Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen team up for an eight-episode Spotify podcast series, swapping stories about their upbringing and even a White House chant over a piano.
The first two episodes of Renegades: Born in the USA, a conversation recorded in the guitar-filled home studio of Springsteen, New Jersey, were made available on Monday.
Spotify has aggressively moved into podcasts over the past three years and made other programming announcements on Monday. The audio streaming service has previously worked with Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground, and the former first lady’s podcast is the service’s most popular original.
The seemingly quirky relationship between the former president and the rock star began when Springsteen benefited Obama during his presidential campaigns. But that has turned into deeper conversations since he left office, Obama said in the first episode.
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“He’s a rock ‘n’ roll icon,” he says. “I am a lawyer and a politician. Not so cool. And as I like to remind Bruce whenever I get the chance, he’s over a decade older than me.
The men recalled a visit to the White House, which included Springsteen playing the piano while Broadway and Motown tunes were sung.
“There were libations involved,” Obama said.
Springsteen uses a few of these guitars during the podcast. In this first episode, the two remembered feeling like strangers growing up and turning to their domain to find their voice, with a bit of ‘megalomania’. In later episodes, they talk about racism, fatherhood, and marriage.
Their wives, Michelle Obama and Patti Scialfa, have also bonded, sealing their friendship.
“We still have a core belief in the American ideal,” Obama said. “Not like nostalgia. But as a compass.
The title of the series The Renegades: Born in the USA refers to one of Springsteen’s greatest hits and could also be a sneaky reference to the “birther” campaign where Obama’s eventual successor Donald Trump has falsely referred to. suggested that Obama’s origins were outside the country.
Spotify said Monday that it was working with Higher Ground on another podcast, Tell Them I Am, which compiles stories of Muslim voices and will debut throughout Ramadan.
The service also said it has struck a deal with Warner Brothers and DC Comics for a series of narrative podcasts, the first being Batman Unburied. Director Ava DuVernay is featured in a new podcast on high-profile cases of police brutality.
Spotify is also upgrading its sound, announcing that it will be launching Spotify HiFi later this year, where members with speakers connected to Spotify can subscribe to enhanced quality music streams.
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