Former President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen have released a Spotify podcast series called Renegades: Born in the USA where the pair will talk about their ‘lives,music and enduring love of America’.
The first two episodes were released by Spotify on Monday. The first is titled Outsiders: An Unlikely Friendship and is about how the pair met.
The second is called American Skin: Race in the United States. It’s unclear how many more there will be.
There will be eight episodes in total, all of which will be released over the next few weeks.
It is the second Spotify podcast project for the Obamas – Michelle launched hers, Becoming, last year.
It’s unclear how much the pair were paid for the series. It was recorded last year at Springsteen’s home in New Jersey and was made by the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground.
It is part of a wider push by Spotify recently to beef up the platform’s podcast division with huge investments in big names like the Obamas and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The streaming service has never confirmed any figures for the new big-name deals. Its biggest payout to date for a podcast went to Joe Rogan, who was given $100million as part of a multi-licensing deal that also includes a back-catalog of 11 years worth of shows.
In a promo video for Renegades: Born in the USA that both Barack and Bruce shared on Instagram on Monday, they are shown sitting in a New Jersey studio, dressed casually, reminiscing about their childhoods.
Spotify announced Renegades: Born in the USA on Monday. The eight-episode series will see Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen talk about their lives, childhoods and the state of affairs in America
Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama recording Renegades: Born in the USA in New Jersey last month
Bruce admits in the video that he doesn’t remember when or where they first met, and Barack, in a voice-over for it, says he’s not ‘as cool’ as the 71-year-old musician.
Barack is wearing a pair of $80 Adidas Stan Smith sneakers and he has his pants rolled up.
At the start of the promo, the pair compare their relationships with their fathers.
‘My father was silent most of the time. He was not communicative. I grew up thinking my father was, like, ashamed of his family.
‘That was my entire picture of masculinity. Did you have to deal with that?’ Bruce, 71, asked Obama.
‘My father leaves when I was two. I don’t meet him until I’m 10, when he comes to visit for a month.
‘I had no way to connect to the guy. He’s a stranger who’s suddenly in our house,’ Barack replied.
The promo then cuts to childhood photos of the pair as boys, then to family shots of them with their respective wives and children.
‘On the surface, Bruce and I don’t have a lot in common. He’s a white guy from a small town in Jersey.
Bruce Springsteen talking about his father who he said was ‘silent’ mostly. He said he grew up thinking he was ‘ashamed of his family’
Obama also speaks about meeting his father for the first time aged 10 and how he struggled to relate to him
A young Bruce and Barack. In a voice over for the promo, Barack says: ”On the surface, Bruce and I don’t have a lot in common. He’s a white guy from a small town in Jersey. ‘I’m a black guy of mixed race, born in Hawaii. He’s a rock ‘n’ roll icon. I’m not as cool.’
The pair said they had fatherhood in common and being husbands. They showed pictures with their wives and kids
Bruce Springsteen with his wife Patti and two of their three kids
‘I’m a black guy of mixed race, born in Hawaii. He’s a rock ‘n’ roll icon. I’m not as cool.
“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.’
They discussed one of Bruce’s first visits to the White House, where ‘there were libations involved,’ according to Obama, and how their wives bonded.
At the start of the first episode, Barack slammed former President Donald Trump and his administration’s response to the pandemic.
‘For three years, I had to watch a presidential successor who was diametrically opposed to everything I believed in and witness a country that seemed to be angrier and more divided with every day,’ he said.
‘Then a historic pandemic and a slip shot government response that ‘rained hardship and loss on millions’.
Bruce Springsteen with Michelle and Barack Obama, the first time they met, at a campaign event in 2008
He went on: ‘How did we get here? How could we find our way back to a more unifying American story? That topic came to dominate so many of my conversations last year with Michelle, with my daughters, and with friends. One of those friends just happened to be Mr. Bruce Springsteen.’
They went on to reminisce over their first meeting – in 2008 at a campaign event where Barack thought Bruce was ‘low key’.
In the caption for the promo video on his Instagram page, Barack says: ‘Last year, I sat down with my good friend Bruce for a long and meaningful conversation that touched on so much of what we’re all dealing with these days.
‘I’m excited to share it with you over the next few weeks,’ he said.
In 2019, the Obamas signed a contract with Spotify whereby they would produce exclusive podcasts for the streaming giant.
Their production company is also releasing a podcast called Tell Them I Am, which compiles stories from Muslim voices and will debut throughout Ramadan.