Francesca Battistelli (born May 18, 1985) is an American Christian singer and songwriter from New York City. She was originally an independent artist and had released an independent album, Just a Breath, in 2004. Her first studio album on Fervent Records, My Paper Heart, was released on July 22, 2008. Her first single, "I'm Letting Go", was released to radio stations in spring of 2008 and has charted on national Christian CHR charts since then. The song was the 16th most played song of 2008 on Christian radio stations according to R&R magazine. Battistelli received her first Grammy Award nomination in 2009, for Best Gospel Performance with her single, "Free to Be Me". She later received her first Grammy Award in 2016 at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song with her single, "Holy Spirit" from her album If We're Honest.
Battistelli was born on May 18, 1985 in New York City. She grew up in a musical family with both of her parents involved in musical theatre. "There was just something about live theater—especially musical theater—that has always resonated with me" she said. She "knew that she was going to spend her life performing" after seeing a performance of the musical The Secret Garden on Broadway at the age of six. "So I thought that was it. I was going to be Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden."
When she was 15, however, she became a member of the Orlando, Florida all-girl mainstream pop group Bella. The group's touring performances included singing and dancing, which were "two things I loved", she said. After the group disbanded, Battistelli picked up the guitar and began writing songs.As an independent artist in 2004, Battistelli released her debut album, Just a Breath. In early 2008, she released the I'm Letting Go EP exclusively through iTunes on Fervent Records which contains four songs, including the title track. All four songs were included on her first major label studio album, My Paper Heart, which was released on July 22, 2008. The album was produced by Dove Award-winning producer Ian Eskelin, and was published through Word Distribution. Her first radio single, "I'm Letting Go", was released in spring 2008. The song had reached into the top 20 on R&R's Christian CHR charts by May 30, 2008. In early July 2008, the song reached No. 10 on Christian CHR charts.
The song "Free to Be Me", which received a Grammy nomination in 2009, was partially inspired when she backed her car into a lawyer's car, resulting in the line "'cause I got a couple dents in my fender".
Battistelli began a period of touring in the U.S. during early 2008, playing solo concerts as well as performing with fellow Fervent Records band Big Daddy Weave. She performed at several Christian music festivals during mid-2008, such as Spirit West Coast in California and Alive Fest. In late 2008, she guested on a tour with Aaron Shust and NewSong.
Her debut single "I'm Letting Go" reached No. 3 on R&R's Christian CHR and AC charts during mid to late 2008. Her next single, "Free to Be Me", reached No. 1 on the R&R Christian CHR format in March 2009, and has held the top position for 9 consecutive weeks through the beginning of May.
Battistelli joined TobyMac, Hawk Nelson, Brandon Heath and others on the Winter Jam 2009 tour, the nation's largest annual Christian music tour, which ran from January through March 2009. On November 23, 2009, Battistelli's song, "It's Your Life", was featured on the series finale of Jon & Kate Plus 8 and The Biggest Loser, the same day the It's Your Life, featuring all of the singles, was released on iTunes US. It's Your Life Dented Fender Session was also released at that time. "It's Your Life" was also used in the film Soul Surfer.
Battistelli toured on Winter Jam again for 2011 and released a second studio album, Hundred More Years, on March 1, 2011. The album was preceded by the release of a single, "This is the Stuff", in early 2011 followed in July by "Motion of Mercy". On October 16, 2012 Battestelli released Christmas, a collection of traditional holiday music.
On April 22, 2014, Battistelli's third studio album was released, and was titled If We're Honest.
Battistelli released a new song, "Future", exclusive to Pizza Ranch on June 1, 2015. The song was written by Battistelli and Casey Brown, and was produced by Ian Eskelin.
In late 2016, Battistelli toured with Bethel Music and was featured on two songs on their 2017 release Starlight. In late 2017, she released Greatest Hits: The First Ten Years.
Battistelli's music is influenced by several genres. One reviewer wrote that "Battistelli's soulful piano-pop sound resembles a blend of her music interests—jazz, rock, gospel and R&B." Battistelli stated that when she first began writing music, "I really longed to bring something authentic to the music
scene that even non-Christians could listen to."
Francesca's track "Blue Sky" featured on the Hollister Playlist for December 2009.
On August 27, 2009, Battistelli married percussionist Matthew Goodwin. They have two sons and a daughter, Matthew, Audrey and Isaac, and in February 2017 announced that they are expecting their fourth child.
Just a Breath (2004)
My Paper Heart (2008)
Hundred More Years (2011)
If We're Honest (2014)
GMA Dove Awards