is perhaps best known for writing his Broadway musical, Hamilton, but the musical gifts and talents of the 42-year-old Manhattan native (and Grammy-, Tony-, Pulitzer Prize-, and Oscar-winning musical savant) seem to know no boundaries.
Miranda’s love for music was inspired by his . From birth, he was raised in an environment in which music and musical expression were valued. He developed a love for Broadway musicals as a young child and would go on to become one of the best-known names on Broadway.
He would go on to write the Broadway musical, Hamilton, based on the high-profile events of the life of , America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, in 2015, and for the first time in 2016, his talents in songwriting would finally find their way to the big screen.
Miranda has become even more popular because of his work on The ‘s latest animated feature , Encanto, after a trip to , with his father and the directors of the and Jared Bush.
He used his musical talents and worked with and to write the Encanto soundtrack. His songs would help describe her entire to children in the village, help Luisa confess her feelings of weakness, and would explain a bit of the reasoning for the ‘s refusal to talk about Bruno, the mysteriously missing relative of the .
He’s currently working on songs for Disney’s remake of The , which will be released in 2023.
“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana (2016)
Miranda wrote the for Moana (voiced by Aul’i Cravalho) to sing as she contemplates what she’s capable of accomplishing, despite her father’s attempts to keep her fenced in:
“And the line where the sky meets the sea/
It calls me/
And no one knows/
How far it goes/
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me/
One day I’ll know/
How far I’ll go”
“You’re Welcome” from Moana (2016)
The talents behind the lyrics sung by the demi-god Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) belong to as well. In the , the pompous Maui touts himself as the reason for all good things, including stealing fire for humans to have when it is cold, to harnessing the breeze, and lassoing the sun.
He’s also sure to mention his looks, his “bod,” and his “greatness,” all while telling Moana, “You’re welcome,” even though she’s never seen a reason to thank him.
“What has two thumbs and pulled up the sky/
When you were waddling yea high?/
When the nights got cold/
Who stole you fire from down below?/
You’re lookin’ at him, yo/
Oh, also I lassoed the sun/
To stretch your days and bring you fun/
Also I harnessed the breeze/
To fill your sails and shake your trees”
“Shiny” from Moana (2016)
This scene from Moana is still quasi-confusing, as it features a massive crab with a sick obsession for all things shiny (gold, diamonds, etc) who also admits to killing his grandmother. The whole premise makes us wonder if the scene accidentally got by the editors of the .
At any rate, it’s Miranda who gave a voice to the horrible Tamatoa with the lyrics to his upbeat ballad, “Shiny,” in which he calls Moana’s grandmother a liar, makes fun of Maui, and lets Moana know he’s going to eat her because she looks like seafood.
“Surface Pressure” from Encanto (2021)
The second most popular song from the breakout film’s soundtrack gives Luisa, Mirabel Madrigal’s older sister, the words with which to confess her fears about not being strong enough and her fears about failing her family if she isn’t able to stand the pressure of all the expectations that are put on her.
I feel berserk as a tightrope walker in a three-ring circus/
Under the surface/
Was Hercules ever like “Yo, I don’t wanna fight Cerberus”?/
Under the surface/
I’m pretty sure I’m worthless if I can’t be of service”
“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Encanto (2021)
By now you know–even if you’ve never seen the film–that the most popular song from Encanto is “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” a song sung by members of the Madrigal family about the son/brother/uncle in the family who was cast out of the family by Abuela, the matriarch of the family. When Mirabel begins to ask about her uncle Bruno, she is quickly silenced by the song, which portrays Bruno as the black sheep, the deviant of the family.
According to several online surveys, the stanza from the song that fans most often find running through their minds is this one, sung by Bruno’s nephew Camilo, who’s clearly heard things about his uncle that just aren’t true:
“A seven-foot frame, rats along his back/
When he calls your name, it all fades to black/
Yeah, he sees your dreams and feasts on your screams (hey)”
We’re looking forward to hearing Miranda’s music from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, set to be released next year. Wonder which songs from that soundtrack will make their way into our heads, and which ones we won’t be able to stop singing!