Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend

Obama, Springstee­n share stories in Spotify podcast

- BY DAVID BAUDER

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.”

 ?? ROB DEMARTIN/SPOTIFY VIA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Bruce Springstee­n and former President Barack Obama cover their upbringing­s, racism, fatherhood and more in the eight-episode “Renegades: Born in the USA” podcast.
ROB DEMARTIN/SPOTIFY VIA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Bruce Springstee­n and former President Barack Obama cover their upbringing­s, racism, fatherhood and more in the eight-episode “Renegades: Born in the USA” podcast.

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