Podcast odd couple: Obama, Springsteen in Spotify series

Bruce Springsteen, left, appears with  former President Barack Obama during their podcast of conversations recorded at Springsteen's home studio in New Jersey. The eight-episode series covers their upbringings, racism, fatherhood and even recall a White House singalong around a piano. (Rob DeMartin/Spotify via AP)
Bruce Springsteen, left, appears with former President Barack Obama during their podcast of conversations recorded at Springsteen's home studio in New Jersey. The eight-episode series covers their upbringings, racism, fatherhood and even recall a White House singalong around a piano. (Rob DeMartin/Spotify via AP) (Rob DeMartin)

NEW YORK – Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen are teaming up for an eight-episode Spotify podcast series, swapping stories about their upbringings and even a White House singalong around a piano.

The first two episodes of “Renegades: Born in the USA,” a conversation recorded in Springsteen's guitar-filled home studio in New Jersey, were made available on Monday.

Spotify has moved aggressively in podcasts over the past three years, and made other programming announcements Monday. The audio streaming service has already worked with Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground production company, and the former first lady's podcast is the service's most popular original.

The seemingly offbeat relationship between the former president and rock star began when Springsteen performed benefits for Obama during his presidential campaigns. But it has blossomed into deeper conversations since he left office, Obama said in the first episode.

“He's a rock ‘n’ roll icon,” he said. “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.”

The men recalled a White House visit, which included Springsteen playing the piano as Broadway and Motown tunes were sung.

“There were libations involved,” Obama said.

Springsteen uses a few of those guitars during the course of the podcast. In that first episode, both men recalled feeling like outsiders growing up and turning to their fields as a way of finding their voices, with a little “megalomania” involved. In later episodes, they talk about racism, fatherhood and marriage.