By: Katie Sobiech
The music of Francesca Battistelli is a breath of fresh air. With her young, vibrant soul…the notes of her music capture the attention of just about anybody. It can be hard to find something positive and uplifting on the music scene these days, but she fills the gap with her album titled My Paper Heart – featuring her hit single Free to be Me.
From New York to New Jersey to Nashville…this girl has been on the move and hasn’t wasted any time in getting God’s plan for her life going. At just nearly 20 years of age she wrote Free to Be Me, and this month as she turns 24 years old she celebrates being nominated for 5 Dove Awards and having recorded two albums (one being independent). All before her 25th birthday!
Interview with Francesca
EUTOPIA: Congratulations, you are up for five Dove Awards! Did you ever dream something like this would happen?
Francesca Battistelli: I mean of course you dream about it I guess and it’s just crazy to think that it’s actually happening, you know? It’s an honor and I’m so excited. We will see what happens, but no matter what, being nominated is such an honor and cool experience.
EUTOPIA: You studied at the University of Central Florida. What did you study there?
FB: I graduated with an English degree back in 07’. I loved it. I love all aspects of writing, so my journey was actually targeted with creative writing so it worked out for being a songwriter. It helped me out for sure.
EUTOPIA: Was writing your sort of your back-up plan if music didn’t work out?
FB: I never really had a back-up plan, writing has just always been my thing so I thought ‘I might as well go to school for it, it will help with my music’. It’s great to have a degree so I’m glad that I do.
EUTOPIA: Your love for the Lord is very evident. Have you ever gotten involved in any local missions in your area?
FB: I was really involved in my local youth ministry as a youth leader all through college and some of high school, but not really missions.
EUTOPIA: Do you have any thoughts on the importance of reaching out to the local community?
FB: I think it’s vital to the church and to anyone who is a believer to think outside of themselves and make time for others, especially people who need to hear the gospel – so yeah I think it’s very important.
EUTOPIA: You are coming to Monroe, Ohio in May for The Princess Within. Can you tell me what you will be doing there?
FB: I am so excited to get to meet the girls – they are totally my heart. Growing up I had insecurities and you know, just things that God has dealt with me on and still is and just to be able to speak some of that wisdom and some of those experiences into the lives of young girls is my heart, so I’m just thrilled. I can’t wait to be a part of it and get to just pour into them for a day or two.
EUTOPIA: Your song My Paper Heart is very meaningful. Was there a personal experience that inspired you to write it and do you have any advice to those who struggle letting go of a broken relationship?
FB: Yeah I mean I’ve had my share of broken hearts and I think most of us have. If you haven’t, if you’re young you might still go through it but I think the song just kind of came from the perspective of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The Lord will use all of those experiences to draw you closer to Him and make you into the person that you’re called to be and to prepare you for the right one when he or she comes along. Even outside of romantic relationships we can be hurt by other people. It is the people of God that kind of write His name on our hearts. God redeems those things and we allow Him to make us better because of them. That’s where the song came from.
EUTOPIA: You say that this has been the hardest, scariest, yet most rewarding year of your life – can you share a little about that?
FB: Yeah. I think moving to Nashville and saying goodbye to everything familiar and everything comfortable back at home was tough. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know how things were going to turn out. To see God moving and working and His favor being on the things that I’m doing – it’s just been incredible. I am so grateful and feel so blessed to be where I am right now.
EUTOPIA: Did family or friends come with you?
FB: My family still lives in Orlando but they want to be up here. But I’ve been here for two years now and have made some great friends. I feel Nashville is a great place and I love it here, so I’m blessed to live here.
EUTOPIA: Okay now onto your song “Letting Go” – it inspires us to let go of the life we’ve planned and place our life in God’s hands. What has been one of the most difficult things that you have had to let go of in your life?
FB: There have been plenty of things. I think the thing that I’m still dealing with and God is always kind of just teaching me about is just letting go of control and trusting Him with my decisions and knowing that if He asks me to do something, even if it seems crazy or it’s not what I want to do at the time, that it’s going to be the best thing for me. He knows that better than I do, so it’s not an easy lesson to learn (laughs). I’m not enjoying learning it but you know it’s the most important I think, to really give Him our future, and say “Okay Lord whatever it is, it’s up to you.”
EUTOPIA: Your song “Behind the Scenes” is a very powerful, touching song. Is there anything that you struggle with right now or that you have struggled with that you are willing to be transparent about?
FB: I wrote that song with two other writers and I’m grateful for their input. I think the Lord is just teaching me about my words and the things that I say. Sometimes we say things and we don’t think about our words. What He’s teaching me right now is to just really choose my words carefully and to know that it’s the little things that matter to people. For me, being in the public eye a little bit is still so weird and so new. So I have to very much guard the things that I do and say because there are 12 year old girls watching and I don’t want them to say “Oh she says this one thing but she doesn’t act it” or “she wasn’t nice.” So that’s where I’m at right now – just saying ‘Okay Lord, let the things that I say and the things that I do be pleasing to you always’. Not trying to please man, because I never will, but to try to please the Lord and know that that’s the most important thing.
EUTOPIA: Who are some of your top favorite artists? What is in your iPod right now?
FB: Sara Groves has been in there for a while. Her last two records I’ve been kind of shuffling back and forth between – I love them. So I’d go with Sara.
EUTOPIA: When you get a day off what are some of your favorite things to do?
FB: I love being outside when it’s nice weather, I love shopping, I love cooking, I love just being home honestly because it is such a rare treat. Seeing people I know and love is the best thing.
EUTOPIA: Where is your favorite place to shop?
FB: I love Anthropology but I can’t really go there too often because it’s expensive, but I love it.
EUTOPIA: What is your favorite TV show?
FB: Really the only one I watch is Lost and I’m hooked.
EUTOPIA: You are on the verge of your 24th birthday. Do you have any big plans, anything you hope to do?
FB: I might be in New York doing some meetings. It’s not for sure yet but I might be there that week, which would be fine because that’s where I was born and I love New York. I hope that works out because my mom will be there and some of my best girlfriends, so hopefully that!