Sebastián Yatra calls his experience with Disney’s “Encanto” a “gift from God”.
The Colombian singer-songwriter performs “Dos Oruguitas”, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. The film is also nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score.
“To be present in this way at the Oscars, not only with this song but with the movie ‘Encanto’ which is inspired by my country, is a gift from God, a gift from life,” Yatra said.
“To be the chosen voice to sing this song among so many wonderful Colombian artists and performers is simply a matter of being very lucky, of being in the right place at the right time,” he said in an interview since. Medellin, Colombia.
Set in the land of magical realism, “Encanto” follows Mirabel Madrigal, a teenage girl frustrated by being the only member of her family without magical powers. The cast, led by Argentinian-American actress Stephanie Beatriz, includes Diane Guerrero, John Leguizamo, Wilmer Valderrama and Angie Cepeda.
It’s the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to be co-directed by a Latina, Charise Castro Smith, and features original Miranda songs that topped the Billboard charts, such as “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” which has become the most streamed theme from a Disney animated film in more than 26 years, surpassing “Let It Go” from “Frozen.”
But when it came to submitting a song for the Oscars, the choice was “Dos Oruguitas.”
The moving allegorical ballad is the first song in Spanish nominated for an Oscar since “Al Otro Lado del Río” from “The Motorcycle Diaries” won the award from Uruguayan Jorge Drexler in 2005. That year, the academy invited Spanish star Antonio Banderas, a face better known than Drexler, to perform at the ceremony in a bittersweet moment for the songwriter and his Latin American fans.
But Yatra’s 28.9 million followers on Instagram (and 17.1 million on TikTok) could potentially give Oscars ratings a boost, which last year plummeted to a record low of 9.85 million. of viewers.
“I think there’s a big chance to make history not just for Colombia, but for Spanish language and Latin artists in general,” Yatra said. “I think Drexler has definitely established itself as the stepping stones and now more and more everyone is open to having new faces at the Oscars… If I get the opportunity to be that new face there -low, I will definitely enjoy it and just sing my heart out.
The Latin star, whose hits include ‘Robarte un Beso’, ‘Un año’ and ‘Tacones Rojos’, recalled how he was contacted to take part in the project. Apparently Miranda had heard his ballad “Adiós”, released early last year, and decided it was him.
“My manager Paula (Kaminsky) called me and said, ‘Sebas, they’re calling me from Lin-Manuel and the Disney crew for the movie ‘Encanto.’ I haven’t even finished listening. I said yes! Whatever they tell you, say yes. And of course I said yes and she told me it was to sing one of the songs from the movie.
“And beautiful things kept happening,” he continued, “because it was to sing one of the songs, then it was the main love song, then it was going to be in Spanish and they also wanted to save it in English in case different countries want to use it in English.
He proudly pointed out that although they recorded it in both languages, they decided to keep it in Spanish in all versions of the film. “Even though you’re listening to the movie in Chinese, when the ‘Dos Oruguitas’ part comes up, you hear it in Spanish, which is the first time it’s happened in the history of Disney movies.”
“Dos Oruguitas” will compete for the Oscar with “Be Alive” from “King Richard”, “Down to Joy” from “Belfast”, “No Time to Die” from “No Time to Die” and “Somehow You Do” from “Four good days.”
The 94th Academy Awards will air live March 27 on ABC from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.