Lin-Manuel Miranda is a playwright, actor, and songwriter. He's the creator of the broadway hits Hamilton and In the Heights, and he's a Tony-award winner, a Grammy winner, an Emmy winner, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant. Lin-Manuel grew up in New York, and would spend summers in Puerto Rico, where his parents are from and where much of his family still lives.
In September 2017, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, the worst storm in the island's history. The official death toll from the hurricane is 55 people, but that figure doesn't include hundreds of deaths that have resulted from lack of clean water or hospitals without electricity. The response to the crisis from the US government was slow. But the day after the hurricane hit, Lin-Manuel Miranda began working on "Almost Like Praying," a song whose proceeds could be used to raise money for hurricane relief, to get help to the island as quickly as possible. He recruited an all star cast of singers, rappers, and actors to put vocals on the track, including Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, and more; twenty-two artists total. And all of this was done in just eight days. In this episode, Lin-Manuel Miranda tells the story of how it all came together.