Former President Barack Obama has become a content creator following his presidency, launching a production company, Higher Ground, with his wife Michelle. Mr. Obama’s newest project is a podcast with an “unlikely” friend — Bruce Springsteen.
The former president and the rocker launched the Higher Ground-produced “Renegades: Born in the USA” podcast on Spotify on Monday.
The duo introduced their joint venture with two episodes, the first titled “Outsiders: An Unlikely Friendship.” Mr. Obama reflects on the strife caused by the pandemic and racial injustice in America and how the country can “find our way back to a more unifying story,” he says.
“That topic came to dominate so many of my conversations last year, with Michelle, with my daughters and withy my friends,” Mr. Obama continues. “And one of those friends just happens to be Mr. Bruce Springsteen.”
Mr. Obama says that on the surface he, a lawyer and politician from Hawaii, and Springsteen, a rock star from New Jersey, might seem to have little in common. “But over the years, what we’ve found is that we’ve got a shared sensibility,” he says. “About work, about family and about America. In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys trying to understand this country that’s given us both so much.”
They sat down and held conversations for the eight-episode podcast over the course of a few days in a converted farmhouse on Springsteen’s property. The first topic they discussed was why they felt like outsiders as kids, and “not surprisingly, the conversation then shifted to what has been the central dilemma of America since it’s founding: the issue of race,” Mr. Obama says.
In episode 2, “American Skin: Race in the United States,” which also dropped Monday, Spotify says they “reflect on their early experiences with race and racism and the uncomfortable conversations we need to have.” In the 42-minute episode, the hosts talk about Springsteen’s “integrated” E Street Band and the central importance of the late saxophonist Clarence Clemons.
“Renegades” will also cover a wide array of other topics like fatherhood, marriage, and the state of America, Spotify said in a statement to CBS News.
“President Obama and Bruce Springsteen have formed a deep friendship since they first met on the campaign trail in 2008,” the statement reads. “Now, for the first time ever, Higher Ground and Spotify invite listeners to eavesdrop as they discuss their hometowns and role models, explore modern manhood, and confront the painfully divided state of America today and how we can all move forward together.”
This is Higher Ground’s second original podcast available exclusively on Spotify, following “The Michelle Obama Podcast.”
Content provided by: CBS News