Christian Music’s best-selling new artist in 10 years, Francesca Battistelli, earned Gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for her GRAMMY® nominated single “Free To Be Me.” Word Entertainment President & CEO, Rod Riley, surprised Francesca with the Gold record at a private Nashville album launch event on Thursday. “Free To Be Me” is the second single off her debut album, My Paper Heart, and spent ten consecutive weeks at No. 1 on CHR and two consecutive weeks at No. 1 on AC Monitored in 2009. In 2012, Francesca received a Gold record for My Paper Heart marking 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’ 2003 release was the last CCM debut album to receive RIAA Gold certification.
Since her debut in 2008, Francesca Battistelli has earned a GRAMMY® nomination (Best Gospel Performance), six Dove Awards and 22 Dove Award nominations. Both her debut album, My Paper Heart (certified Gold in 2012), and her 2011 sophomore release, Hundred More Years, took the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Christian Album chart. With over 995,000 in album sales to date and over 1.9 million single downloads, she is the best-selling new artist in the genre in the past decade. Her music has also been featured on TriStar Picture’s “Soul Surfer,” Columbia Picture’s “Julie and Julia,” TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” and several other television and movie outlets. In addition, this past fall she was featured on over three million Diet Pepsi Cans throughout the U.S.