Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen team up for unlikely project

The former President has started a new venture with legendary singer-songwriter

Former President Barack Obama speaks in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during a drive-in rally at the Florida International University on November 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Mr. Obama is campaigning for his former Vice President before the Nov. 3rd election
(Image credit: Joe Raedle / Staff Getty)

Barack Obama has teamed up with Bruce Springsteen for an unlikely project which gets them both into a recording studio.

The former President, who launched a production company called Higher Ground, following his US presidency, with his wife Michelle and now he is set to show off his skills.

Mr. Obama has followed in the footsteps of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who signed a podcast deal with Spotify at the end of 2020, as he teams up with rocker Bruce to launch "Renegades: Born in the USA" podcast.

The unlikely podcasting pair open up on more personal topics such as fatherhood, marriage, and the state of America, Spotify told CBS news. And Mr. Obama has since shared a behind-the-scenes video from the recording with his followers on Instagram.

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The statement reads, "President Obama and Bruce Springsteen have formed a deep friendship since they first met on the campaign trail in 2008. 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."

In the first of two episodes, titled "Outsiders: An Unlikely Friendship." Mr. Obama reflects on the strife caused by the coronavirus pandemic and racial injustice in America and talked about how the country can "find our way back to a more unifying story."

Mr. Obama said, "That topic came to dominate so many of my conversations last year, with Michelle, with my daughters, and with my friends. And one of those friends just happens to be Mr. Bruce Springsteen."

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The podcast comes after Mr. Obama posted the sweetest birthday message to his wife.

And if you're wondering what else Bruce - a rock star from New Jersey - and Obama - a lawyer and a politician from Hawaii - have in common, it turns out they have a fair bit.

"Over the years, what we've found is that we've got a shared sensibility. 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," Obama explained.

And it looks like fans will be in for a treat as they recorded the eight-episode podcast over a few days holed up in a converted farmhouse on Springsteen's property.

One of the first topics they touch on is why they felt like outsiders as kids. 

Mr. Obama said, "Not surprisingly, the conversation then shifted to what has been the central dilemma of America since its founding: the issue of race."

The second episode, American Skin: Race in the United States, which has also dropped, is a 42-minute episode in which Spotify says they "reflect on their early experiences with race and racism and the uncomfortable conversations we need to have." 

Before going on to recall Springsteen's "integrated" E Street Band and the central importance of the late saxophonist Clarence Clemons. 

This is Higher Ground's second original podcast available exclusively on Spotify, following "The Michelle Obama Podcast."

Selina Maycock
Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.

Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.

Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.

When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.