We unveil his army of dedicated celebrity supporters...
GIGWISE

13:08 10th June 2008

Failed Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton could only muster up golden-oldies like Barbara Streisand and Sir Elton John to support her campaign, while Barack Obama is very much the man of the musical world with a whole legion of fervent and highly-influential followers. Here we run down the army of musicians who just love Obama... 

Photos: Carsten Windhorst / wenn / press /

  • Will.i.am – The Black Eyed Peas producer is such a staunch Obama follower that earlier this year he recorded and wrote a song in his honour. Titled 'Yes We Can', the promotional video features the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Herbie Hancock. Will.i.am has said that Obama “offers hope” to the world.

  • Pete Wentz - The Fall Out Boy star says that he has been a supporter of Obama "since day one." On January 22 he held a fundraiser for the Democrat candidate in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton narrowly winning a state. Wentz explained: "After watching the New Hampshire primary, I couldn't just be an observer anymore - I had to act. Barack is the first politician who's ever made me feel like our voices actually matter."

  • Arcade Fire - They're not even American, but Canadians Arcade Fire are huge supporters of Obama's campaign for change. On May 2, they played a concert in North Carolina in support of Obama. The band's frontman Win Butler said: "My experience with the Obama campaign has been very grassroots, that communal experience really fits what we're about as a band."

  • P Diddy – An enthusiastic P Diddy said in June 2008 that Obama's victory over his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton was the “proudest moment” of his entire life. The hip-hop megastar told MTV that Obama's win was “proof that America is the greatest country in the world.”

  • Bruce Springsteen - If you've got The Boss on your side, then you know your prospects are good. The music icon has repeatedly eulogised the candidate, hammered home by his point that Barack Obama is the only man to change America. He said in an interview: "(Obama has) the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years."

  • Stevie Wonder – The music legend described Obama as “a mix between JFK and Martin Luther King” - and compliments don't really come much higher than that. Wonder reckons that with the spirit of these two people, Obama will almost certainly be the next President of the United States.

  • Cool Kids / Jeff Tweedy – In December 2007, the unlikely pairing of hip-hop outfit Cool Kids and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy performed a benefit concert at the Rivera Theatre in Chicago for Obama. Their musical styles may be completely different, but their political leanings are in harmony.

  • Will Smith – As the old saying goes - if you've got Big Willie on your side, then you've got a chance of securing the presidency. Smith has formed a close relationship with Barack over the past few years and, like Oprah Winfrey, has used his considerable fame to publicise the politician. Obama joked in an interview earlier this year that he would love Will Smith to play him in a movie about his life because they have the “same ears.”

  • Nicole Scherzinger – Just like Scarlett Johansson, Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Scerzinger provided the eye-candy in the promo to Will.i.am's pro-Obama song 'Yes We Can.' While she hasn't spoken candidly about Obama in interviews, her support is still enduring through this video.

  • Q-Tip - Whereas a number of artists on this list have recorded songs in homage to Barack, Q-Tip has taken things even further by drafting in the Democrat to appear on his new LP. Although the rapper has given very little away about the spoken word collaboration, he has promised that the track will be "big." We'll have to wait until the album is released next month to hear the outcome.

  • John Legend – Extremely proactive in his unwavering support for Obama, Legend has recorded video messages, he featured in the video to Obama's pro-Barack song 'Yes We Can' and in April he spoke to 500 university students in Pennsylvania about becoming mobilized for change. Legend maintains his support for Democrat is not due to the colour of his skin but “because Barack is a unique and special person.”

  • Bob Dylan – In the immediate wake of Obama's Democrat race victory, 67-year-old Dylan heaped praise on Obama saying that he is “redefining what a politician is.” Asked by The Times whether Obama will definitely bring about change, Dylan remarked: “I’m hopeful that things might change. Some things are going to have to.” The Times, They Are A-Changing. His son Jesse directed the video to Will.i.am's pro-Obama track 'Yes We Can.'

