Born in 1976 in Cincinnati, McDowell first began playing piano around the age of five, and by the age of 13 he was playing drums for his church. He quickly shifted to the organ and by 18, he was leading his own worship sessions. He relocated to Orlando, Florida in 2001, where he attended Full Sail University, earning his degree in Entertainment Business. While there, he began serving as music director and keyboardist for Ron Kenoly. Two years later, in 2003, McDowell opened his own recording studio, The Delivery Room, and tracked his debut independent album The Reason I Live. In 2006 he accepted a worship leader position at the Gathering Place in Lake Mary, Florida, and the following year was ordained as a pastor.
McDowell issued an ambitious two-CD set, As We Worship Live, in 2009 which landed at number three on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart. His second album, 2011's Arise, another two-disc affair produced by McDowell and Clay Bogan III, was recorded live on December 10, 2010 at the Christian Life Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and featured guest performances from Stacey Joseph, worship leaders David & Nicole Binion, Josh Dufrene, and twin sisters Martha Munizzi and Mary Alessi. It topped the Billboard gospel chart and marked the musician's first appearance on the Billboard 200.
Recorded with a crowd of 2,000 worshipers, Withholding Nothing followed in 2013 and repeated both chart feats, reaching the Top 30 of the Billboard 200. It also earned McDowell a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Album and took home the Stellar Award for Praise and Worship CD of the Year. His fifth album, Sounds of Revival, was recorded live at Bethany Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with guests including singer Travis Greene. Again produced by McDowell and Bogan, it was released in early 2016 and continued his string of gospel number ones. It also took home the Dove Award for Urban Worship Album of the year. Sounds of Revival, Pt. 2 followed suit a year later. In 2019, he issued The Cry: A Live Worship Experience, a concert album and DVD recorded at Redemption to the Nations Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee and featuring special guests Nathaniel Bassey, Travis Greene, Yolanda Adams, and others. ~ Steve Leggett & Marcy Donelson