How many songs can say that they’ve dethroned Adele to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart? Not many. That’s just one reason that “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Disney’s animated film, Encanto is so special. The song was created by Encanto mastermind and Hamilton visionary, Lin-Manuel Miranda. The full tune is sung by an ensemble made up of Carolina Gaitán (Pepa), Mauro Castillo (Félix), Adassa (Dolores), Rhenzy Feliz (Camilo), Diane Guerrero (Isabela), and Stephanie Beatriz (Mirabel).
The characters sing about their estranged relative Bruno Madrigal, whose magical gift of seeing the future has been negatively associated with mishaps and bad luck. The mid-tempo song effortlessly blends various genres including salsa, Broadway, pop, and hip-hop, and has been translated into 46 languages.
The singers got the lyrics and the music just two days before their recording session, which was done in an unconventional manner due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite Gaitán and Castillo’s characters dancing in the scene, they actually recorded their parts via Zoom with the direction of Manuel. “Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius,” Castillo told Billboard. “The song is a cha cha cha with montuno, and it’s amazing that you have the tambor, salsa [playing] around the world. I heard it and I told my wife, ‘This song, it could be big. It invites to dance and to enjoy the music, the movement, the color.’”
Miranda revealed to Indie Wire that he was inspired by “A Weekend in the Country” from A Little Night Music and “It’s Beginning to Snow” from Rent for the production and lyricism. “We really thought the magic of our story was that it’s a huge family and that allows for a lot of layers and a lot of misunderstandings,” Miranda explained to Vulture. “So I pitched this song as a way to check in with the family members who weren’t going to get a solo.
“The other really kind of funny thing that I love about [the song] – that we don’t really talk about – is everything [Bruno] predicts is super predictable,” Miranda added. “There’s no malice in any single prediction. And I wanted that to be clear on your second and third viewing.”
The viral sensation has become such a household fixture that it reached No. 1 on Spotify’s Top Songs in the United States chart for multiple weeks, and has topped the UK Singles Chart and Billboard’s Canadian Albums chart. The song is even being played on Pop and Adult Pop radio stations.
Part of the reason that the song gained so much traction in such a short amount of time is TikTok. Fans quickly fell in love with the unique characters, relatable family generational trauma storyline, and celebration of Latin culture. Its fan creations have billions of views on the short-form video platform.
Two months after the film’s premiere, Miranda returned from vacation to discover the song’s rapid rise in popularity. “The notion of a bunch of voices happening within one home feels very resonant, with hindsight,” Miranda told the Associated Press. “There’s kind of a part for everyone to play in singing along with the song. If you’re not bopping to this melody, another melody is coming along in two seconds because almost every character gets a little feature in it.”