How Lin-Manuel Miranda Pays Tribute to David Bowie with Moana Song ‘Shiny’

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If we listen closely to one of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s strange songs in Disney’s new charcterised film Moana, you’ll hear a reverence to both David Bowie and The Little Mermaid.

That strain is “Shiny,” created by Miranda and achieved by Flight of a Conchords star Jermaine Clement. In a film, Clement plays a mean crab named Tamatoa, who’s penetrating on preventing protagonists Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) and Maui (Dwayne Johnson) from receiving a pivotal square of equipment for their query to save Moana’s people. “Shiny” is Tamatoa’s explanation, in strain form, about because he refuses to give a heroes a tool they need.

Miranda explains to PEOPLE how a Bowie-infused song, with a hint of Mermaid‘s “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” came to be.

“As shortly as they pronounced Jermaine Clement we got unequivocally excited,” a Hamilton star says of anticipating out Clement would be personification a villain. “I knew about Flight of a Concords before anybody. My hip-hop organisation Freestyle Love Supreme non-stop for Flight of a Concords during a Aspen Comedy Festival in 2004. I’ve famous of Jermaine’s gifts even before a TV show. Their Bowie tribute, that they did behind during a Aspen Comedy Festival was so brilliant, we pronounced ‘Oh, I’m essay that.’ The universe had already been anguish Bowie, I’d been listening to Bowie on a loop. we was like, good I’m essay a glam stone balance for this crab, this jewel-encrusted crab.”

For most some-more on Lin-Manuel Miranda and Moana, collect adult a new emanate of PEOPLE on newsstands now.

For a rest of a soundtrack, that Miranda co-wrote with composer Mark Mancina and Samoan artist Opetaia Foa’i, Miranda says he relied on a artistic group behind a film to assistance get him into a headspace of all a South Pacific-dwelling characters and to write strain for them.

“The artistic team, it was so critical to them that this film simulate a values and a enlightenment and a specificity of what it feels like in that partial of a world,” says Miranda. “What it feels like on a H2O and that extended to a low-pitched contributions. Opetaia led a assign and we consider we took a lead from him in terms of a rhythms and tempos and harmonies that unequivocally make it sound like it’s from that partial of a universe and afterwards we build from there and that’s a fun.”

One difference was a strain “How Far I’ll Go,” that is 16-year-old Moana’s angsty, “I’m independent” song.

“I wrote a lyrics to ‘How Far I’ll Go’ in my childhood bedroom,” Miranda reveals. “I’ve finished that a integrate of times before. If I’m essay a teenage impression and we need to bond with that angsty partial of myself that feels like a destiny is perpetually divided and all is life or death, we can only go and close myself in my childhood bedroom. My relatives live a few blocks from where we live. That’s how we wrote ‘How Far I’ll Go.’”

 Moana is now in theaters.

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