But the apparent Grammy snub didn't derail the 25-year-old singer from Los Angeles. He returned with more impressive work in 2012 and is now up for five awards, including song of the year for his crossover hit, "Adorn."
"I think through that experience I learned, or I was reminded, that all of this is icing on the cake. The real blessing is that people are actually listening to the music," he said in an interview. "I take it in stride and I feel really blessed and I'm incredibly humbled by it."
"Adorn" hit the No. 1 spot on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart and is a Top 20 pop hit. It's from his sophomore album, "Kaleidoscope Dream," which debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart. It's nominated for new category best urban contemporary album, pitting him against Frank Ocean's "channel ORANGE" and Chris Brown's "Fortune."
"I just want to be one of those artists that are pushing those boundaries," he said. "I want to lead people to discover sounds and ideas that they might not have discovered themselves."
Miguel had success with his 2010 debut, "All I Want Is You," which featured the R&B hits "Sure Thing," "Quickie" and the title track. He was also known for his guest appearance on rapper Wale's "Lotus Flower Bomb," which he co-wrote, and is nominated for best rap song.
Miguel is part of a new breed of singers from Ocean to The Weeknd who are revitalizing R&B with a soulfully eclectic vibe, meshing some funk and rock while maintaining the traditional R&B sound. Miguel wants to push the genre forward like Marvin Gaye and Prince.
"Growing up, the artists that inspired me took risks and was very unapologetic about their music," he said. "They did whatever they wanted and I admired that. I always wanted to be that type of person."
"Adorn" is also nominated for best R&B performance and best R&B song, where the singer will compete with the two people he's currently on tour with: Trey Songz and Elle Varner.
"I love it," he said. "It says a lot about the tour, right?"
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)