How the Encanto Soundtrack Became a Hit

In the past, Disney might have relied on a Broadway-style ballad, with a world-famous star singing in English, to propel one of its sound...


In the past, Disney might have relied on a Broadway-style ballad, with a world-famous star singing in English, to propel one of its soundtracks. (Think Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” in “The Lion King,” which went to No. 4 in 1994.)

“Encanto” flips that playbook, featuring Colombian stars like Carlos Vives and Sebasti├ín Yatra. “Bruno,” a complex ensemble piece with a classic cha-cha beat, is credited with six of the film’s actors. “Dos Oruguitas”, the first song Miranda wrote from start to finish in Spanish, is nominated for an Oscar.

To record the album, the producers brought in Colombian specialists to help bring authenticity to the beats and instrumental arrangements; most of the sessions, which took place last year, were conducted remotely.

But even with its use of acoustic instruments like the cuatro and the tiple – two relatives of the guitar – the sound of “Encanto” isn’t as far removed from mainstream pop as it might seem. Mike Elizondo, one of the album’s producers, who worked with Dr. Dre, Fiona Apple and the band twenty one pilotshighlighted the heavy bass that drives songs like “Bruno” and the presence of synthesizers that wouldn’t be out of place on a rap hit.

“When we were doing the music for the soundtrack, Lin was very encouraging,” Elizondo said in an interview. “‘Let’s not try to dilute anything,'” he recalled, telling Miranda. “”Let’s not feel we have to follow the rules of the previous soundtracks. “”

Even so, “Bruno” was almost entirely absent from radio for most of his rise. Disney didn’t start promoting it to radio stations until late January, Bunt said. In recent weeks, “Bruno” has had less than 4,000 spins per week on radio stations. By comparison, the week Adele’s “Easy on Me” reached No. 1 in October, US radio stations played it more than 18,000 times.

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