As part of her promotion for her bestselling book, Becoming, Michelle Obama is talking to everybody and their mama. Next up: Questlove.
The former-and-forever first lady recently chatted with The Roots musical director about everything from Chicago stepping to her White House experiences on his Pandora podcast, Questlove Supreme. And before you ask: yes, they broached that question and the answer is still no, she does not want to be president. In fact, she doesn’t ever want to run for office.
Obama specifically reminisced on the musical moments during the eight years she spent at the White House. One of the most memorable moments involved Prince and how difficult it was to book him to perform at the presidential palace.
Don’t fret, it wasn’t about Prince being a diva (though he had every right to be), but more so about respecting his religion. The late music icon was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness.
“We went back and forth trying to get Prince, because most of our personal parties revolved around birthdays—and Prince didn’t celebrate birthdays,” Obama recalled. “‘He was like, I can’t come but I want to come.’ We had to figure out how to create something that wasn’t a birthday.”
As we now know, they eventually pulled it off and Prince ended up giving them a private concert at the White House in 2015. Obama also spoke about the importance of having musicians of Prince’s caliber perform during her husband’s presidency.
“One of the things I wanted to make sure of is that we got all the greats to perform, because I didn’t know if anyone was ever going to ask them to perform at the White House [again],” she noted.
Looking back in hindsight within Chief Cheeto’s America, that was a valid concern. I mean, Prince’s estate won’t let Head Hairpiece play his songs anyway, so there’s that.
Speaking of music, the Questlove was also the curator of Obama’s Spotify playlist for her book tour, entitled, “Michelle Obama’s Musiaqualogy Vol 1. 1964-1979, Vol 2. 1980-1997, Vol 3. 1997-2018.” The list features an array of sounds from Michael Jackson, Jill Scott, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder (duh), and more.
Naturally, Obama stanned about her love for Stevie Wonder, noting how much he had always been a part of her life. The first record she ever owned was Wonder’s Talking Book and his 1983 Philadelphia performance was her first concert, according to a premiere clip obtained by Billboard.
“I remember spending time not only listening to the record over and over again, but trying to feel the braille and understand the words,” Obama said. “And I would memorize the cover because there’s something about that cover with Stevie without his glasses sitting, like, in a canyon area in that dashiki afghan sort of thing with the braids and all of that was… That cover, to me, was as much the experience of the album for me.”
The full episode of “Ep. 113 feat. Michelle Obama” is now available on Pandora.