Dove Award- and Grammy Award-winning pop songstress Francesca Battistelli was born in New York City. While still a teenager, she began writing her own songs, which blended gospel, rock, jazz, and R&B into a sleek, mainstream pop sound. Battistelli's debut Just a Breath was released independently in 2004. A deal with Fervent Records saw the release of My Paper Heart in 2008; the singles "I'm Letting Go" and "Free to Be Me" reached the Top Five of the Christian charts, and her second album Hundred More Years followed in 2011. By 2014, Battistelli had sung her way into the mainstream, peaking just outside the pop Top Ten with her fourth set, If We're Honest, thanks to a pair of gold-certified singles: "He Knows My Name" and "Holy Spirit."
Battistelli began her music career at a young age. When she was six years old, the New York native attended a Broadway performance of The Secret Garden and walked away with her sights set on the stage. Both of Battistelli's parents were experienced theater performers, so her decision came as a surprise to no one. Acting classes and dance lessons helped her form a solid work ethic, and by the age of 15, Battistelli had earned a spot in the Orlando-based teen pop group Bella. After the group disbanded, she attended a youth ministry and began shifting her focus toward Christian pop music. The future Dove Award nominee began learning how to play guitar too, which helped her write her own songs.
Battistelli released an independent album, Just a Breath, in 2004. An EP titled I'm Letting Go followed in early 2008, marking her first release for the contemporary Christian label Fervent Records. Later that year, the label also released her full-length debut, My Paper Heart, which cracked the Billboard Top 40 and produced several hits on Christian radio, including the number one "Free to Be Me." In 2010, she won a Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year.
Her next album, 2011's Hundred More Years, garnered even more success, debuting at number 16 on the Billboard charts. She also scored her second consecutive win for Dove's Female Vocalist of the Year Award. Following the release of 2012's Christmas effort, she rose higher on the Billboard 200 with her fourth album, If We're Honest. Honest produced four Top Ten Christian hits, including "Write Your Story" and "Holy Spirit." Battistelli returned to the charts in 2018 with the single "The Breakup Song," which appeared on Own It, her sixth studio album. ~ Todd Sterling