Wall That Heals, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, was the inspiration for creating ‘This Is Their Time.’ We wanted to write something anthemic and uplifting to help tell the story of that memorial and the names etched in it. Releasing a brand new song on Veteran’s Day is a way of honoring the immeasurable sacrifices of the men and women who have served in the military throughout our country’s history, as well as those who continue to serve today. We’re excited to have the song featured in an upcoming PBS special produced by our friend Tim Stevens, which will air early next year.
Bridge: How did this project come about?
MARK VOGEL: We received a call to create a song for a PBS special centered around The Wall That Heals. The wall is an incredible traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and so it’s able to make appearances in towns and communities across the country. As we learned about the more than 58,000 names on the wall and the lives they represent, we immediately became moved to write something anthemic and uplifting to shine a light on the memorial’s healing legacy.
Bridge: What does it mean to each of you to be working on a meaningful project like this one?
BARRY ANDERSON: This is the first time either of us has worked on anything specifically related to this subject. Having the opportunity to research and learn more about the Vietnam War itself and the thousands of soldiers who served and gave their lives was eye opening. It’s a definite honor to be able to shine a light on those heroes and offer up a musical tribute to, in a small way, say “thank you.”
Bridge: What do you hope audiences take away from the song?
BARRY ANDERSON: When we began thinking about releasing this song, doing so on Veterans Day definitely made the most sense. “This Is Their Time” reflects the things that Veterans Day embodies – legacy, honor, gratitude for those who have served our country. If the song can be a catalyst for a person say “thank you” the next time they see someone in uniform, that sure would be meaningful.
Bridge: What can you tell us about the writing and production process for this project?
MARK VOGEL: Once Barry and I had finished writing the song, I brought in some fantastic, world-class musicians and singers to record everything at Studio City Sound here in L.A.
BARRY ANDERSON: I feel as though everything about Mark’s arrangement of “This Is Their Time” captures the uplifting spirit of the wall. And his vocals completely soar. The vibe of the track sort of lives in this folk/rock/country place and has a very universal, musically-accessible quality to it. I’m really excited for listeners to hear it.
Bridge: Tell us a bit about the PBS Special that this show is going to be airing in!
MARK VOGEL: Tim Stevens, a producer based in North Carolina, is putting the special together. We wrote original music for his special, “A Different Kind of Christmas,” last year, and the show ended up winning the Telly Award. This is Tim’s next project.
Bridge: What is your songwriting process like? Is it different when working together vs. when you’re working solo?
BARRY ANDERSON: I’m NYC-based, and Mark is in L.A. So, for obvious reasons, things like Zoom, text message, and voice memos have been our best friends when it comes to co-writing. We definitely embrace the ways technology has allowed us to work more efficiently and remotely.
MARK VOGEL: We almost always have some specific goal in mind when we put a writing session in our calendars, and we try to make sure to bring some solid ideas to the table.
BARRY ANDERSON: I generally begin writing a song by coming up with some title or hook line idea, since that often ends up informing a lot of the chorus. For me, verses tend to take the most time, because there’s that challenging aspect of “saying something new in the 2nd verse…” But Mark is able to work very quickly, on the spot at the piano. He is so used to working in tv and film, where deadlines are the norm. Sometimes the best tunes get written when we don’t have time to overthink things.