New York City native, Francesca Battistelli, grew up with music all around her. As the only child of parents from a musical theater background, Francesca knew she wanted to be on Broadway when she was only six-years-old. “There was just something about live theater-especially musical theater-that has always resonated with me,” Francesca says. “So I thought that was it. I was going to be Mary Lennox in 'The Secret Garden.”
After dedicating her time to dance classes and musical theater training, Francesca joined a mainstream pop all-girl group in Orlando, Florida when she was 15-years-old. “We traveled all over and performed at Hard Rock Live and House of Blues a couple of times,” she explains. “It was good for what it was because it tied together two things I loved: singing and dancing.”
Though the singer was grateful for the opportunity to sing in the group, she ultimately wanted to go a different direction. “Not long after, I recharged my batteries by going to this youth ministry that I absolutely loved,” she says. “It was there where the Lord really captured my heart for Christian music. I started playing guitar and really longed to bring something authentic to the scene that even non-Christians could listen to.”
After releasing the independent album Just A Breath in 2004, Francesca began working on music for her highly successful album My Paper Heart, featuring the songs, "Beautiful, Beautiful," "Free To Be Me" and "I'm Letting Go," a song she wrote a song she wrote after moving to Nashville. “I'd just moved to Nashville, and I was sort of letting go of everything that someone can at 22 years old,” Francesca says. “And it's far better and different in more ways than I could've expected. There's a line in the song that says 'I feel like I'm falling and that's what it's like to believe.' Walking in faith is like free-falling, yet that's the best place to be. But so many of us are afraid to do that.”
The album's title developed while Francesca pondered the fragility of the human heart. "This has been the hardest, scariest, most rewarding year of my life. I have known sorrow and I have known joy," she says. "God has spoken quietly the words of His heart and He has shown me colors in the grayest hues of winter. He has sung songs over me in solitude and He has never let go of my fragile paper heart. He knows every corner of it - the tattered, torn and untouched places. He knows the songs that move it, the words that pierce it and the people He uses to change it. I am forever safe in His hands."
From there, Francesca released the albums Hundred More Years (2011), featuring the song "Motion of Mercy" and If We're Honest (2014) which includes "Holy Spirit," "Giants Fall" and "He Knows My Name."
"He Knows My Name" has special meaning for Francesca, "It's so easy for us to sort of be defined by what we do or by what the world tells us. For me, it's an incredible encouragement every time I get to sing this song. Just to be reminded that the God of the universe has my name written on the palm of His hand." She continues, "It's not about what success looks like in the eyes of anyone else but Him ... He loves you because you are His child and that's it - [there's] nothing you can do to earn that love."
With her album Own It (2018) Francesca meets her fans in the real events of their lives with songs like "The Breakup Song" and "Defender."
Francesca and her husband, Matthew Goodwin, live in the Nashville, Tennessee area with their four children.