Francesca Battistelli: "You may have dents in your fender, rips in your jeans, but God wants to see good for you."
"Free To Be Me" continues to capture top airplay on radio stations nationwide, peaking at #1 in March of 2009. Additionally, "Free to be Me" is the first #1 single from a female since 2005. Francesca Battistelliís enthusiasm canít help but find its way into her music. In fact, whether sheís talking about the spirited, funk-laden title track or the buoyant, accept-yourself-as-you-are anthem "Free to Be Me," Francesca says "I really love this song. Itís so much fun to sing." That pervasive joy, along with Francesca's adventurous musicianship and relatable songwriting make My Paper Heart an impressive debut.
My 9 year old daughter Natalie has a great quote about this song. She and I were listening to Francescaís album on my iPod in my car. Natalie hopes that I'll pass on my iPod to her someday and asked, "Daddy, when you give me your iPod can you keep her on it?"
I had the great opportunity to interview Francesca recently. You can listen to our entire interview on Kingdom Builder.
This is the background she shared with me about the song:
How would you describe the themes of the album My Paper Heart?
The album is hopefully one that encourages people in every way. For me, itís about making the most of your life and not sitting back and letting fear stop you. The theme of Free To Be Me is that God made you to be unique and the song and the album has themes of trusting God and knowing that Heís got your back and that Heís got great plans for you.
Regarding "Free To Be Me," what's the main message of the song, in particular the lyrics "but perfection is my enemy." Is there a personal story behind those lyrics?
I wrote "Free To Be Me" after I backed into a lawyer's car in her driveway. It was a crazy moment. I started writing and singing the song to myself to cheer myself up and I felt that God was telling me that it's okay, that He knows me and made me who I am. I dwell on these little mistakes and I let them eat me up. I let perfectionism take over, but it's not so much about being perfect. It's not about what we do, but He loves me just that way I am and tells me donít beat yourself up. Itís very freeing. Itís not about what we do but about the fact that Godís grace extends to us and He loves us. We try to be live good lives and be like Him but our mistakes donít separate us from Him. The clumsy line refers to the truth about myself.
How can listeners apply that message in their walk with God?
God gives you goals and dreams and you want to achieve them but they donít always come right away. You have to trust Him and wait on Him and wait for Him to orchestrate the plans for your life. For me, thatís a very true line for my life.
What verses did you use in writing the song, do you have a life verse?
At twenty years of age
I'm still looking for a dream
A war is already waged for my destiny
But You've already won the battle
And You've got great plans for me
Though I can't always see, 'cause...
I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
And on my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I'm free to be me
When I was just a girl
I thought I had it figured out
See my life will turn out right
And I'll make it here somehow
But things don't always come that easy
And sometimes I would doubt, 'cause...
And you're free to be you
Sometimes I believe
That I can do anything
Yet other times I think
I've got nothing good to bring
But You look at my heart and you tell me
That I've got all You seek
And it's easy to believe, even though...
And you're free to be you
What a great message that we all need sometimes. I recently studied Proverbs and there are many great songs based on Proverbs 3:5-6 including the hymns "Trust And Obey" by Big Daddy Weave, "Pass Me Not" by Fernando Ortega and "You Are My Hiding Place" by Selah. For me, the most encouraging part of "Free To Be Me" is the message that I donít have to be perfect or rely on my plans, but that God knows me and loves me just as I am. That is cause for celebration as we all have freedom to be ourselves and He has great plans for us. God loves us just the way we are, dents in our fenders and all, and extends His grace to stand on His shoulders and be free!