As one of the three members of the music writing team for Disney’s upcoming animated film Moana, Miranda spoke about writing for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. “I figured out his vocal range from watching his wrestling videos,” said Miranda.
He also talked about The Hamilton Mixtape and the pop artists he got to sing on the compilation album. While he refused to name a favorite song, “I do have to say when Ashanti and Ja Rule sing ‘Helpless,’ it will give you all the feels as the children of the internet say,” Miranda confessed. “When I was writing that song, I was picturing [it] as an Ashanti/Ja Rule [duet].” Miranda recalled Ashanti and Ja Rule coming to the show and how he channeled his inner Ja Rule while performing that night.
Miranda met many of his role models at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, but one stood out. “It was actually pre-Hamilton, it was the first time I met [song parodist] Weird Al Yankovic,” Miranda admitted. “I have no chill whatsoever. … I was so upset with my own behavior that I went home and took a nap like a child.”
But even though Miranda’s star has risen high, he says New York keeps his head out of the clouds. “I was walking out of my theatre … and this lady [saw me and] went, ‘You’re famous’ and this other dude walking in the other direction went, ‘No you’re not,’ and that’s New York.”
Conan also pointed out that Miranda’s fame comes from his work and the fact that he’s teaching young kids to rap through the musical and its score.
Before he was an award-winning sensation and SNL host, Miranda’s performing got him into some trouble with the NYPD. “I got picked up for busking with my doo-wop group in the subway,” he said. “We made $40, and they fined us $50 each.
“Busted for doo-wop, my life in the theatre.”