Miguel Talks Kendrick Lamar, Whitney Houston, & Las Vegas in Billboard Music Awards Q&A

Miguel performs at TIME 100 Gala, TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2013 in New York City.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage for TIME

With the 2013 Billboard Music Awards rapidly approaching, we caught up with BBMA finalist Miguel to help recount the incredible high points, new discoveries and memorable moments that caught his ears during the past 12 months.

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Miguel owned two of 2012's top 10 year-end Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, with "Adorn" and "Lotus Flower Bomb" (Wale feat. Miguel). His song "Adorn" is a finalist in the Billboard Music Awards' Top R&B Song categories.

Watch the 2013 Billboard Music Awards Sunday, May 19th at 8|7c on ABC live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as host Tracy Morgan welcomes the biggest names in music to the stage.

Looking back on the past year, what was the highlight for you? 

Miguel: I'll never forget driving around L.A. for a couple days before the Grammys, to rehearsal and all of that, and catching Grammy billboards that said "The world is watching." I couldn't fathom how many people were watching the Grammys, until after. It was really special. It definitely felt like it was a breakout moment for me.

What song really made an impact on you this year?

Kendrick Lamar's "Sing About Me." I haven't heard a hip-hop song like that in a long time. It's really creative. I can't explain it—but when you hear it, you'll understand.

What new talent emerged or came into his or her own this year that blew you away?

I just discovered Sohn. He's really special. He has a song called "The Wheel," and the opening line is "I died a week ago." It's an interesting way to begin an allegorical song. He's definitely an artist to watch.

What to you was one of the biggest losses this year in music?

Whitney is just in the cut off of that, but that definitely a shocker and I think the entire community felt that. I think the majority of the world felt that. Everyone was just rooting for her.

How has social media affected the way you engage with your fans?

Considering it's been a learning experience, I'm actually learning how to interact with my fans and use social media the right way. I think more than anything it's been a great tool to get media out. That's probably one of the advantages, the greatest advantages, is the ability to spread information.

What was your favorite music-related meme or viral video this year?

The goat screaming videos are hilarious.

Was there a surprising sound or music trend that pricked up your ears?

That trap sound that infiltrated a lot of electronic hip-hop and electronic dance stuff was pretty interesting, pattern-wise.

How do you live like a high roller when you're in Las Vegas?

Something about that place makes it OK to spend a lot more money shopping than I normally would. I'm not lavish like that. But for some reason I feel like it's OK to do it there.