Paul McDonald (musician)

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Paul McDonald
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Paul McDonald
BornAuburn, Alabama, U.S.
OriginHuntsville, Alabama
Nashville, Tennessee
  • Artist
  • singer-songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitars
  • piano
  • tambourine
Years active2005–present

Paul McDonald (born William Paul McDonald) 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.

Early life[edit]

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.


The Grand Magnolias[edit]

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,[1] and it reached number twelve on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and had sold 9,000 copies by April 27, 2011.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

American Idol[edit]

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[5] by singing an original song, "American Dreams." He was one of ten candidates chosen as a finalist based on public voting.[6] 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.[7] The album also debuted on the Billboard Heatseekers chart before McDonald even sang in the show’s semi-final round.[8] He was also the first 2011 Idol hopeful to reach 50,000 followers on his newly created official American Idol Twitter account.[9] McDonald continues to be one of the most popular American Idol Season 10 competitors on the social networking site.[10][11]

McDonald was eliminated from the show on April 14, 2011, with a finish of 8th place.[12]

Performances and results[edit]

Episode Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Audition Auditioner's Choice
"Tutti Frutti"[14] Little Richard N/A Advanced
"Maggie May" Rod Stewart
Hollywood Round, Part 1 First Solo N/A Grace Potter and the Nocturnals N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 2 Group Performance "Carry On Wayward Son" Kansas N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 3 Second Solo "Landslide" Fleetwood Mac N/A Advanced
Las Vegas Round Songs of The Beatles Group Performance "Blackbird" The Beatles N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round Final Final Solo "American Dreams" The Grand Magnolias N/A Advanced
Top 24 (12 Men) Personal Choice "Maggie May" Rod Stewart 10 Advanced
Top 13 Your Personal Idol "Come Pick Me Up" Ryan Adams 4 Safe
Top 12 Year You Were Born "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" Elton John 2 Safe
Top 11 Motown "The Tracks of My Tears" The Miracles 9 Safe
Top 111 Elton John "Rocket Man" Elton John 3 Bottom 32
Top 9 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame "Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash 9 Safe
Top 8 Songs from the Movies "Old Time Rock and Roll" — Risky Business Bob Seger 1 Eliminated
  • ^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.[15] 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.[16] The couple released their first EP together, The Best Part, on October 29, 2012.[17]

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".[18] The video was filmed in January 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. On July 8, 2014, McDonald and Reed released an album titled I'm Not Falling.[citation needed]

In 2014, McDonald launched his solo career by releasing a single, "Bright Lights," on October 7, 2014,[19] and a video released on November 3, 2014.[20]

Personal life[edit]

McDonald met actress Nikki Reed on the red carpet at the premiere of Red Riding Hood in March 2011. The moment they met was broadcast on an American Idol episode as part of a segment that showed McDonald and his fellow contestants attending the premiere.[21] McDonald and Reed soon began dating,[22] and moved in together not long after.[23] Their engagement was confirmed in June 2011,[24][25] and they married on October 16, 2011 in Malibu, California.[26] In March 2014, McDonald and Reed announced that they had separated.[27] Reed filed for divorce on May 16, 2014, citing irreconcilable differences.[28] The divorce was finalized in January 2015.[29]



As part of Hightide Blues

  • 2007: Hightide Blues (EP)[30]
    • Track list of Hightide Blues EP:
  1. "I Can't" (4:09)
  2. "4:15" (3:24)
  3. "Will She" (3:02)
  4. "Tired of Leavin'" (5:16)
  5. "Jennifer" (4:54)
  • 2008: Love Come Easy [31]
    • Track list of Love Come Easy album:
  1. "Katie, Can You Hear Me?" (3:10)
  2. "Far from Home" (4:59)
  3. "Dreamin' Alone" (3:52)
  4. "Let It Roll" (3:13)
  5. "Giving Up On You" (3:57)
  6. "Merle's Last Stand" (2:05)
  7. "Black Crows" (4:30)
  8. "Dancing with the Angels (Meg's Song)" (4:29)

As part of The Grand Magnolias

  • 2010: The Grand Magnolias [32]
    • Track list of The Grand Magnolias album:
  1. "Sing Out" (4:07)
  2. "American Dreams" (3:46)
  3. "Fly Me to the Moon" (3:27)
  4. "I Can't Remember" (3:14)
  5. "No More One More Nights" (3:51)
  6. "Heartbreak" (5:01)
  7. "Four Fifteen" (5:06)
  8. "Whoa" (4:22)
  9. "Top of the World" (3:11)
  10. "Please Believe Me" (4:08)

