Former President Obama and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground production company on Monday is debuting its second Spotify podcast, “Renegades: Born in the USA.” The eight-episode series features conversations between Obama and Springsteen, who formed a friendship during the 2008 campaign trail, as they discuss topics from marriage and fatherhood to race and the state of the country.
The premiere “Renegades” episode, titled “Outsiders: An Unlikely Friendship,” details how the politician and the musician forged their relationship despite not having “a lot in common” on the surface.
“He’s a white guy from a small town in Jersey. I’m a Black guy of mixed race born in Hawaii with a childhood that took me around the world. He’s a rock ‘n’ roll icon. I’m a lawyer and politician, not as cool,” Obama says in the podcast. “And as I like to remind Bruce every chance I get, he’s more than a decade older than me. Although, he looks damn good.”
Obama says the podcast with Springsteen was born out of a topic that dominated conversations in America last year: “How did we get here? How could we find our way back to a more unifying American story?”
He adds he happened to have that conversation with Springsteen and noted the two have “been on parallel journeys trying to understand this country that’s given us both so much.”
Obama recalls the time he first met Springsteen when the rocker performed on the campaign trail, adding that he thought the “Born to Run” artist was “lowkey and maybe even shy.”
“And I liked that in you. So I thought, ‘I hope I get a chance to talk to him at some point.’ But because it was in the middle of the campaign, we were rushing around,” Obama says.
Obama says the two of them eventually had “a nice chat. And it wasn’t like we had a deep conversation. And we had a number of those sort of interactions: You know, you performed at the inauguration, came by the White House, I run for re-election, you do some more stuff.
The former president also shares a story of when Springsteen joined him for dinner at the White House and the two sang “some Broadway tunes. And some Motown. And some classics.”
“I played the piano. You sang,” Springsteen says.
“And there was some… there were libations involved,” Obama says. “Well, he’s not as shy as I thought, but he just needs to loosen up a little bit.”
This new venture isn’t the Obamas’ first podcasting rodeo. The former president was Michelle Obama’s first guest on the debut episode of her “The Michelle Obama Podcast” last summer, and he spoke about his hopes for their daughters’ futures.
“More than anything, what it would be is that they’re living in a country that respects everybody and looks after everybody, celebrates and sees everybody,” Barack Obama said. “Because we know that if we’re not around, but those girls are in a society like that, they’ll be fine.”
The former first lady’s podcast teaches listeners to “open up new conversations – and hard conversations – with the people who matter most to them.” Topics of discussion include sibling relationships, raising children, girlfriends, women’s health, mentorship and marriage.