This former president is a man of many talents, remaining an influential public figure after his time in office. He’s known for playing pickup basketball and being one of the most athletic presidents of the United States, but can Obama sing as well?
Barack Obama can sing, and while he isn’t a professional singer, he has sung for various occasions. From singing for someone’s birthday to an emotional rendition of Amazing Grace, Obama has many experiences publicly singing.
Read more below to find out about the times Obama sang, how professionals view his voice, and his other talents.
Obama’s Singing Voice
Obama has a knack for singing and has sung as a part of many of his speaking events. While the singing was never the main event, always a lead-up or a part of something bigger, he sang for many events.
Obama has sung Happy Birthday To You a few times, including to his eldest daughter, Malia Obama. Happy Birthday is a difficult song for anyone to sing, though it’s one of the most recognizable songs sung in English.
In a musical analysis of Obama’s voice, they acknowledge the challenge of the song. Obama’s rendition of the song isn’t the best any of the times he sings it, so what are some songs he’s had more success with?
A fan-favorite moment of Obama singing was at one of his speeches in 2012, which The Reverend Al Green was attending. Obama sang the first line of “Let’s Stay Together,” Al Green’s signature song, as a tribute to the soul music artist.
After Obama crooned the words “I’m so in love with you,” music analysts got to work. Obama’s voice was perfect for the high tenor line, and he was completely in tune, as he sang it in the perfect key, exactly how it was originally recorded by Al Green.
By naturally singing in perfect pitch, Obama must be far more musical than many have originally realized. The most poignant and moving of Obama’s music performances was at the memorial service of Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims of the Charleston shootings in 2015, where he performed a short version of the song “Amazing Grace.”
He tweaked the song to fit his tenor range, but that didn’t diminish the meaning of the performance. While Obama isn’t a professional singer, he is pretty good, and singing can give both fun and emotional tones to his speeches.
Check out the YouTube video below to watch the best of Obama’s singing.
Obama’s Dance Moves
Obama can sing, and he can dance, too! He dances less than he sings, but that doesn’t mean his moves aren’t just as entertaining.
After his election in 2008, Obama went on Ellen where his introduction included him and Ellen DeGeneres dancing to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” Both he and Ellen showed off their moves in a quick celebration of his making history as the first African-American President of the United States.
On a trip to Kenya during his presidency, Obama did the Lipala, a traditional dance common at celebrations. He was one of the leaders to dance, grooving to the Kenyan band Sauti Sol’s hit song “Sura Yako,” or “Your Face.”
After being inaugurated as the United States’ first black president, he and Michelle Obama danced to Beyoncé singing “At Last,” a well-known song originally written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren and recorded by Glenn Miller and later Etta James, at The Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.
Obama loved to sing and dance to blues music, as he explained in 2012.
“This is music with humble beginnings—roots in slavery and segregation, a society that rarely treated black Americans with the dignity and respect that they deserved. The blues bore witness to these hard times. And like so many men and women who sang them, the blues refused to be limited by the circumstances of their birth.”