A singer/songwriter who has lived in the Philadelphia area her entire life, Barbara McDonald has cited Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Judy Collins as some of her main influences and has also expressed admiration for Kate Bush, Sarah McLachlan, Shawn Colvin, Jann Arden and Lisa Cerbone. McDonald was born in Philadelphia in 1956, and in 1970, she moved to nearby Southern New Jersey, where she started writing songs and poetry as a teen-ager. She graduated from Rowan University in the late '70s with a degree in special education, and a few years later, got married and moved to the Philly suburbs. McDonald performed at coffee houses and at open mics in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but after becoming a mother, she put music on the back-burner and concentrated on being a full-time parent. The Philadelphian got on-line in 1995, and after meeting various musicians and songwriters over the Internet, she started to seriously think about pursuing music once again. One of the people she met on-line was the British folk-pop singer John Perkins, who took an interest in McDonald's music. The late 1990s found McDonald returning to performing and doing a great deal of writing, and in 1998, she co-wrote and co-produced her debut album, Madmen & Lovers, for Perkins' White Eagle label.