Michael McDonald is an American R&B/soul singer (sometimes described as a "blue-eyed soul" singer), known for his trademark husky baritone voice.
McDonald played in several local bands (such as Mike and the Majestics, Jerry Jay and the Sheratons, the Reebtoors, and The Guild) while attending McCluer High School in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. He was 'discovered' while playing with a group called Blue and consequently moved to Los Angeles in 1970. He first gained wide attention as an adjunct member of the group Steely Dan, providing back-up vocals and keyboards. Michael continued to do background vocals for Steely Dan up to their 1980 Gaucho release.
McDonald was recruited by The Doobie Brothers in April 1975 when lead singer Tommy Johnston became ill during a national tour. As a member of the Doobies, he recorded some of his most memorable songs, such as "Takin' It To The Streets," "Little Darling," "Minute By Minute," and "What A Fool Believes" (which earned him a 1980 Grammy Award for Song of the Year).
After the Doobies' first farewell tour, McDonald continued with a very successful solo career. Among his hits are
* "I Keep Forgettin'", a duet with his sister Maureen, later sampled in 1994 by Warren G
* "Sweet Freedom", the theme to the 1986 MGM film Running Scared
* "Take It To Heart"
* "Yah Mo B There", a duet with James Ingram which won a 1985 Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals
* "On My Own", a 1986 duet with Patti Labelle which reached #1 on the US charts
McDonald has produced and/or appeared on albums recorded by many other artists, including his singer wife Amy Holland and Grammy winner Christopher Cross. He is also a co-founder of the small independent recording label Ramp Records, with studio designer Chris Pelonis and actor Jeff Bridges.
His current album out 3/4/8 is titled "Soul Speak."