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This Is Us Composers Say "It's Hard to See the Show" Without Rebecca's Original Song
The Emmy-nominated team behind "The Forever Now" explain how they created the emotional song and the importance of Mandy Moore's performance.
Numerous original songs were created and performed throughout This Is Us, but "The Forever Now" aka Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) song for her daughter Kate (Chrissy Metz), was a pivotal moment in the show's history and an emotional high from the final season. The original song, written by Taylor Goldsmith and composed by long-time This Is Us composer Siddhartha Khosla, also received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.
Goldsmith and Khosla had a huge responsibility for the final season of This Is Us: write a song that Rebecca would perform at Kate's wedding. The moment carried even more gravity due to Rebecca's ongoing battle with Alzheimer's, with many characters anxious to see if she would be able to perform. Considering the stakes in place for the episode, Goldsmith and Khosla knew they needed to create something really special. So what did they do? Create lyrics for the show's ending theme.
"It’s always daunting," Khosla explained, in an interview with Awards Radar. "Even after six seasons and multiple original songs, the challenge to write something that could serve the story and connect with our audience was always sweat-inducing." Goldsmith echoed this sentiment, knowing it was all or nothing for the original track. "I was under the impression that if this isn’t top-shelf great, according to Dan [Fogelman] and Sidd[hartha Khosla], then we will not do this." He continued, "Now looking back at that scene and what that episode is, it’s hard to see the show, let alone the episode, without that moment... I was telling myself to alleviate any amount of pressure because it was a big thing, and had to really deliver."
"The Forever Now" is significant not only because of how and when it is performed but for the insight it provides into Rebecca's failing mind and her feelings as a mother. Despite her health issues, Rebecca performs the song without a hitch in a moment packed with emotional vulnerability and timeless love, two elements that This Is Us frequently leverages to tell a believable story. "The Forever Now" undeniably leaves a lasting impression, which is why the track has garnered so much praise.
When discussing Goldsmith's marriage to Moore in the context of working on "The Forever Now", Goldsmith revealed his relationship gave him a unique advantage. "I was in this rare position of having a certain perspective that could be useful to what Sidd and Dan were looking for," Goldsmith explained. "On top of it all, I’m a songwriter, so when they needed original material, and they needed it to come out of Rebecca Pearson’s brain, I had this front row seat to the way [Mandy’s] been building this character."
Khosla explored how it feels to build a series' music from the ground up, and how that can lend itself to storytelling. After all, the music of This Is Us paired with heart-wrenching scenes is what leads fans to reach for the tissue box. "It’s about finding a thematic thread – a melody that can be woven throughout the episode in multiple variations," Khosla revealed. "So when I was able to find a theme, I’d work with our editors and Dan to weave it in wherever we could. The score of the show then became something that was a useful tool in helping tell the story."
And what a story it was! Moore's jaw-dropping performance of "The Forever Now" paired with Goldsmith and Khosla's artistry came together to create a perfect This Is Us moment. The final season of This Is Us boasts numerous powerful scenes, but Moore's performance of "The Forever Now" will likely be what fans will remember forever.
The 2022 Emmy Awards air September 12 at 8/7c on NBC.
Watch This Is Us on Peacock and on NBC.