Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda enlists an all-star cast to create "Almost Like Praying for Puerto Rico", a benefit single and video for the island, which has suffered devastation at the hands of Hurricane Maria.
Miranda joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss why he made a decision to write the song, how it all came together and his recent tweets slamming President Trump for the federal response in Puerto Rico. Miranda said those complex verses were inspired by the outpouring of geographic call-outs on social media from those hoping to locate friends and family on the island during the days of "terrible silence" after the storm. "For some, those days were weeks", Miranda told the Associated Press.
The song also marks a rare return to recording by Gloria Estefan, the Cuban American singer who helped bring Latin pop into the United States mainstream with her group Miami Sound Machine. "Like, I can write a song where the lyrics are the names of these towns and if the beat is hot and the voices sound great then we're OK and we're still off to the races".
The charity song borrows from "Maria", the classic song from Leonard Bernstein's and Stephen Sondheim's renowned musical West Side Story and the same name as Puerto Rico's disastrous hurricane.
Other contributing vocalists include Luis Fonsi, the Puerto Rican singer behind global viral hit "Despacito", Panamanian legend Ruben Blades, rapper Fat Joe and the salsa chart-topper Marc Anthony, also known as Lopez's ex-husband.
Lin-Manuel Miranda holds up the flag of Puerto Rico during a celebration in Vega Alta in August. Additional vocals were sent from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Ricky Martin and Daddy Yankee were also invited to take part but were already too busy assisting with hurricane recovery to participate. "I've never seen such mobilization in my life", Miranda said.
The Mirandas told CNN they have struggled to reach family in Puerto Rico.
"This was an unprecedented disaster and requires an unprecedented federal response", he said. Miranda said he wanted to give the name a positive connotation again.