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Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama have teamed up to do 'Renegades: Born in the USA' podcast on Spotify. Are they friends?

‘Renegades: Born in the USA’: Check out Bruce Springsteen’s new podcast

Former President Barack Obama is teaming up with Bruce Springsteen on a new podcast for Spotify. In Renegades: Born in the USA, the friends will sit down to discuss everything from race to fatherhood to modern manhood to the state of America today.

That’s right Bruce Springsteen & Barack Obama have a new podcast together! (Yeah, we know that’s got your wig spinning. Grab it!)

Common ground

“On the surface, Bruce & 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 & roll icon. I’m not as cool,” Obama stated in a video promoting the podcast. But he noted, “In our own ways, Bruce & I have been on parallel journeys.”

The eight-episode series is the second podcast project from Higher Ground, the production company launched by Obama & wife Michelle Obama after leaving the White House. Spotify revealed the plan for Renegades at its Stream On virtual presentation on February 22, announcing that the first two episodes are available to both its free and paid users.

Both born in the USA

Obama & Springsteen first met on the campaign trail in 2008 and struck up an unlikely friendship. The pair bonded over what Obama notes in the podcast’s first episode as “a shared sensibility” about life, including work, family & America.

Obama, in the intro to the first episode, notes that both he & Springsteen have been “trying to chronicle the stories of its people. Looking for a way to connect our own individual searches for meaning & truth & community with the larger story of America”.

The podcast is decidedly the highest-profile collaboration in the history of podcasting. “It is a personal, in-depth discussion between two friends exploring their pasts, their beliefs, and the country that they love — as it was, as it is, and as it ought to be going forward,” Spotify said in a statement, noting that the two men “have formed a deep friendship since they first met on the campaign trail in 2008.”

First blush

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,” Obama recalled. “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 shared that 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.”

Lively lyricism

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 admitted. “Well, he’s not as shy as I thought, but he just needs to loosen up a little bit.”

Spotify dominion

It is also another landmark moment in Spotify’s aggressive push to dominate the podcast business. The Swedish streaming service has committed more than $500 million to acquiring podcast companies and has struck exclusive deals with big names including Joe Rogan & Kim Kardashian and major brands like Warner Bros.

In 2019, Spotify signed an exclusive deal with the Obamas to produce podcasts. Their first production, The Michelle Obama Podcast, was the top global podcast when it launched last summer, and Spotify is betting that the Obama-Springstreen series will have similar appeal worldwide.

Many of the conversations between Obama & Springsteen are likely to focus on fixing America’s cultural and political divides. Obama & Springsteen unveiled the “Renegades” podcast during a virtual Spotify event in which the company also announced an expansion of their D.C. Comics shows and a new partnership with the Russo brothers, the directors of “The Avengers” films.

What do you think of this new collaboration between Obama & Springsteen? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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