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: 106.373%
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: An unforgettable cinematic stage performance, the filmed version of the original Broadway production of "Hamilton" combines the best elements of... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Kail

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

Mary poppins Country fast and furious PlayStation Apple parents Funimation IFC Films children's TV prank south america Legendary boxing Pride Month telelvision CBS All Access Film comic books The Academy CW Seed adaptation adventure TCM diversity rom-coms festival NYCC venice deadpool Superheroe teaser docudrama documentaries renewed TV shows psychological thriller politics Disney Channel batman WGN Television Critics Association Vudu TCA E3 kaiju Walt Disney Pictures theme song versus rt archives movie Red Carpet name the review reboot crime thriller golden globe awards Hulu Star Trek cancelled Fox News book facebook Sundance TIFF canceled Adult Swim Lifetime Christmas movies travel Acorn TV Showtime Reality rotten Ovation 4/20 Paramount Plus HBO Go Hear Us Out Anna Paquin kids 2016 OWN BAFTA foreign pirates of the caribbean Chernobyl richard e. Grant aliens documentary popular FXX spain FX superman San Diego Comic-Con sequels Musicals italian jamie lee curtis Mindy Kaling MSNBC Thanksgiving 2017 Musical true crime Peacock green book Pop laika Rom-Com comedies Binge Guide indiana jones Endgame MTV transformers Sundance Now critics biography Comedy Central indie Crunchyroll TCA 2017 Quiz Opinion cancelled TV shows canceled TV shows independent breaking bad technology Logo Holidays Nat Geo DGA Black History Month cancelled television MCU 71st Emmy Awards Trivia mockumentary free movies Premiere Dates Fantasy Disney screen actors guild reviews 2019 die hard comic A24 Extras TBS Interview franchise discovery Comedy comiccon cooking latino A&E DirecTV social media Classic Film ABC 2018 Shondaland all-time toy story Rocketman RT History Toys 45 blockbuster Pixar police drama AMC serial killer Nominations tv talk christmas movies cops best 2015 Freeform Bravo Discovery Channel rotten movies we love Sundance TV GoT Year in Review news DC Universe spinoff See It Skip It Super Bowl Fox Searchlight Pet Sematary Captain marvel New York Comic Con PBS Marvel Kids & Family hist Sneak Peek miniseries ViacomCBS comics crossover American Society of Cinematographers 24 frames GIFs doctor who OneApp Certified Fresh YA CMT Mystery singing competition animated revenge Universal 21st Century Fox Syfy Food Network Horror WarnerMedia LGBT razzies cults RT21 Cartoon Network remakes Marvel Studios 2020 20th Century Fox Shudder Animation Christmas Sony Pictures french harry potter stop motion DC Comics Action BBC America Lucasfilm a nightmare on elm street Broadway Rocky Avengers football golden globes Apple TV Plus Pop TV Paramount Network Disney Plus IFC thriller Family scorecard The Witch TCA Awards The Walking Dead dark asian-american USA casting Cosplay Baby Yoda finale Comics on TV ratings Women's History Month Academy Awards psycho Hallmark what to watch screenings classics emmy awards disaster TV Land PaleyFest 2021 fresh TV One Chilling Adventures of Sabrina supernatural natural history trailers The Purge jurassic park Hallmark Christmas movies australia archives video on demand films werewolf quibi HBO Max Fall TV spanish language Video Games The Arrangement Mary Poppins Returns 007 Comic Book BET Awards spider-man Holiday science fiction mutant ghosts dceu worst hollywood Trailer Marathons war Photos dramedy Epix anime 99% Watching Series crime drama space Set visit witnail Heroines Mary Tyler Moore Spring TV black FOX Biopics justice league zero dark thirty CBS YouTube Red Creative Arts Emmys docuseries The Walt Disney Company YouTube President History Spike VICE Film Festival Reality Competition SundanceTV TV Turner Classic Movies BBC One game of thrones Exclusive Video women directors toronto elevated horror Apple TV+ mission: impossible Emmy Nominations dogs Star Wars Warner Bros. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt X-Men nfl universal monsters unscripted Disney streaming service Amazon Prime monster movies romance Amazon game show First Look hispanic Spectrum Originals criterion TCA Winter 2020 Pirates Netflix Awards twilight blaxploitation First Reviews Song of Ice and Fire Lionsgate Netflix Christmas movies sitcom award winner Valentine's Day dc nbcuniversal halloween nature National Geographic Paramount cartoon Winter TV Drama Box Office stoner talk show BBC Summer Election cinemax Television Academy ABC Family Writers Guild of America Rock godzilla sag awards Tubi ITV Tomatazos The CW Winners Crackle Schedule Infographic satire robots FX on Hulu Character Guide television cats SXSW Black Mirror Disney+ Disney Plus VH1 joker TLC dragons zombies strong female leads superhero Western Polls and Games Amazon Prime Video worst movies E! anthology medical drama sequel Dark Horse Comics CNN Travel Channel sports El Rey Ghostbusters Teen ID Masterpiece Mudbound Alien Stephen King streaming series HBO Marvel Television BET spy thriller historical drama Cannes 72 Emmy Awards kong Lifetime halloween tv APB vampires Countdown Esquire child's play Best and Worst Elton John cars Trophy Talk NBC spanish james bond Tumblr festivals king kong Oscars Emmys 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nickelodeon DC streaming service GLAAD obituary LGBTQ hidden camera concert TNT Calendar Britbox USA Network composers ESPN Starz Amazon Studios Music based on movie Tarantino Brie Larson boxoffice TruTV YouTube Premium cancelled TV series VOD Arrowverse romantic comedy zombie movies japanese TV renewals Grammys stand-up comedy binge Superheroes ABC Signature period drama scary movies Martial Arts blockbusters political drama Sci-Fi Podcast SDCC crime Ellie Kemper Turner slashers Columbia Pictures Awards Tour video chucky