Francesca Battistelli is on a roll—she's the top-selling Christian artist of the past ten years, and she was the first female to win the Dove Award's Female Artist of the Year since Amy Grant in 1992. Since college, she's been writing and singing songs of worship—and in the past ten years, she's also managed to get married, have two kids, and release three albums. We sat down with her to hear what life is like on the road, and what she's learning about balancing motherhood, a full-time job, and a call to raise up disciples for the gospel.
Why did you decide to work in the Christian music industry?
When I was really young, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do—there was a part of me that wanted to pursue secular music, but that didn't last very long because there was no depth in my lyrics. I was singing and writing songs that didn't mean anything. God brought me to a place where I didn't care if I was going to be successful. I just wanted to be in his presence and worship him, so I started writing all these songs my freshman year of college.
After freshman year, I decided to make an independent record—my dad helped me out. And I started playing at coffee shops and churches, leading worship at my youth group and doing whatever anyone asked of me. I was just open to whatever God had, and God kept opening doors and gave me the opportunity to sign with my label and move to Nashville right after college.
How has being able to interact with the people you're singing to ministered to you?
It's totally what makes it worth it—I was playing at a Six Flags in Texas two years ago, taking my son on one of the kiddie rides right before the show, and I was wearing an all-access pass. The girl running the ride asked me if I was with one of the bands. When I said, "Yes, my name is Francesca," she said, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I need to talk to you after."
We met up after the ride, and said this: "A few years ago I was in a really bad place, I was cutting, and I didn't believe that God loved me. And then I heard your song, 'Freedom in Me' and it literally changed my life forever."
I was so moved by that—you always think it's going to be a new song or one of the more emotional songs, but that was one of the first songs I ever put out. I didn't expect it to be a song that changed someone's life, but God used it.