"We Don't Talk About Bruno" just passed "Let It Go" to become the biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit for a Disney movie in 26 years.
1. First, Lin-Manuel Miranda was involved with Encanto from the very beginning, unlike Moana where he was brought in to write the songs and music late in the development process.
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Lin recalled getting involved with Encanto, saying, "I was hired several years into the development process on [Moana]. So I said, 'For the next one, can I please be there from the beginning? I wanna be as involved as I can be.' So, I got to be in on the ground floor while we created this incredible family."
2. Lin-Manuel Miranda worked on the music and songs for Encanto for five years, and he joked that his 7-year-old and 3-year-old were his "beta testers," in that if they liked a song, he knew it was perfect.
"If they like it, I'm good and they are not shy about their opinions," Lin explained. "I also am married to a woman who doesn't like musicals that much, so I've got the toughest bar to clear in my house." When Lin played, "Dos Oruguitas" for his wife Vanessa, she actually broke down in tears and said it was the best song he had ever written.
3. Lin-Manuel Miranda, his dad Luis, and the Encanto filmmaking team took a two-week research trip to Colombia where they were able to study the music and culture that helped influence the songs.
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Talking about the trip, Lin said, "We went to Cartagena. We went to Bogota. We went to the town of Palenque. We went up into the mountains to a town called Barichara, sort of explored the incredible diversity of Colombian culture and life and listened to music at every stop on our journey." He also learned about instruments unique to Colombia, which included the tiple, a 12-string guitar.
4. Due to the fact that everyone was working on Encanto from home, Disney was very strict about giving footage out. So, Lin-Manuel Miranda had to ask for specific sections of the film while writing the songs.
"This is the movie that I have seen the least that I have worked on," Lin began. "Because we were working from home, Disney security was even more intense. So, I would be like, 'Can I just get minutes 45 to 48 because I have to write a song for that. Can I see it, please?'"
5. "We Don't Talk About Bruno" was inspired by the thing that happens in a family where everyone always gossips about the thing you all agree not to talk about.
"I thought we needed to have a gossip number because there are things you talk about at dinner, in the kitchen after people have left, and there are things you don’t talk about in front of Abuela because she doesn’t know these two people are dating," Lin explained. "I pitched that tune, and it allowed me to create musical themes for characters who do not necessarily get their solo."
6. When creating the character of Bruno, director Jared Bush sent Lin-Manuel Miranda a list of potential names for the character and Lin immediately replied, "Definitely Bruno." It was because the name perfectly fit for a song Lin was writing: "We Don't Talk About Bruno."
"I couldn't figure out why he was so definitive," Jared recalled, "Until two days later when we heard, 'Bruno, no, no, no." In the spring of 2020, directors Jared Bush, Byron Howard, co-director Charise Castro Smith, and Tom MacDougall, who is the head of music at Walt Disney Animation Studios, hopped on a video call with Lin-Manuel Miranda and literally watched him come up with the idea for "We Don't Talk About Bruno" on the spot.
7. "The Family Madrigal" is inspired by "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast. Both songs introduce the audience to the characters and town.
"We wanted to get the complexity of a family on screen. And that means getting our arms around them, not letting them get winnowed away in the story process where you tend to focus on the main character and their quest," Lin said. "We have to be super clear about who it is, how they’re related, what they can do, and how that relates to our main character."
8. In "We Don't Talk About Bruno" when the entire family is singing over each other, they are all singing over the same chord progression with "a totally different rhythm and a totally different cadence."
Lin said it was a really fun way of getting to know every member of the Madrigal family and their styles of singing and music. In fact, "We Don't Talk About Bruno" follows a similar musical theater style of song that Lin-Manuel Miranda has previously used on songs like "Non Stop" from Hamilton and "96,000" from In The Heights.
9. The different styles of music showcased in "We Don't Talk About Bruno" were also meant to represent the "incredible amount of variety" within Colombian music.
Lin explained, "Colombia has a lot of rich musical traditions within itself that are unique to Colombia. But also there is an incredible amount of variety. Maluma, who voices Mariano, added, "Colombian music is special because we do it with our heart, you know, we do it with love. It's beautiful story in every song."
10. After Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote "We Don't Talk About Bruno," he recorded a demo track to send to the directors and cast, where he sang all 10 parts.
Adassa, who voices Dolores, remembered hearing Lin's demo for the first time and describing it as "Lin-Manuel on steroids."
11. Due to COVID-19, the actors actually recorded their parts for "We Don't Talk About Bruno" separately in studios across the United States and Colombia.
Rhenzy Feliz, who voices Camilo, recorded his iconic part in San Luis Obispo, California, while Adassa recorded hers at her home studio in Nashville. Also, it was Adassa's idea to record Dolores's whisper rap an octave lower than it was originally written, and it worked perfectly.
12. Disney submitted "Dos Oruguitas" for consideration in the Best Original Song category at the 2022 Academy Awards, and if it wins it would become Disney's first non-English-language winner in the category.
While "We Don't Talk About Bruno" is a massive hit for the film, Disney has had a lot of success in the category when they submit an emotional ballad, like "Remember Me" from Coco, "Let It Go" from Frozen, "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King, and many more.
13. When Mirabel starts singing fast and naming her family members in "The Family Madrigal," it is actually the fastest singing a character has had to do in Disney history.
Lin loved writing a song that highlighted Mirabel's power of being able to "play the crap out of an accordion while she sings." The song was inspired by a Colombian style of music called Bambuco, which is similar to the European waltz or polska. It's also written in 3/4 time, which makes it unique for a Disney song.
