Oral Histories

Lin-Manuel Miranda Breaks Down His Biggest Songs, From Hamilton's "My Shot" to Moana's "How Far I'll Go"

The lyricist, composer, and star of the 100% Certified Fresh musical gets deep on his influences and how he constructed some of the most beloved showstoppers of all time.

by | July 3, 2020 | Comments

What happens when the sounds of Eminem and Jay-Z, The Little Mermaid, and Ricky Martin collide in one of the most brilliant musical minds of our generation? You get the incredible output of Hamilton lyricist, composer, and star Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The multiple Tony and Grammy winner, whose rap-musical phenomenon Hamilton lands on Disney+ this July – with a 100% Certified Fresh Tomatometer score, no less – has created some of the most stirring and memorable songs of the last decade, both on stage and screen. Beyond Hamilton itself, and his debut musical In the Heights before that, Miranda composed the soaring earworm “How Far I’ll Go” for Moana, a tune for the cantina scene in J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens (lyrics in Huttese), and more. You can witness the evolution of his style in the new 100% Fresh documentary We Are Freestyle Love Supreme

With the whole world about to settle into a front-row seat to Hamilton, Rotten Tomatoes sat down with Miranda for an extended, in-depth dissection of the influences on his music and breakdowns of the complex construction of some of the best songs he’s produced. Want to know what boy band 98 Degrees has to do with In The Heights showstopper “96,000”? Or how he constructed “un-f—kwithable,” super-dense couplets for “My Shot”? Or why he had to stay a night in his childhood bedroom to find the right feel for “How Far I’ll Go”?Miranda goes deep in our exclusive extended interview.

Hamilton is available to stream on Disney+ now. 

#1

Hamilton (2020)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 111318%
Critics Consensus: Look around, look around at how beautifully Hamilton shines beyond Broadway - and at how marvelously Thomas Kail captures the stage show's infectious energy.
Synopsis: The original Broadway production of the award-winning musical that tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, first secretary of the treasury,... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Kail

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