Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend
Obama, Springsteen share stories in Spotify podcast
NEW YORK — Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen are teaming up for an eight-episode Spotify podcast series, swapping stories about their upbringings and recalling a White House singalong around a piano.
The first two episodes of “Renegades: Born in the USA,” a conversation recorded in Springsteen’s guitar-filled home studio in New Jersey, were made available Feb. 22.
The audio streaming service has already worked with Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground production company, and the former first lady’s podcast is the service’s most popular original.
The seemingly offbeat relationship between the former president and rock star began when Springsteen performed benefits for Obama during his presidential campaigns. But it has blossomed into deeper conversations since he left office, Obama said in the first episode.
“He’s a rock ’n’ roll icon,” he said. “I’m a lawyer and politician. Not as cool. And as I like to remind Bruce every chance I get, he’s more than a decade older than me.”
The men recalled a White House visit, which included Springsteen playing the piano as Broadway and Motown tunes were sung.
“There were libations involved,” Obama said.
Springsteen uses a few of those guitars during the course of the podcast. In that first episode, both men recalled feeling like outsiders growing up and turning to their fields as a way of finding their voices, with a little “megalomania” involved. In later episodes, they talk about racism, fatherhood and marriage.
Their wives, Michelle Obama and Patti Scialfa, also bonded, sealing their friendship.
“We still have a fundamental belief in the American ideal,” Obama said. “Not as nostalgia. But as a compass.”