In September 2012, McDonald appeared in a Parenthood episode as a musician who used Crosby and Adam's recording space, The Luncheonette, and sang a new song, "Counting Stars."
McDonald and his wife, Nikki Reed, starred in Hanson's 2013 music video for "Get the Girl Back". The video was filmed in January of 2013, and released in April, 2013. As well as Paul and Nikki, other famous faces in the video include Kat Dennings, Drake Bell, Drew Seeley, Amy Paffrath, and Alex Beh.
McDonald met actress Nikki Reed on the red carpet at the premiere of the film Red Riding Hood in March 2011. The moment they met was broadcast on an American Idol episode as part of a segment that showed the contestants attending the premiere. The pair soon began dating, and moved in together not long after. At the MTV Movie Awards on June 5, 2011, Reed was photographed wearing an engagement ring. Later that month, McDonald confirmed their engagement in an interview. The couple married on October 16, 2011 in Malibu, California.