Q&A With Francesca Battistelli
It's hard to believe that even ten years ago, Francesca Battistelli could have forseen the success she would have as one of the biggest names in CCM. After finding herself at a curious fork on her career path, she shifted gears away from her mainstream roots to pen songs about her love for God. Along the way, she's racked up award after award, including The Dove Awards' Female Vocalist of the Year - twice.
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She hasn't completely turned her back on pop to minister to souls only within the church's four walls: Battistelli's music is literally everywhere. If you've seen an episode of The Biggest Loser, Extreme Makeover Home Edition or So You Think You Can Dance, it's likely that you've heard one of her hit songs.
Recently, we caught up with Battistelli to talk about her newest project, Hundred More Years: Deluxe Edition, and why she's totally open to letting God use her and her music however He sees fit.
Some people may not know that you started your career in a mainstream girl group called Bella. What lessons did you take away from that experience that have helped you in your solo career? I learned so much in those two years. That's when I started to write songs. I learned about group dynamics and leadership. I learned how to do a proper soundcheck, and we got to play on some incredible stages. It was a great experience.
What are the best parts about being a solo artist versus a member of a group? I've always been quite obsessive over details and a bit of a perfectionist, so being a solo artist comes naturally. All the weight is on me, but I also get to make all the decisions, so it's a good tradeoff!
Why did you decide to begin recording Christian music? Have you ever considered going back to mainstream? After Bella I found myself with a lot of free time, and I got really involved in my youth group for the first time. My relationship with the Lord deepened during that time, and the songs I started writing were just different. My desire to play music came from a desire to worship and lift Him up instead of lifting up myself. I have enough keeping me busy right where I am that I'm not eager to look elsewhere, but I love that my songs have been used in TV and film because there are people who will hear my music who never would have otherwise, and I know God can and will use that. However He chooses to let my songs be heard is fine with me!
You won Dove Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year two years in a row (in 2010 and 2011). How does it feel to be recognized and honored to that degree? It's an honor and a dream come true.
Your new single, "Strangely Dim" is out. Do you ever feel pressured to replicate the success of some of your previous songs, like "Free to Be Me" or "This is The Stuff?" I don't feel outside pressure, no, but I put it on myself sometimes. Still, I know every song is unique, and the radio world is ever changing. One hit doesn't guarantee any others for the rest of my career, so I'll just keep writing the music God gives me and hoping people connect with it.
"Strangely Dim" is a cut off the album, Hundred More Years: Deluxe Edition. What would you say to someone who purchased the original album but is unsure whether to buy this new, repackaged, edition? I know sometimes people remix one song and call it a deluxe edition, but this has really got a ton of stuff on it. There are three songs that weren't on the original record but were exclusives to different retailers, two demo versions of singles (the "This is the Stuff" one is craaaaazy!), a brand new cover of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," and of course Strangely Dim. So I think it's worth buying, but of course I'm biased!
So what is your approach to songwriting that ensures an authentic message plus a marketable hit? Boy, I wish I knew the answer to that! There is no formula, and I don't get it right more times than I do. All I do is write from a real place with real words about real things. And I get to collaborate with some amazing songwriters, so that never hurts!
Check out Francesca Battistelli's photos : http://breathecast.christianpost.com/Francesca-battistelli-photos
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