Miguel Jontel Pimentel was born in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. He is one of two sons born to a Mexican father and an African american mother. Miguel's parents divorced when he was eight years old. At a young age, Miguel listened to classic rock, hip hop, funk and rhythm and blues. At age 13, he began pursuing a career in music.
Miguel cites musicians Prince, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Freddie Mercury, Phil Collins, Donny Hathaway, The Notorious B.I.G. and Kanye West, as well as the band Queen as his influences, in addition to expressing his admiration for Stevie Wonder, John Lennon and Diane Warren. Miguel revealed his desire to have worked with James Brown, whom he considers the "last innovator for me when it comes to soul". In addition to singing, Miguel also plays the guitar. He incorporates R&B, funk, hip hop, rock and electronic into his music. Miguel described his sound as "nostalgic in a sense that it's familiar... it's shocking, edgy, energizing". In an interview with Paper magazine, he regarded his music as "fly, funkadelic" and "intergalactic-hip-hop-meets-sexy-orgasmic crazy."
After making his contribution to Usher's Raymond v. Raymond in 2010, Miguel released his debut single titled "All I Want Is You", which features J. Cole and was produced by Salaam Remi. It is the lead single from his debut album of the same title.