FRANCESCA SURPRISED ONSTAGE WITH GOLD RECORD FOR MY PAPER HEART
Francesca Battistelli received a surprise onstage Friday night when Word Entertainment President and CEO, Rod Riley, presented her with a gold album for her debut release My Paper Heart. This marks the first debut album from a CCM artist in nearly a decade to receive RIAA-certified Gold status for sales in excess of 500,000 units. Casting Crowns’ release in 2003 was the last debut album to receive RIAA Gold certification.
On Friday, September 7, just prior to her performance at Disney World’s “Night of Joy” at the Magic Kingdom, Riley and Word Entertainment Senior VP of A&R, Josh Bailey, stepped onstage with a surprise gold record for the singer. “I was in total shock,” said Battistelli. “I had no idea this was coming. This has been a dream of mine and to have this happen at Disney World in front of my wonderful fans, my family and my record company…It truly couldn’t have been more magical. I feel so incredibly blessed and will remember this night forever!” The next day, the singer visited the Magic Kingdom once again with her family and record group to take an iconic photograph in front of Cinderella’s castle.
Battistelli’s 2008 debut album features the No. 1 single, “Free To Be Me,” and Top 10 hits, “I’m Letting Go,” “It’s Your Life” and “Beautiful, Beautiful.” The release topped Billboard’s Christian Albums chart in August of 2010 and earned her a Grammy nod for “Best Gospel Performance.” In 2011, she received the Dove Awards for “Artist of the Year,” “Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year.”
On October 16, the singer is set to release her first solo Christmas album, Christmas, which includes classics and newly-penned tunes. She also has songs showcased on two additional holiday albums due out the same day: Word Record’s A Very Special Christmas: Bringing Peace on Earth and A Very Special Christmas 25th Anniversary benefitting the Special Olympics.
Left to Right: Rod Riley (President & CEO, Word Entertainment), Francesca Battistelli and Josh Bailey (Sr. VP of A&R, Word Entertainment)
Left to Right: Nick Barre (Manager, Proper Management), Rod Riley (President & CEO, Word Entertainment), Josh Bailey (Sr. VP of A&R, Word Entertainment), Ian Eskelin (Producer), Francesca Battistelli, Kellyn Bailey (Director Of Brand Management, Word Entertainment), Leigh Holt (VP Of Strategic Partnerships, Warner Music Nashville), Tim Marshall (SVP, Sales & Brand Management, Word Entertainment)
Left to Right: Matthew Goodwin, Audrey Goodwin, Francesca Battistelli, Kate Battistelli, Mike Battistelli, and Eli Goodwin