Lin-Manuel Miranda, the award-winning creator of the hit Broadway musicals “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” likens making music to starting a small business.

“If you’re starting a small business, you’re doing what I do as a composer,” he said. “What is there in the world that does not exist but should exist? And can I help it exist in the world?”

At the 5th Annual L’Attitude Conference, a national gathering focused on Latino business, innovation and consumers, held in downtown San Diego, Miranda offered advice and helped small businesses shared his thoughts on being the thread that binds the community together.

In the same breath, he emphasized how much small businesses and theaters depend on the support of community members who have been devastated by the pandemic.

“It’s about collaboration. “We really depend on our communities to keep us alive. And that’s a lesson I bring to the small business world.” was.”

In addition to accolades in the entertainment industry, from a Pulitzer Prize to three Grammy Awards, Miranda has added small business owner to her extensive resume.

Last year, he and his friends revived a 100-year-old Manhattan drama bookshop after it nearly closed due to rent increases. That small business was where he would write, find inspiration, and meet with his longtime friend, collaborator, and “Hamilton” director, Thomas Kayle, in the store’s basement.

American Express Group Presidents Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anna Mars speak at the L'Attitude conference.

Award-winning Broadway composer Lin-Manuel Miranda speaks to American Express Group’s global We speak with Anna Mars, President of Commercial Services and Credit and Fraud Risk. .

(Meg McLaughlin/San Diego Union-Tribune)

Miranda has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands, from Disney to American Express, and has provided entrepreneurial advice on building authentic brands.

“I strongly believe that the truth is easier to remember,” he said. “People ask me how I stay so authentic, because I can’t remember if I made something up.”

“You have the power to pull all of yourself into a room,” he said. “When you walk into the boardroom, don’t turn off your latinidad. Everything you learn at your grandmother’s or dad’s feet will come in handy in that boardroom. It’s not what you forget, it’s what you bring.” and your superpower.”

And when considering what problems to tackle, it’s about finding “what keeps you up” and what keeps you up at night, which will vary from person to person, he said. A big problem for him is giving back to the Puerto Rican community where his family is from.

When Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, he said he brought the production of “Hamilton” to the island and raised $15 million. Just last week, he traveled to Puerto Rico to deal with Hurricane Fiona.

In many ways, drawing from his past and roots in the Latino community has been key to Miranda’s success. His first Broadway musical, In the Heights, was recently adapted for the silver screen, but it was all about his neighborhood, Washington Heights, and the small business owners trying to get there.

A large part of his job is to celebrate the community that raised him and its resilience, and to represent it while pointing out that the Latinx community is vast and not monolithic.

“Now that I’ve had a taste of your world as a small business owner, it’s reaffirmed how impossible it is without community,” he said. , because we’re all from a small part of the world, but we’re also very powerful when we’re together. There’s really nothing we can’t do.”

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