Lin-Manuel Miranda ups his odds for getting an Oscar and completing his PEGOT with “Inside Your Heart,” an original song from the impending animated film “Vivo.” He already has the Pulitzer, Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards in hand; all he lacks is the Academy Award.
Not that “Vivo” represents his only shot at it this year. With the original song “Home All Summer” from “In the Heights,” and his upcoming directorial debut with “Tick, Tick… Boom!,” Miranda has multiple paths to secure a nod somewhere.
“Vivo” (streaming Friday on Netflix) stars Miranda as the voice of Vivo, a kinkajou who spends his days performing on the streets of Havana. His owner is Andres, voiced by Juan de Marcos, who receives a letter from the famous singer Marta Sandoval, voiced by Gloria Estefan.
Vivo sets out to Miami to deliver a long-lost ballad to Marta in time for her last concert, and an adventure ensues as he travels from Havana to Cuba. Amid the adventure, the animated feature is packed with solid original songs.
“Keep the Beat” and “My Own Drum (Remix)” could be seen as early contenders, but “Inside Your Heart” stands out. Written by Miranda and performed by Estefan, this is the beating heart of “Vivo.”
Estefan thought she wouldn’t be able to commit to the film when Miranda approached her about starring in it. “He emailed me and told me he had this role, and it was a moment when I was so incredibly busy, I thought it was going to be impossible,” she says. “But he sent me the demo of him singing it, and it tore my heart apart.”
Estefan did what she could to make it work. “It’s a story after my own heart because I’m Cuban American, and that story of love, loss and separation is near and dear to my heart.”
The Caribbean- and Cuban-influenced music, she says, is “off the charts.” But “Inside Your Heart” is a love letter to music. “That’s what my music has always been to me,” she says of the tune. “Other people’s music, growing up, got me through the toughest times in my life. It was a lifeline for me.”
Estefan had the opportunity to do that with her own successful career being heard around the world and understood how her words and lyrics can help empower listeners.
Produced by Sony Pictures Animation, “Vivo” is their first musical film. Netflix acquired worldwide licensing rights.
The soundtrack will be released on Aug.6 by Atlantic Records.