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. 


Hamilton (2020)

Adjusted Score: 106.188%
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

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