14. Also, for that Mirabel verse in "The Family Madrigal," Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote it so it sounds like a horn line and something that would sound great on a tumpet.
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"That would sound great on trumpet, but I have Steph [Beatriz] [singing]. I knew she could do it because I know how great her voice is," Lin explained. In fact, musician Alejandro Alvarado actually posted a video where he plays the part on his trumpet.
15. "We Don't Talk About Bruno" recently surpassed "Let It Go" from Frozen to become the biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit from a Disney animated movie in 26 years.
As of Jan. 18, 2022, "We Don't Talk About Bruno" has reached a peak position of No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been streamed 29 million times. In comparison, "Let It Go" reached a peak of No. 5 on the chart in April 2014. The only other Disney animated songs to chart higher than "We Don't Talk About Bruno" are "A Whole New World" from Aladdin, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King, and "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas. "A Whole New World" still holds the top spot for a Disney animated film since it charted at No. 1 in 1993.
16. When Bruno sings his apology to Pepa during "All of You" about ruining her wedding day, he sings "Let it go," and then the opening notes of "Let It Go" from Frozen can be heard as part of the song.
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who wrote "Let It Go," are even given a credit in the end credits of Encanto.
17. "Waiting on a Miracle" is written in a totally different beat than the rest of the songs in Encanto to show that Mirabel is "literally out of beat" with the rest of her family.
Lin explained that the rhythm in the song is written in three, saying, "It's three stringed instruments playing in sort of a waltz time. It's just a different beat." Speaking about how important this song is for Mirabel, Stephanie Beatriz said, "There's something that clicks inside her where she realizes the wheels are in motion for her to chase down her destiny."
18. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote "Surface Pressure" as a "love letter and apology" to his older sister, who had to deal with a lot of the same pressures Luisa faces.
"I’m the baby of the family. I have a sister who’s six years older, and she got a raw deal," Lin began. "That song is my love letter and apology to my sister for having it easier. I watched my sister deal with the pressure of being the oldest and carrying burdens I never had to carry."
19. Lin-Manuel Miranda says it's "thrilling" to be a lyricist working on an animated movie because the animators can move "at the speed of thought." Like for "Surface Pressure," Lin was simply rhyming everything he could with the word "nervous," and they were able to animate it all.
Lin explained, "Just as many nervous rhymes as I can get. I write the song and then when it comes back, the animation goes there. It can show you Cerberus, it can show you how big the iceberg is. It can move at the speed of thought."
20. "Dos Oruguitas" is the first song Lin-Manuel Miranda has ever written from start to finish in Spanish. He said it was "outside of [his] comfort zone" because while he speaks Spanish, his vocabulary isn't very big.
"It was important to me that I write it in Spanish, rather than write it in English and translate it, because you can always feel translation," Lin said while explaining the importance of the song. "There are masterful translators out there — I am not one of them. I was really proud of it, I felt like I pulled it from a deeper place within myself."
21. In order to get the folk sound for "Dos Oruguitas," Lin-Manuel Miranda imitated some of his favorite songwriters like Antônio Carlos Jobim and Joan Manuel Serrat.
Antônio Carlos Jobim was a composer, pianist, guitarist, songwriter, and singer, who is considered one of the greatest Brazilian artists. He notably helped bossa nova, a Brazilian style of samba, become a popular style of music in the 1960s. Meanwhile, Joan Manuel Serrat is a Spanish musician and singer-songwriter, who is known for singing in both Spanish and Catalan.
22. Lin-Manuel Miranda personally picked Sebastián Yatra to join the Encanto soundtrack after listening to his song "Adiós," which was recently nominated for a Latin Grammy Award.
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Sebastián reminisced about working with Lin, saying, "He really let me be myself within the song and the movie and also show a little bit of that storytelling way I have of singing, which is what he was looking for. He really loved the way I told that story [in 'Adiós']."
23. Isabella's song "What Else Can I Do?" was inspired by "the '90s rock en español movement.
Speaking about writing the song, Lin explained that the song was all about "finding those Colombian rhythms that are so unique." The song was also meant to find the real "pulse" of Isabella's character and showcase what she actually loves.
24. While writing "Colombia, Mi Encanto," Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspired a lot by Carlos Vives, who ended up recording the song for the film.
25. The Encanto directors Jared Bush and Byron Howard, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and teams across the world worked tirelessly to make sure the songs could be translated into as many languages as possible while keeping the "spirit of the song" in tact.
"These are not typically direct translations," Jared explained. "If a different word needs to come in or the way this is said needs to adjust, it should feel like the way it feels to us in whatever language feels very comfortable." Byron added, "Our teams around the world will come to us and say, 'What you can say in English in four seconds is very different than what you can say in Korean in four seconds. So can we say this?'" The film has been dubbed in 46 languages total.
26. In fact, a video of "We Don't Talk About Bruno," which features the hit song sung in 21 different languages, surpassed more than 12 million views on YouTube in just one week.
View this video on YouTubeDisney / Via youtu.be
Talking about why "We Don't Talk About Bruno" works perfectly in several languages, musicology professor Jacqueline Avila said it's simply because the song is so "streamlined."
27. And finally, the entire Encanto soundtrack became only the sixth animated film soundtrack to hit No. 1 in the history of the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart, which began regularly publishing weekly in 1956.
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The Encanto soundtrack follows the soundtracks for Frozen II, Frozen, Curious George, Pocahontas, and The Lion King, which all spent at least one week at No. 1. The Encanto album is also the first soundtrack to hit No. 1 since Frozen II in 2019.
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