When Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, Hamilton creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda started noticing that his Facebook and Twitter feed were becoming a "roll call of towns," with his friends and family members reaching out to see if anyone had heard from Puerto Ricans towns such as Utuado, Vieques and San Juan. This is when Miranda began realizing that this was the catalyst for what would ultimately become his charity single, "Almost Like Praying."
"I began thinking, 'That's the lyric,'" Miranda says of the list of all 78 towns in the country. "Almost Like Praying" started off as an a capella demo so Miranada could piece together the names of the towns. "It was the mathematics of making these towns rhyme and crossing them off the list when I found a way to artfully put them in a lyric until I reached all 78," he tells Billboard.
Once all 78 towns were in place, that's when Miranda started asking for favors. He texted Jennifer Lopez, "straight up" tweeted Camila Cabello and emailed rapper PJ Sin Suela. Lopez and Cabello replied immediately with great enthusiasm but Miranda heard nothing from Suela, who was physically in Pueto Rico at the time.