  • Jay-Z – Asked in a radio interview earlier this year what he listens to on his iPod, one of the artists Obama cited was Jay-Z. Reciprocating the support, in a March radio phone in, Jay-Z pledged: "Bring your friends and families make sure your voices are heard for change. It's time for change. It's time for Barack Obama."

  • Moby - The baldy vegan uses his online journal to spout his views on political issues, so naturally in recent months he has spoken about his adulation for Obama and (apparent) loathing for Hillary Clinton. He attacked Clinton for lacking dignity in not conceding defeat a lot earlier and has repeatedly stated his wish for Obama to be the next President.

  • Talib Kweli – The 32-year-old MC is one of the most vocal supporters of Barack on our list, eulogising the politician on a number of occasions. On one interview Kweli heralded him as “inspiring” and claimed that he has “never seen anyone like Barack Obama before.” In February this year, he went to the lengths of writing an impassioned letter to the US public urging them to vote for Obama.

  • Morrissey - On one of the nights of Mozza's Camden Roundhouse Residency in London this January, The Smiths legend appeared onstage wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a picture of himself and Barack Obama. The same night he went into a rant against "Billary Clinton" and praised her rival saying 'God Bless Barack Obama.' He may not be American born, but he's firmly entrenched in his new home's politics.

  • Ludacris - Way back in November 2006, when the Senator was only toying with the idea of running for Presidency, Ludacris had a meeting Obama to talk about young people. It is such moves as this that have endeared so many younger voters to Obama. Ludacris praised Obama's "warm" style, saying it was like talking to a member of his family.

  • Common - The 36-year-old rapper has given his full support to Obama on a number of occasions, enthusing that the Democrat has got "good style." He told CNN in August 2007: "As far as people in my age group and people that love hip-hop, there's a love for Obama. He represents progress. He represents what hip-hop is about. Hip-hop is about progress, the struggle."

  • Mos Def – Not only does Mos Def believe in Obama's politics, but he also likes his aesthetics. He told the New York Observer: “When I saw (Obama) on the cover of Men’s Vogue, even before he threw his hat in, I was like, ‘This guy is going to run for president and he’s going to win.’ The best-looking guy for the job, at this point, is a black guy. I’m cool with that.”

  • The Decemberists – In May 2008, The Decemberists joint organised a rally for Obama in their native Portland, Oregon. Around 75,000 supporters turned out to hear the Democrat speak – two times as many people as his previous biggest rally.

  • Roger Waters - At Coachella Festival in April 2008, Pink Floyd star and outspoken Obama follower Roger Waters revealed a bizarre pro-Obama pig. During his set, the Brit released the helium pig, which came complete with slogans warning against the dangers of not voting for Obama, into the night sky. It was found destroyed in the desert a week later.

  • Rhymefest – When fellow Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco said that he wouldn't vote for Barack Obama, Rhymefest hastily posted a video response to his friend on his Myspace page under the title 'Don't Let Your Arrogance Fuel Your Ignorance (SUPPORT BARACK!)' in which he disputed Fiasco's viewpoints. This spurred on a debate between the two, with neither side backing down from their stance.

  • Ne-Yo – Having spoken about his adulation for Obama before, Ne-Yo appeared at a Los Angeles fundraiser for the Democrat in December last year. When he took to the stage, dressed dapper in a black suit and hat, Ne-Yo proclaimed to the mainly student audience “This is for Obama, our next President.” His vision may well come true.

  • Nas – One of the earliest hip-hop stars to voice their support, Nas has heralded Obama as “the face of America.” The rapper firmly believes that the 46-year-old has what it takes to become the most powerful man in the world, saying: “The man's got what it takes. He's serious.” Nas has even recorded a song for Obama titled 'Black President.'

  • Patti Smith - The punk legend thinks that Obama becoming President would not only be good for America, but it would be a "nice thing for the world." She believes that Obama's young age and fresh ideas will be a great benefit.

  • Young Jeezy - The rapper confessed to being intensely interested in the presidential race so far in 2008 and says there is only one person in it for him - Barack Obama. He told mtv: . "What (America has) feared for a long time, a black president, it could possibly happen right now."

