Michelle Obama to Host Podcast on Relationships for Spotify

Michelle Obama
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Michelle Obama attends 'Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama' at State Farm Arena on May 11, 2019 in Atlanta.

Michelle Obama is stepping into the role of podcast host.

A new audio show from the former first lady, The Michelle Obama Podcast, will premiere on Spotify on July 29. The podcast will explore the relationships that shape people — from those with family to those with mentors to those with themselves — through "candid and personal conversations" between Obama and a series of special guests, Spotify announced on Thursday.

The Michelle Obama Podcast is the first in a multiyear partnership between the music streaming giant and the audio arm of Higher Ground, the production company that she and her husband, former president Barack Obama, established after he left office. It will give Obama an opportunity to dive into topics beyond those addressed in her 2018 best-selling memoir, Becoming, or 2020 Netflix documentary of the same name.

"My hope is that this series can be a place to explore meaningful topics together and sort through so many of the questions we’re all trying to answer in our own lives," Obama said in a statement. "Perhaps most of all, I hope this podcast will help listeners open up new conversations — and hard conversations — with the people who matter most to them. That’s how we can build more understanding and empathy for one another."

The guests expected to appear on the show include late night host Conan O’Brien; Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama; journalist Michele Norris and Dr. Sharon Malone, an obstetrician/gynecologist and wife of former attorney general Eric Holder. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, and brother, Craig Robinson, will also participate in the podcast.

In a promotional video for The Michelle Obama Podcast, she teased that it would cover "the challenges and the joys of being a parent or a spouse, the friendships that help us through the toughest times, or the growth we experience when we lean on the colleagues and mentors around us."

The podcast will debut exclusively on Spotify but could eventually be distributed on other platforms. New episodes will be released weekly.

"We believe that audiences across the globe will be inspired by these most candid, most human and most personal conversations between first lady Michelle Obama and her guests," Spotify chief content and advertising business officer Dawn Ostroff said in a statement. Salesforce and Procter & Gamble brands Dawn and Tide will be the presenting sponsors for the podcast’s first season.

Spotify’s 2019 podcasting pact with the Obamas signaled the scope of the music company’s ambitions in audio. The company, which has 286 million monthly active users, has spent upwards of $500 million to acquire podcast studios and bring top talent exclusively to its platform.

At the time of their deal with Spotify, the Obamas said they would launch a new podcasting division, Higher Ground Audio, within their production company, which has an exclusive film and TV deal with Netflix that has led to documentaries American Factory and Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. In the year since Higher Ground Audio was first announced, the company has staffed up. Grantland veteran Dan Fierman leads the team, Jezebel founder Anna Holmes serves as executive vp and former Crooked Media director of development Mukta Mohan serves as vice president.

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