Lin-Manuel Miranda has credited Luis Fonsi for opening up Latin music to a wider community.
The Hamilton star has united musicians including Jennifer Lopez, Camila Cabello and Marc Anthony for his new track Almost Like Praying, released to raise funds for Puerto Rico hurricane relief. The tune features lyrics in both Spanish and English, and Lin-Manuel said in a new interview that the success of Luis‘ tune Despacito has paved the way for similarly diverse songs to find success in the industry.
“I was listening to Luis Fonsi in college. Luis Fonsi is no overnight sensation to me or to any Puerto Rican on the island,” Lin-Manuel told Billboard.com. “It’s the rest of the world that has caught up. At the same time I do have to acknowledge (the step) that Despacito opens. Because it has been the greatest hit in the world, and most of the people don’t even know what the words mean. And that allows for a song like Almost Like Praying to travel beyond the Latin community. If a song is good it doesn’t matter what language it’s in.”
Almost Like Praying sees the song’s stars recite the names of all 78 towns in Puerto Rico. Speaking about how he came up with the tune, Lin-Manuel admitted that it became part of his mission to unite “pop music and theatre music”.
“I think the construction of the song is just a function of how my brain works. I’m a guy who listens to show tunes and hip-hop and Latin music,” he said. “And this song is all those things mashed together. There was a time when theatre music and popular music were the same thing.
“You would go listen to Gershwin on the radio and you would go see Gershwin in the theatre that night. My little side mission has been to get pop music and theatre music to be friends again. And even subconsciously when I wrote this track as fast as I could to help Puerto Rico, that little side mission is present.”