Michael Coleman was born in Knockgrania, near Ballymote, Sligo, Ireland. Michael's father, James was a flute player. As a child, Michael learned to Irish Step Dance and play Irish fiddle. He performed at house concerts hosted by friends and family.
Michael competed at the Sligo Feis Ceoil in 1909 and 1910, placing joint third both years.
In October of 1914, Michael sailed to America with one of his friends. He performed at many gigs, playing fiddle while dancing at the same time. In 1917, he settled in New York and married Marie Fanning, originally from Monaghan, Ireland. Together, Michael and Marie had one child named Mary.
Between 1921 and 1936 he recorded many 78-rpm records under different record labels. He was mainly accompanied by pianists on his records, and occasionally guitarists.
The achievement Michael is most well known for is being one of the first Irish fiddlers to record.