Composer, singer, and songwriter
Legally blind Christian musician Ken Medema’s passion for music began at the tender age of five while playing on his mother’s piano. Born in Grand Rapids Michigan in 1942, he grew up during a time when blindness was not widely accepted. Children shunned the young Medema for being different, and he spent much of his childhood alone seeking solace in music. Medema started professional musical instruction when he was eight. Through the careful instruction of his teacher, young Medema was able to use Braille music sheets and his memory to learn the classics. Medema earned a master’s degree in music therapy from Michigan State University and worked for several years as a musical therapist.
While thus employed he began writing songs about his patients’ lives, and they responded enthusiastically. In 1973 Medema began a career as a performing and recording artist, recording albums for Word and Shawnee Press. In 1985 he founded Brier Patch Music, an independent recording, publishing, and performance-booking company with headquarters in Grandville, Michigan. Brier Patch creates musical expressions that celebrate all aspects of the human experience, with an emphasis on spirituality and such universal concerns as peace, justice, hunger, homelessness, and the environment. Brier Patch’s name is derived from the Uncle Remes stories that picture Brer Rabbit as having been born and raised in the Brier Patch, a place that is not comfortable for anyone else. Today Medema performs in a wide variety of venues, from corporate conventions, to high school and university campuses, to major youth gatherings, to annual assemblies of national organizations.