Francesca Battistelli Discusses New Album, "If We're Honest"
Francesca Battistelli sat down with hearitfirst.com and discussed her new album If We're Honest, which releases today.
What can we expect from the new album?
The album is called If We're Honest and it is probably my most personal record but also very fun. There is a lot of energy in tempo, which is very exciting for me, especially from a live touring perspective. I'm so proud of it. I think the songs fit together so well and are some of my favorite songs I've ever written. I think people will hear a little bit of a fresher sound from me than they are used to but also a little bit deeper spiritually.
What are favorite songs on album?
"If We're Honest" is the title track off the album and is one of my favorites. It is personal and unlike most songs on the record or of other ones I've written. It's a song about transparency and authenticity and sort of challenges believers to live a life filled with that. It can be so easy for us to hide behind the images of ourselves and what we project into the world and not really live in true community and true fellowship with each other. Sharing our struggles, our sins, and our secrets is so important. I think that is being lost and keeping us isolated from each other, which means we can't really grow deeper and can't really be as effective for the Kingdom of God.
Another favorite song on the record is "Giants Fall." I wrote the song for a young girl named Mallory after I got an email from her last summer. I'll never forget the first line. She said, "People tell me I am crazy for writing to you but if I have learned anything in the last few the years, it is that God is able to do more than I could ever ask if I would just step out on faith." She just challenged my faith so much. She is 14 years old but she started this organization that raises money for kids in Uganda. She has done incredible things like raising over $20,000 and started a sponsorship program to send kids to school. She's just an amazing girl who has so much faith and fire for the Lord. I got her email as I was writing for this album and I really felt like her ability to have that child-like faith was so incredible. I shared it with my friends who I was writing with and it reminded us of David in the Bible and how God wanted him to defeat Goliath. The Lord told him to pick out 5 stones and that he'd only need 1 and a whole entire nation would be defeated. As a 14 or 15-year-old kid, he just stepped out on faith and said, "Okay, God." The song is called "Giants Fall" and it is just challenging, and hopefully inspiring and encouraging people to take whatever God has placed in their hand, whatever dream or desire, and say, "No matter what you have given me, You can accomplish so much if I would just give it back to You.”
But all the songs on the record are my favorite. I love this record. There is so much of me on it and I hope people see that.
Are there any collaborations on the album?
Absolutely. I wrote a song with Matt Hammit from Sanctus Real. He actually sings on it as well. “Hands of God” is a song that came about after we had been talking about how we wanted to honor the people in our lives who are really there for us and how when you put yourself out there for a friend, you’re really being the hands of Jesus. There is another song on the deluxe edition that I wrote with All Sons & Daughters and it is called “Tonight.” It is the last song on the deluxe edition and a perfect ending to the record because it is peaceful and almost like a lullaby.
You said there is more energy on this new album. Was that intentional or did that just naturally happen in the songwriting process?
It just kind of happened. I definitely, from a live perspective, have wanted more of that. I started writing this record right after we moved to Nashville, it was summer, and I was taking some time off from touring and was just in a really good place. I still am. I’m still so grateful and am almost sad that the process is over. Usually you’re thankful that it is done but I loved the process so much. I think I was just in a place where I felt so refreshed that the songs I was writing were just more exciting and had that energy that I had been hoping for.
What was it like being on the Son of God tour?
Incredible. It was unlike any tour I’ve ever done. The film is so incredibly well done and some of the footage that was matched up with the songs was really cool. As Christian artists, we hope we are writing songs that fit with what the Bible says, but to really see that come to life is really amazing. I remember Sidewalk Prophets were on the tour and during the first three days, Dave was singing a song and I could only hear it back stage because I went on after them. I remember thinking it was such a good song but then a few days later, I actually could see the screens and saw the words he was singing. Literally what he was singing was being depicted on the screen and it was like a revelation to me. I sang a song called “Oh Son of God” and I couldn’t look behind me, but I knew there were images of Jesus being shown though out the song and it gave me chills. It was really great to see these stories come to life in a new way. Natalie Grant sings “Hurricane” and you watch Peter step out on the water. It was just really cool to see how these songs we sing fit together with scenes from the movie. It was more like an experience than a regular concert.
What is like being a wife and a mom on the road?
It is interesting. It is a juggling act and I don’t have it all figured out. Anyone who tells you they do is probably lying. It is amazing and I know God gives us what we need in order to do what He has called us to do. He equips us for the task. Sometimes you just have to take it one day at a time. Thankfully our kids get to travel with us 99% of the time. There is that sort of dual role where you feel like you have to be this artist that has a job to do, but at the same time I want to be there for my kids. We try to really protect the days at home when we can. Since my husband and I work together, we are gone at the same time. Whenever we can do fun things with the kids, we do. We do that whether we are on the road or at home. When we are in cool cities we try to take them to zoos and museums and all those fun things. But in all honesty, I’m still figuring it out.
It is really incredible to see where you started up until now and how you’ve accomplished so much. My goodness, you were on a Pepsi can! Could you imagine when you started out that any this would happen?
No, not at all. I would say my mom probably did. She has always had this like ability to see those things for me in my life, which is awesome. I remember being about 17 and saying, “God, I just want to write songs for You. I don’t care if I’m singing them here or at my youth group or on a street corner or a coffee shop, or even if You have something bigger for me.” I got to a place in my life where I was okay with anything. God wrote my story to be this one and I’m so grateful. I pinch myself daily.