But what about the woman behind the bio? What makes up the heart of Francesca Battistelli? Who is she when the stage is empty and the fans have all gone home?
In this About.com exclusive, Francesca herself takes us on a journey into her heart and shows us some of the hidden treasures inside.
"If my heart was a color, it would be green," she explains. "Green is my favorite color--it represents life and freshness. Everything is always greener after the rain. How comforting! After the rains of life pour down on my heart, it will always bounce back with new life, new vigor, new brightness and color. I am vibrant and alive, and I feel life from my head to my toe."
The Heartsongs of Francesca BattistelliMusically inspired by everyone from the jazz greats her dad introduced her to as a kid, to contemporaries like John Mayer, Sara Bareilles and Nichole Nordeman, Francesca's heart song has many notes and several different tones.
"If my heart was a song, it would be "Worth It All" by Rita Springer," she shares. "Just about every time I hear the opening lines of that song, I crumble inside. God has used that song to speak to me in so many different circumstances of my life in the past 5 or 6 years since I first heard it. It means so much to me."
Smells of HomeGrowing up in an Italian family in New York, the smells that Francesca associates with home are warm and spicy; sweet and fresh.
She says, "If my heart was a smell, it would be the smell of my parents' kitchen right before dinner. It would smell like garlic and olive oil sauteed in the pan, or my dad's famous tomato sauce. It would smell like fresh basil from my mom's herb garden and hot Italian bread. It would smell like blueberry muffins made from scratch every holiday morning and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
The People in Francesca Battistelli's HeartAnd the people that God has put into her life to help form her heart? What of them? Who does Franscesca feel has helped shape her heart?
"I am so blessed to have parents who love God with all their hearts and who love each other and me in the same way," she says. "They deserve so much of the credit for why my heart is strong, tender, and alive. My dad is a brilliant, hilariously funny man. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly he can come to tears after watching something as small as a Hallmark commercial. Yes, it's true. My mom is an amazing woman of God who feels things deeply. Still, she doesn't always show emotion as quickly as my dad and I. He and I just have to think about something sentimental and our eyes well up. We've watched the "Father of the Bride" together at least a dozen times, but we both cry the whole way through it. I'm so glad he is like that because he has taught me by example that it's safe and right to show emotion. My parents are so wise when it comes to matters of the heart, and because of them, the depths of my heart are places I know very well."
Francesca continues, "I'm also reminded of a woman who used to speak into my life when I was young, always encouraging me to reach for more of God. She showed me that Jesus was someone I could know like my best friend. She still is a force of love in my family's life. I'm thinking, too, of my good friend Jade who is so full of joy. Whenever anyone is with her they literally shine. She has taught me so much about what true friendship means."
But even in the strongest hearts, there are moments of heart break that God uses to strengthen us when we turn to him. Even Francesca, with all of her strengths, has known heartbreak.
"There are other moments in my heart's history--moment's where it's strength was tested," she shares. "The first time my heart was broken because of a boy was when I was seventeen. He was perfect to me, but I was never anything more than a friend to him. When that finally became a truth I had to accept, I thought my world was going to end. But going through that pain helped my heart to grow in so many ways. There have been other times it's been broken, and each time has been deeper, more painful. But at the same time, my heart has become so much stronger and I have learned so much through the pain that heartbreak has caused. It's in the midst of suffering that God tenderizes and purifies our hearts."
Francesca continues, "As I'm thinking back on these hard moments in my life, I'm getting a bit choked up (surprise, surprise). But the tears that want to come are springing from an intense gratitude to the Lord for carrying me through each scary, awful, painful intersection of life. He has never stopped walking with me, whispering in my ear his words and songs of love. He has taken my precious, fragile, paper heart, and He has written His name on it. He has redeemed the pain and turned my mourning into dancing. He has used His friends to speak life and love to my heart, and He has never given it more than it can bear. He knows it inside and out. And for that, I cry tears of joy. Open your heart to Him, my friends. He will never leave you or forsake you. Of that you can be certain."
As you can see, off of the stage and out of the spotlight Francesca Battistelli is even more amazing than she is when she is singing for the glory of the Lord. She has a depth to her rarely found in someone so young (she's still in her early 20s) and she isn't afraid to open herself up for all the world to see, showing us a transparency that is more than simply refreshing in this day and age of "spin everything."
The heart of Francesca Battistelli is a lot of things ... colorful, vibrant, alive and unrestrained. While it may tear easily like paper, it has a resilience that is much stronger than any paper you'll ever find. Crafted by the Master himself, Francesca Battistelli's heart is as beautiful as her voice and that is something extraordinary and rare.