Music Impacts Both Audience and Artist

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Battistelli F. performing235Singer-songwriter Francesca Battistelli says her greatest reward in life is the spiritual impact of her inspirational songs.

“Anytime I meet someone who has been touched by a song or whose story intersects with the music, it’s a great reminder,” said the artist of the goal of her music ministry. “That doesn’t get old because it’s why we do what we do – to see lives change,” she added.

Battistelli is currently on a concert tour with fellow artist Matthew West which comes to Zeeland Sat. November 21. 

                       THE POWER OF SONG

Battistelli, 30, pointed to one such “impact” example from earlier this month.

“I met a mom and her 6 year old daughter – they had written an email asking if there was any way we could meet after the show,” noted the artist. “The mom had recently lost a baby to a miscarriage, and her daughter was super affected by it.”

During their exchange Battistelli learned that when the mother was telling her daughter about the loss, the artist’s song “He Knows My Name” came on the radio. It was one of her daughter’s favorites.

“That’s Jesus telling us that he’s thinking about us and it’s gonna be OK,” the 6 year old responded about the song’s comforting lyrics. The mother told the singer of the song’s significance in her young daughter’s spiritual pilgrimage.

In turn, the mother-daughter story had an impact on the singer. “That was so special for me because I have a 5 year old boy and 3 year old girl at home, and it was just very moving….those stories are what it’s all about,” Battistelli said.

The ballad “He Knows My Name,” was nominated for a 2015 Dove Award as Song of the Year. (Watch the lyric video

“It’s so easy for us to try to get our identity from the world and forget that our true identity comes from Christ and that He knows us by name,” said Battistelli of her thoughts while composing the anthem. “That song reminds me of that; and for it to encourage others… it’s amazing how God is using it.”

“He Knows My Name” is from her latest album – last year’s “If We’re Honest, just the third full length studio project of her career.

                         GROWING INTO HER MUSIC

Francesca is a New York City native where her parents were involved in musical theatre. It seemed likely their daughter would follow in their footsteps. But a move to Florida during her childhood steered her more toward developing her songwriting talents for her faith-inspired music.

Her national debut CD of soulful pop songs didn’t come until 2008. Two of its tunes (“I’m Letting Go” and “Free To Be Me”) shot to the top of Christian radio charts. The latter snagged a Grammy Award nomination.

Her follow-up featured the song “This is the Stuff,” which is still a concert favorite.
“On this tour, we’re doing mostly songs from ‘If We’re Honest,’ but also a couple of the older ones,” she said.

“Holy Spirit,” a song not on the CD but currently a radio single, was actually recorded several years ago for a collaborative worship project. “My team decided to make it available to radio after the response in concerts was so incredible,” the artist said. “It’s a really sweet worship moment every night.”

                          MARKING THE TIME

West Matthew on stoolMatthew WestThe artist’s talents have been recognized several times with Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. Battistelli won Doves as Female Vocalist of the Year in both 2010 and 2011, and was also named Artist of the Year in 2011.

Battistelli has been to West Michigan several times. Twice she has appeared on the annual Winter Jam tour at Van Andel Arena and at least once at the Unity Christian Music Festival in Muskegon. She was also on “The Story” tour with various other artists which played Grand Rapids First church back in 2011.

She has the status as a headline artist, but she’s sharing this tour with singer-songwriter Matthew West who performs at the evening’s end.

“I probably would’ve come out to sing his last song with him, but I’m usually asleep by then,” she admitted. Battistelli is expecting her third child next March. She is married to former NewSong drummer Matt Goodwin.

“It’s OK, I’m feeling good and staying healthy,” she said. “Next year is baby, writing and making a new album all kind of at the same time, which is pretty much how it goes for me.”

Concert Details:

Matthew West, with Francesca Battistelli and special guest Mr. Talkbox
7:30 p.m. Sat. Nov. 21
Community Reformed Church, 10376 Felch St. Zeeland
General admission tickets $25, “Skip the Line” and VIP Passes extra, available via, 800- 965-9324

Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Terry is journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites. His most frequented “beat” is arts and entertainment. He is married with two children and lives in Grand Rapids.

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