Map & Directions
Two notes. That’s all it takes to recognize the voice of Michael McDonald. Distinctive and soulful, it is one of the most yearningly emotive instruments of our times. To this add formidable songwriting and keyboard skills, and you have an artist who has been a singular musical presence for four decades. From ‘70s-era Doobie Brothers classics such as “What A Fool Believes” and solo hits like “I Keep Forgettin’” through two highly-acclaimed Motown covers albums and recent genre-busting guest spots with alternative buzz bands Grizzly Bear and Holy Ghost, the five-time Grammy-winning McDonald is that rare thing in contemporary pop – an artist whose work is both timeless and ever-evolving.
McDonald moved to L.A. in the early ‘70s, where he honed his skills as a session musician and singer. That soon led to an invitation to join Steely Dan. Over the course of four classic albums, from Katy Lied to Gaucho, McDonald became an integral part of the group’s sound, singing background vocals on FM staples like “Black Friday” and “Peg.”
In the mid-‘70s, McDonald joined The Doobie Brothers, helping the band redefine their funky R&B sound as a singer, keyboardist and songwriter on such Top 40 singles as “Takin’ It To The Streets”, “It Keeps You Runnin’”, “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes.”
His distinct vocal style also made him one of the world’s most sought-after session singers. Beyond his hits with The Doobies, McDonald has lent his voice to records by an A-Z of artists, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Joni Mitchell and Vince Gill. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, his solo career zoomed from success to success on the wings of evergreen hits like “I Keep Forgettin’”, “On My Own” (a duet with Patti LaBelle) and the Grammy-winning duet with James Ingram “Yah Mo B There.”
Continuing to explore new vistas, in 2003 and 2004, McDonald released his Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling pair of Motown albums. On the heels of 2008’s acclaimed crossover album Soul Speak (which hit three different charts simultaneously) and multiple appearances on PBS’s Soundstage, McDonald continues to tour the world, from Europe to Asia to Australia, while moonlighting alongside co-horts Donald Fagen and Boz Scaggs with The Dukes Of September, an 11-piece soul supergroup.
With a career that encompasses five Grammys, numerous chart successes, personal and professional accolades, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music.
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