In what initially feels like a very unlikely pairing, former-President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen have teamed up for Renegades: Born in the USA, a Spotify podcast, to dive into “race, fatherhood, and the painful divisions that persist in American society,” The New York Times reports. The first two episodes are out now; six subsequent episodes will be released weekly. The show is produced by Obama and his wife Michelle’s company, Higher Ground Productions.
“In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys,” Obama says in the first episode. “We still share a fundamental belief in the American ideal. Not as an airbrushed, cheap fiction or an act of nostalgia that ignores all the ways that we’ve fallen short of that ideal. But as a compass for the hard work that lies before each of us as citizens.” According to the Times, Obama was very much inspired by his wife Michelle’s podcast she launched last July with Spotify and chose Springsteen to be on the broadcast with him.
Everyone has a podcast these days, and this form of storytelling, is what the Times referred to as “once seen as a low-stakes sandbox filled with comedians and public-radio regulars, is now a booming, competitive media business that attracts ever-bigger names.”
Music has always played an important role in my life—and that was especially true during my presidency. In honor of my book hitting shelves tomorrow, I put together this playlist featuring some memorable songs from my administration. Hope you enjoy it. pic.twitter.com/xWiNQiZzN0
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 16, 2020
The two met when Obama was campaigning for his first term in office. Springsteen performed at the White House in 2017, then developed his show into a solo act for Broadway. Obama has also often incorporated Springsteen’s songs into his playlists he shares with the public. Last November, when he released his book, Obama named Springsteen’s “The Rising” as one of the memorable songs from his administration. The year prior, Obama included Springsteen’s “Hello Sunshine” on his Best of 2019 playlist with the likes of Lil Nas X, DaBaby, Wale, Frank Ocean, and Solange.
Hey, maybe he’ll start a substack newsletter next.