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.
McDonald was born to Susan and David McDonald was born 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.
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 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.