- Singer, songwriter, keyboardist, and producer
- Perfomed with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers prior to a solo career
- Hit songs include "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)," "I Gotta Try," "Sweet Freedom," and "On My Own"
- Has won 5 Grammy awards
Over the course of his career, Michael McDonald has maintained incredible popularity and has been awarded numerous accolades and honors in both personal and professional arenas. He has won multiple Grammys and earned innumerable chart successes and sales feats, yet all the while McDonald remains the artist's artist and an enduring presence in popular music.
In 1975 Michael McDonald began a long association with Steely Dan, adding his unique timbre to songs like "Peg" and "Time Out of Mind," and touring with the band, singing backup as well as playing keyboards onstage. One year after the release of Steely Dan's Katy Lied, Michael got a call from The Doobie Brothers to join them on the road and by 1977 McDonald was welcomed into The Doobie Brothers as a full member.
In the years that followed, McDonald and the Doobie Brothers enjoyed tremendous commercial and creative success. Their sound evolved from guitar-driven rock to a sultry, tight R&B feel, with McDonald writing and singing lead on "Takin' It to the Streets," "What a Fool Believes," "Minute by Minute," and other signature songs.
In the meantime, McDonald began to build his own career. Since the 1982 release of If That's What It Takes, he has completed a series of solo projects, each distinguished by its high production value, well-crafted songs and sultry, full-throated vocals. The success of his singles speaks for itself: "Yah Mo B There," with James Ingram, won a Grammy award in 1984, "Sweet Freedom" was used as the theme for the film Running Scared, "On My Own," with Patti LaBelle, reached No. 1 on the Pop and R&B charts and No. 3 on the AC charts in March of 1986. And "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" reached the top 5 on the Pop charts and the top 10 on both the R&B and AC charts.
In 2003, Michael paid tribute to the music that inspired him by releasing his album titled Motown which went on to earn a platinum sales certification, as well as two Grammy nominations. He followed it up by releasing Motown 2 in 2004, which debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard Top Ten and No. 8 on Billboard's Hip-hop and R&B chart.
Warner Brothers celebrated McDonald's career in August 2005 with, Michael McDonald: The Ultimate Collection, which highlights the wide breadth of his career from his days with The Doobie Brothers to his solo hits.
McDonald hasn't slowed down, continuing to release albums and compilations with other artists. In 2010, McDonald teamed up with Donald Fagen and Boz Scaggs to form The Dukes of September, and went on to tour as a band in 2012.
Inducted to the Music City Walk of Fame on November 9, 2008.