Paul McDonald and Nikki Reed

  • 2012: The Best Part-EP [33]
    • Track list of The Best Part-EP Album:
  1. "Bouquet of Lies (Ghost in Apt. 8)"
  2. "All I'm Asking"
  3. "The Best Part"
  4. "Now That I've Found You (Version 2)"
  5. "Goodbye"
  • 2014: I'm Not Falling[34]
Year Album details Peak Certifications
(sales threshold)
2011 The Grand Magnolias 12
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details Sales
The Best Part (feat. Nikki Reed)
  • Released: October 29, 2012
  • Label: Enzo and Ira Records
  • Formats: Digital downloads



  1. ^ "Paul McDonald's Grand Magnolias reaping 'Idol' benefits". March 9, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Chatter 04-27-2011". April 27, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  3. ^ "The Grand Magnolias return to iTunes". March 17, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  4. ^ "The Nashville Business Journal". March 18, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  5. ^ "American Idol Top 24 Contestant Paul McDonald This Season's New Heartthrob?". February 24, 2011. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  6. ^ Bell, Carrie (March 6, 2011). "Entertainment Weekly: 'American Idol' – Q&As With the Top 13!". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "'Idol' album sales: Crystal Bowersox, Fantasia and more". March 2, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Will new Twitter and Facebook accounts predict the next American Idol winner?". Archived from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  11. ^ Paul McDonald Most Popular American Idol on Twitter
  12. ^ "Did 'American Idol' finally send a guy home?". April 15, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  13. ^ Chris Welch, The Huntsville Times (March 4, 2011). "Chris Welch, ''The Huntsville Times'': Paul McDonald's journey to 'American Idol' Top 13". Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  14. ^ Paul McDonald'd Twitter message about singing "Tutti Frutti" first[dead link]
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved April 20, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Nikki Reed, husband Paul McDonald duet on new song 'Now That I Found You' – NY Daily News". Daily News. New York.
  17. ^ Garibaldi, Christina (November 5, 2012). "Nikki Reed, Paul McDonald Give It Their Best On New EP". Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  18. ^ "Taylor Hanson shares a story and a clip of HANSON's new music video for Get The Girl Back. by Hanson". MTV. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  19. ^ Chris Payne (October 9, 2014). "Exclusive: 'American Idol' Alum Paul McDonald Premieres New Song 'Bright Lights'". Billboard.
  20. ^ Aimee Curran (November 3, 2014). "Premiere: Paul McDonald 'Bright LightS'". Baeble Music.
  21. ^ "Nikki Reed Dating American Idol's Paul McDonald?". People. March 8, 2011. Archived from the original on April 11, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  22. ^ "Paul McDonald: Nikki Reed Is 'Pumped' About American Idol Elimination". People. April 15, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  23. ^ "Nikki Reed on Paul McDonald: 'I Love Him'". People. May 18, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  24. ^ "Twilight's Nikki Reed Engaged: "He's the One!"". June 5, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  25. ^ "Paul McDonald Is 'Pumped Up' About Marrying Nikki Reed". June 21, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  26. ^ "Nikki Reed and Paul McDonald Married". Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  27. ^ "Nikki Reed, Paul McDonald split". USA Today.
  28. ^ Shira, Dahvi (May 21, 2014). "Nikki Reed Files for Divorce from Paul McDonald". People. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  29. ^ Smirke, Richard (January 2, 2015). "Nikki Reed and 'American Idol' Alum Paul McDonald Finalize Divorce". Billboard. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  30. ^ "iTunes – Music – Hightide Blues – EP by Hightide Blues". March 14, 2007. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  31. ^ "iTunes – Music – Love Come Easy by Hightide Blues". June 6, 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  32. ^ "iTunes – Music – The Grand Magnolias by The Grand Magnolias". November 1, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  33. ^ "iTunes – Music – The Best Part – EP by Paul McDonald & Nikki Reed". October 29, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  34. ^ "iTunes – Music – I'm Not Falling". July 8, 2014.
  35. ^ Brian Mansfield (December 5, 2012). "'Idol' album sales: Phillip Phillips stays in the Top 5". Idol Chatter. USA Today. Retrieved December 5, 2012.

External links[edit]