Miguel was born and raised in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California. He is one of two sons born to a Mexican American father and an African American mother. Miguel's parents divorced when he was eight years old. At a young age, Miguel was introduced to the older R&B his mother listened to, and his father's musical tastes, including funk, hip hop, jazz, and classic rock. At age five, Miguel wanted to become a dancer. However, at 13 he began pursuing a career in music. At 14, he was writing songs and developing ideas with a four-track recorder he took from his uncle. In ninth grade, Miguel was introduced by a friend to a member of production company Drop Squad, and he subsequently spent the rest of high school learning his way around a recording studio before seeking a record deal. Miguel is also close high school friends with rapper Blu, who also lived in San Pedro.
After Jive was shut down and absorbed by RCA Records, Miguel was moved to RCA, where Pitts was named president of urban music, and received a new marketing team. His second studio album, Kaleidoscope Dream, was released on October 2, 2012, to critical acclaim. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, selling 71,000 copies in its first week. As of February 2013, Kaleidoscope Dream has sold 322,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In February 2013, he released a politically driven video for the song "Candles in the Sun," the 11th and last song on the album. The album's lead single "Adorn", which had been released on August 7, became a sleeper hit on urban radio. It was Miguel's second number-one single on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and his highest charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 17. By September, the single had sold 190,000 copies. According to NPR's Audie Cornish, Miguel "broke through to a national audience in 2012" with both "Adorn" and Kaleidoscope Dream. The second single "Do You..." was released on September 18, and reached number 32 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. On March 3, 2013, "How Many Drinks?" was released as its third single. By February 20, Kaleidoscope Dream had charted for 20 weeks on the Billboard 200 and sold 321,400 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
In August 2013, the new single "#Beautiful" with Mariah Carey became Miguel’s third million-seller in the USA, following “Sure Thing” and “Adorn”. During an energetic performance of "Adorn" at the Billboard Music Awards on May 19, Miguel failed in an attempt to leap across the stage, injuring two audience members in the process. Barely missing the stage, Miguel landed on two women, hooking his right leg over one and knocking the other into the stage. The incident became an immediate internet sensation and has been satirized in numerous internet memes and gifs. It has also been the subject of controversy, with the show's producers claiming that they had denied the singer permission to attempt the leap, while Miguel's representatives have countered that no objections were raised during earlier rehearsals. Khyati Shah, one of the two women involved, has since claimed she suffered a traumatic head injury that was not sufficiently attended to by show organizers.
Miguel will release his third studio album titled Wildheart on June 30, 2015. In December 2014, Miguel released a 3-track EP entitled NWA.HollywoodDreams.Coffee in promotion for the album.