Kristin Lems is a versatile composer, songwriter, folksinger, performing artist, and keynote speaker with 20+ years of professional performing experience. Born to an acclaimed concert pianist mother and musical Dutch immigrant father, she was raised in Evanston, Illinois, and studied music from an early age. Her early talent in writing and academics won her many awards, including a first place from Scholastic Magazines, a National Merit Scholarship, and a Hopwood Award for poetry from University of Michigan.
As a teenager, Kristin picked up the guitar, like many others, and wholeheartedly joined the movement for a better world. With guitar in arms, she brought her stirring singing voice and engaging stage presence to nationwide public events for the ERA and women's rights, safe energy, peace, racial equality, and other pressing causes. Equally at home before vast crowds or in small living rooms, she has shared the stage with two First Ladies, Maya Angelou, Captain Jacques Cousteau, Gloria Steinem, Helen Caldicott, Greg Palast, and Alan Alda, and even sang a song on Nightline. Musicians include Pete Seeger, Gil Scot-Heron, Malvina Reynolds, Holly Near, Dan Fogelberg, Laura Love, Koko Taylor, Peter Paul and Mary, Michele Shocked, the BoDeans, and Simon Townshend, among others.
New Yorker magazine called Kristin "a charmer in the most literal and least artificial sense of the word." Gloria Steinem referred to her as "a one woman argument against the notion that the women's movement doesn't have a sense of humor." The Illinois Times said, "Kristin not only has a beautiful voice, clear, crisp and forceful, but she is a very creative and thoughtful lyricist." And of Kristin's performances, The Evansville Courier said, "the performance was simple yet substantive, humorous, yet poignant, and always energetic and warm."
Kristin appears in the award-winning documentary Radical Harmonies, talking about the founding of the National Women's Music Festival, and singing original songs. She also performs an original song in the twice Grammy-nominated CD anthology The Best of Broadside, on the Smithsonian/Folkways label. Her album on Flying Fish/Rounder, Born a Woman, was in the Chicago Reader's Top Ten Folk/Country albums. Her songs have been recorded by Butch Hancock and others, and have been aired on TV and movie soundtracks, Car Talk, and especially by Dr. Demento, who regularly spins her classic "Mammary Glands." "Farmer," her tribute to American farm women, was written up in an Ann Landers column. Kristin's songs appear in Here's to the Women, Rise up Singing, Sing Out! Songs for Earthlings, Broadside, Rounds Galore, the Wobblies' Little Red Songbook, and Pulling our Own Strings, among other collections. Awards include the "Woman of Illinois Repute" of the Illinois Women's Agenda, the President's Award of Illinois NOW, the Humanist Heroine Award of the American Humanist Association, the Freethought Heroine Award of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the Founder's Award of the Women in the Arts Foundation, for founding the National Women's Music Festival. She is also a former Fulbright Scholar.
Kristin sings in the Persian language and performs for Iranian and Afghan cultural events, as well as in French, Spanish and other languages. She enjoys a wide variety of performing events, from restaurants to rallies, for the very young, the very old, and those in between, but especially for those striving to make the world a better place.