With the 2014 Billboard Music Awards rapidly approaching, we caught up with BBMA finalist Ryan Merchant of Capital Cities 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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Capital Cities, who saw their rise to fame skyrocket with the success of recent single "Safe and Sound," are in contention for three BBMAs: top new artist, top rock artist, top rock song.
Watch the 2014 Billboard Music Awards Sunday, May 18 at 8|7c on ABC live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as host Ludacris welcomes the biggest names in music to the stage.
What was the highlight of the past year for you?
Capital Cities' Ryan Merchant: Playing weekend two of Coachella and then getting to enjoy the festival with friends and family.
What song from the past year do you wish you wrote?
Pharrell Williams' "Happy" — the first time you hear the chorus it knocks you out with those beautiful, jazzy background vocals.
Was there a song you couldn't get out of your head (even if you tried)?
"Pompeii" by Bastille.
Who was your favorite new or emerging artist?
Disclosure and London Grammar.
Who really knocked it out of the park, with either a music or a business move?
Disclosure — they took a really cool, sexy genre of electronic dance music and used it to produce real songs with some pop structure. I'm surprised more electronic producers don't do the same.
Which artist that staged a comeback or finally get some overdue recognition really caught your attention?
I was happy to see Daft Punk come back on the scene and kill it with a very quirky album. They are always a very good influence on the music industry.
Any trend you were unhappy to see or hear?
Too many EDM snare-drum buildups in pop music.
What are your favorite things to do in Vegas — high-roller or trashy (or both)?
Lounge at the pool at whatever hotel I am staying at.
Via Yahoo, this year's Billboard Music Awards red carpet show will be live streamed. For additional information on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards visit billboardmusicawards.com or the Billboard hub at billboard.com/bbma.