Christian pop songstress Francesca Battistelli began her music career at a young age. When she was six years old, the New York City native attended a Broadway performance of The Secret Garden and walked away with her sights set on the stage. Both of Battistelli's parents were experienced theater performers, so her decision came as a surprise to no one. Acting classes and dance lessons helped her form a solid work ethic, and by the age of 15, Battistelli had earned a spot in the Orlando-based teen pop group Bella. After the group disbanded, she attended a youth ministry and began shifting her focus toward Christian pop music. The future Dove Award nominee began learning how to play guitar, too, which helped her write her own songs. Battistelli released an independent album, Just a Breath, in 2004. An EP titled I'm Letting Go followed in early 2008, marking her first release for the contemporary Christian label Fervent Records. Later that year, the label also released her full-length debut, My Paper Heart, which cracked the Billboard Top 40 and produced several hits on Christian radio. Her next album, 2011's Hundred More Years, garnered even more success, debuting at number 16 on the Billboard charts. ~ Todd Sterling
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