Howard Donald

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Howard Donald
Donald performing in Glasgow in 2017
Donald performing in Glasgow in 2017
Background information
Birth nameHoward Paul Donald
Born (1968-04-28) 28 April 1968 (age 53)
Droylsden, Lancashire, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • drummer
  • pianist
  • dancer
  • DJ
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • turntables
  • sampler
  • drum machine
  • drums
  • piano
Years active1988–1996
Associated actsTake That

Howard Paul Donald (born 28 April 1968)[1] is an English singer, songwriter, drummer, pianist, dancer and record producer. He is a member of English pop-group Take That. Donald was also judge on the German reality talent show Got to Dance from 2013 to 2014, during a Take That-hiatus.

Early life[edit]

Donald was educated at Littlemoss High School in Droylsden and worked as a vehicle painter.[2] As a teenager he was interested in dancing and frequented the burgeoning breakdancing circuit in the Greater Manchester area, where he would first come into contact with future bandmate Jason Orange.[3] He auditioned for Nigel Martin-Smith's new boy band project at his office in Manchester and was selected. The group was eventually named Take That.


Nigel Martin-Smith recruited Donald, along with Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams to form a British boyband, Take That.[1] The band enjoyed seven years of success until Robbie Williams left in 1995, leaving them to carry on as a quartet. Along with Orange, Donald featured less on lead vocals than Barlow, Owen and Williams during the band's first era, however did sing lead vocal on the single "Never Forget", which reached No. 1 in the UK in 1995.

When Take That split in February 1996, Donald went solo and recorded a single "Speak Without Words" that is still unreleased to-date. When his solo career failed to take off, he returned to DJing.[1]

In early 1996, Donald's bandmates Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Jason Orange came to the difficult decision that Take That was to split. They told Donald, who was not happy, but went along with their decision. In the 2006 documentary Take That for the Record, Donald shocked bandmates with his confession of being unstable enough to have the intention of committing suicide by drowning himself in the River Thames, not long after the split.

In 2005, Take That reunited for what was intended to be "one last tour" in the summer of 2006, following the release of their Greatest Hits album.

In late 2006, Take That reformed and released their first studio album since 1995, Beautiful World and from it they achieved two number ones in "Patience" and "Shine". Beautiful World featured Donald on lead vocals on two tracks; "Beautiful World" and "Mancunian Way". The song "Mancunian Way" is a tribute to the band's hometown of Manchester.

On the Take That album The Circus, Donald sang lead on two tracks, "What Is Love" and "Here". He also shared lead vocals with the rest of the band on the album's opening track, "The Garden".

On the Take That LP Progress, Donald sang lead vocals on the track "Affirmation". He also played drums on several songs on the Progress album and mixed a B-side track for the second single "Kidz" called "Revenge of the Kidz".

On the latest Take That album Wonderland, Donald sang lead vocals on "Every Revolution".

Tours with Take That[edit]

Lead vocal (Take That)[edit]

  • "If This Is Love" (also songwriter)
  • "Never Forget"
  • "Beautiful World"
  • "Mancunian Way"
  • "What Is Love"
  • "Here"
  • "Affirmation"
  • "Aliens"
  • "Give You My Love"
  • "I Like It"
  • "Hey Boy"
  • "Every Revolution"
  • "Spin"


Singles as a solo artist[edit]

  • Speak Without Words (unreleased, 1996)

Studio albums with Take That[edit]

Got to Dance[edit]

Donald was one of the judges on a dancing show Got to Dance in Germany from 2013 to 2014.[4]

Health problems[edit]

During the Beautiful World Tour in 2007, Donald suffered a collapsed lung after performing a series of gymnastic stunts on stage, and was kept on a hospital ward for the two days, while the rest of the band performed as a threesome.[5] However, Donald recovered quickly enough to reunite with the band in the final leg of the tour.

Personal life[edit]

Donald was educated at Moorside Primary School and Littlemoss High School.

Since January 2015, Donald has been married to illustrator Katie Halil. A spokesperson for him said "I can confirm Howard Donald and Katie Halil were married at a private ceremony for close family and friends on 2 January."[6]

He is the father of two daughters from two previous relationships, Grace (born June 1998) and Lola (born February 2005). Grace was born to Victoria Piddington, while he had his younger daughter from his relationship with Marie-Christine Musswessels. He also has two sons, Bowie Taylan (born January 2015) and Dougie Bear (born February 2017), with his wife Katie Halil.

In April 2010, Donald was granted a super-injunction against former girlfriend, musician Adakini Ntuli, with whom he had been in an on/off relationship from 2000 to 2008. (See Ntuli v Donald) After Ntuli engaged publicist Max Clifford and began negotiations with the News of the World, Donald obtained the super-injunction. The non-publicity side of the injunction was lifted in November 2010.[citation needed]

In 2007, he expressed his view that cannabis should be legalised, saying, "If more people went out stoned than drunk I think there would be less fighting, less trouble, and less violence."[7] He admitted to having "dabbled with ecstasy" in the past.[7]

In June 2012, it was revealed that along with Take That bandmates Gary Barlow and Mark Owen, Donald had invested £26 million in music industry investment schemes. The news attracted controversy when it was understood that the schemes could serve as tax shelters for high-net-worth people. Lawyers responded to the claims, stating the band members "paid significant tax, and that they believed the schemes were not for tax avoidance purposes but were legitimate commercial enterprises."[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Howard Donald", Southern Daily Echo, 20 June 2007, retrieved 5 February 2010
  2. ^ "Take That is back! The legendary boy band joins Alan in studio". 4BC. 17 November 2017.
  3. ^ Bourne, Dianne (12 November 2014). "Take That: "It's always special to play Manchester"". Manchester Evening News.
  4. ^ "Take That star Howard Donald becomes a judge on Got To Dance Germany | Got To Dance". Telly Mix. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  5. ^ Taylor, C. (2007) "Take That's Howard Donald Hospitalised With 'Collapsed Lung'",, 27 October 2007, retrieved 5 February 2010
  6. ^ Deen, Sarah (6 January 2015). "Howard Donald married: Take That star and Katie Halil get hitched with two-day wedding". Metro. UK. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Howard Donald's cannabis campaign", Boston Globe, 23 November 2007, retrieved 5 February 2010
  8. ^ Updated, Last (21 June 2012). "Gary Barlow's OBE is no problem despite tax avoidance claims, says Downing Street". The Telegraph. UK.