Former President Barack Obama

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — Podcasts have become the latest world for former President Barack Obama to conquer, and towards that end he’s teaming with rock superstar Bruce Springsteen. President Obama and Springsteen began a series of podcast conversations this week that will air exclusively on Spotify. It’s the newest entry in the company’s expanding slate of audio programming.

The series is titled “Renegades: Born in the USA” is an eight-episode podcast. President Obama and Springsteen have been friends for over a decade. According to a Spotify press release they will engage “in deep and revealing conversation” on a series of topics. These will include race, fatherhood, marriage, and the state of America. The series first two episodes launched Monday  More info is available on Higher Ground’s hub on Spotify at this link. The official announcement was made at Spotify’s Stream On event.

The Obama/Springsteen “Renegades” series is Spotify’s second original podcast under the company’s exclusive deal with Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground. “The Michelle Obama Podcast” hit the streaming service last summer, and according to Spotify had the biggest debut of any original to date. The premiere episode featured Barack as Michelle’s first guest.

Barack Obama and Springsteen first met on the campaign trail in 2008 and have “formed a deep friendship since,” according to Higher Ground. On the “Renegades” podcast, they talk about their hometowns and role models, modern manhood, and the divided state of America today and how we can all move forward together.

“On the surface, Bruce and I don’t have a lot in common,” Barack Obama said in the intro to the first episode. “But over the years, what we’ve found is that we’ve got a shared sensibility — about work, about family and about America. He continued, “In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys trying to understand this country that’s given us both so much. Trying to chronicle the stories of its people. Looking for a way to connect our own individual searches for meaning and truth and community with the larger story of America.”

Spotify also announced a new season of Higher Ground’s “Tell Them, I Am,” a collection of narratives from Muslim voices hosted by Pakistani-American podcaster Misha Euceph. A new episode will premiere every weekday during Ramadan, looking at the lives of 22 people from all over the world.

In addition to its multiyear pact with Spotify, Higher Ground has an exclusive production agreement with Netflix for scripted films, TV series, children’s programs and documentaries. The company’s first release, “American Factory” won the 2019 Academy Award for documentary feature.