Hello JFH bloggers!
Let me first say how excited I am to meet you. My name is Francesca Battistelli. I know, it’s a tough one. Let’s try it together: Fran-ces-ca Batt-is-telli. Lovely! What’s your name? _______ You can fill it in here, or just say it out loud. Or perhaps I’ll meet you on the road and you can let me know you introduced yourself in this blog. Ha! Well now that we’ve gotten the introductions out of the way, let me say thank you to those of you reading this slice of my life. Hopefully that’s what these blogs will be—slices of true, honest life. The good, the bad, and everything in between.
I think today’s slice is mostly good. I went to see a show last night that really inspired me. I’ve lived in Nashville for over a year now, but I can probably count on one hand the number of live shows I’ve seen since living in Music City. Crazy right? Well I have some new friends who are really into supporting local musicians, and I’ve caught their bug. Last night’s show gave me a shot of musical adrenaline. I feel like I could write 100 songs today. And for a songwriter, that’s a little more rare than you might think, at least in my experience. I’ve learned that songwriting is a skill that is learned, just like computer programming or algebra. Yes, yes–it’s more than just a skill. It requires an enormous amount of creativity and most would argue inspiration too. But what I’ve learned after a year in Nashville is that if I sit down to write–inspired or uninspired–I will write. And that’s a good thing! It is in the discipline of writing that the inspiration comes. And thank God it does. Still, when I hear heart-wrenching, well-crafted songs like I heard last night, I start itching to grab my guitar or sit behind the keys and pour my heart out in a million new songs. And that is invaluable. So today I am more grateful than ever that I get to do what I do for a living.
I’ve been playing and singing and writing songs since I can remember, but it’s only been a year since I’ve been doing it full time. I graduated with an English degree from the University of Central Florida last year, and I’ve been making music exclusively ever since. Praise God! I wrote about 30 songs last year for the album, and only 11 made it (obviously…who wants a record with 30 songs?!). But since we moved out of album-mode, I’ve spent more time on the road and less time in the writing rooms the past few months. Now, don’t get me wrong–I love touring. There’s nothing like connecting with an audience and with individual people after shows. I love playing music live and seeing what God can do in that kind of charged atmosphere. But deep down, I am particularly attached to songwriting. I think it’s because I’ve always loved the Psalms. I turned 23 this year, and every year on my birthday, my mom reads the Psalm that coincides with that year. This year it’s Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” That’s only verse 1, but there is so much packed into this piece of Scripture. The Lord is my covering, my protector, my guide. I won’t lack or be in need because He will always provide. Wow. I could write a song about that.
What is it about music that strikes a deep chord in all of us? No matter who you are—poet, artist, lawyer, accountant, stay-at-home mom—I know there is a song that moves you. Some piece of music that absolutely tears you up inside, in a good way. I know it’s true because we’re all the same. God created music as a form of worship—it’s passionate, it’s intimate, it’s personal. I’ve written songs about the most gut-wrenching emotions and moments in my life. They haven’t all mentioned God’s name, but songs, for me, are worship no matter what they’re about. Obviously, that’s not true for every musician in the world. It’s evident that plenty of artists are making music for their own glory. So what distinguishes the worshipers from the non-worshipers? I believe it comes down to this verse… “the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). David was an imperfect sinner who was anointed King of Israel because he had a heart after God. I think I’ve always loved the Psalms because they are true slices of David’s life. (I know, David didn’t write all 150 psalms, but he wrote a lot of them, so I’m focusing on him. It’s my blog, I can do that. Ha!) He wrote about his frustrations, his despair, his trouble, and his great joy. But it always came back to his heart. His heart was captured by the Lord, and no one could rip it out of God’s hands. That’s what made him a worshiper, even when he was writing about the dark and difficult places in his life. Because truly, it’s in those places that God meets us in the most tender and personal way. And the songs that come from those places are usually the ones that minister the most.
So be encouraged, my friends. Love God, love people…love music that comes from hearts that are ablaze for Christ. Here’s to more slices of life! -Francesca