  • Coldplay – A slightly tentative link here, but in the video to Coldplay's single 'Violet Hill', there's a shot of ladies underwear emblazoned with Barack Obama's name. Perhaps proof that the band hold him in high esteem.

  • Massive Attack - The Bristolian trip-hop outfit have voiced their support for Obama, but said in a recent interview with The Guardian: "There's no way the people with real power will let a black man run for President." They dejectedly continued that Republican candidate John McCain will seal the Presidency and that the Democrat candidate is a mere "side-show."

  • Scarlett Johansson – The stunning actress turned music star appeared in the promo video for Will.i.am's 'Yes We Can' song. The well-documented Democrat (she campaigned for John Kerry in the 2004 elections) has promoted Obama at a number of campaigns, specifically targeting students and youngsters. Despite her wealth, according to the FEC website, Johansson has not donated any money to Barack's campaign.

  • Pearl Jam – In February 2008, the band debuted the song 'Barack Around The Clock' – a cover of the classic Bill Haley & The Comets track 'Rock Around The Clock.' Despite the song's novelty value and dubious quality, you can't really fault Eddie Vedder and co.'s intentions.

  • Macy Gray - At the last minute, Gray was drafted in to appear at Jeff Tweedy and Cool Kids' Barack Obama fundraiser at the Rivera Theatre in Chicago last December. Tickets weren't cheap at $50 to $100 a head, but nonetheless it sold out completely, proving Obama's massive draw.

  • The Grateful Dead – The vintage rockers were so inspired by Obama that on February 4 of this year some of the band's former members rejoined for the self-dubbed 'Deadheads for Obama' fund-raising concert at the Warfield in San Francisco. The event took place just a day before the Super Tuesday primary elections and featured former Dead members Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, and Mickey Hart, alongside John Molo, Jackie Greene, Steve Molitz, Mark Karan and Barry Sless.

  • The Goo Goo Dolls – Their music may be pretty dire, but this didn't stop their Barack Obama fundraiser at Universal Studios in Los Angeles last year being a complete sell-out and utter success. Opening for them earlier in the night was R n B star Ne-Yo.

  • The Game – At the same time that Q-Tip and REM gave their backing to Obama in March 2008, The Game also pledged his allegiance to the Democratic candidate. Another heavyweight from the world of hip-hop onboard, this will undoubtedly bolster the amount of support Obama receives younger voters.

  • Joan Baez – The veteran folk singer has been vocal about cultural issues all her life – from the Vietnam War to lesbian rights to the 2008 race for the presidency. On February 3, 2008 she wrote a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle which stated: "If anyone can navigate the contaminated waters of Washington, lift up the poor, and appeal to the rich to share their wealth, it is Sen. Barack Obama."

  • Michael Stipe – While performing a show with R.E.M in Florida this March, Stipe appeared onstage wearing a Barack Obama T-shirt. He told the crowd that he was going to vote for the candidate who gave him hope, rather than the one (Hillary Clinton) that tells him what he already fears.

  • Daedelus – The DJ was the man who helped piece together Will.i.am's now famous 'Yes We Can' track. As well as this, he also produced Taz Arnold's track 'Vote Obama', which is a big hitter on YouTube. It's fair to say that Daedelus is dedicated to the Obama cause.

  • Herbie Hancock – In the same month 68-year-old Hancock surprisingly beat Kanye West to the Grammy Award for album of the year, will.i.am's video for 'Yes We Can' was released featuring none other than the music legend himself.

  • Bright Eyes - Staunchly anti-George Bush in his views, Bright Eyes - aka Conor Oberst - has played a couple of shows in support of Obama this year. His first one was in Iowa in January, then he performed alongside M.Ward in Nebraska in February shortly before Barack came to town to deliver a speech.

  • Usher – In 2007, Obama came under fire when he allegedly attended an Usher concert in Iowa instead of an important meeting. A year later Usher publicly voiced his support for Obama and was invited to speak alongside the Democrat in Orangeburg County where he delivered an impassioned speech.

Issue Four of the Gigwise Print magazine is on pre-order now! Order here.