Francesca Battistelli remembers sitting at home as a child watching the Dove Awards, which honors the best in contemporary Christian music, and thinking the show was "the coolest thing."
Now, the 25-year-old has five Doves of her own, including the much-coveted artist-of-the-year trophy. She took that prize, along with female vocalist and pop/contemporary recorded song of the year, at last week's 42nd annual Dove Awards in Atlanta.
"It's an acknowledgement, just reminding me that maybe I really am doing something right," says Battistelli.
With the show now a happy memory, Battistelli's focus is on promoting her sophomore album, Hundred More Years, which hit stores a few weeks ago and immediately landed in the top spot on Billboard's Christian album chart.
"The first time around, I really tried to write the best songs I could, pick the ones I was most excited about, and then just treat them really timelessly," the singer says. "When we were talking about this record, ...I wanted to try and do the same thing while trying to show I had grown as an artist and a person."
Since making her first record, 2008's well-received My Paper Heart, Battistelli has gotten married, moved from Nashville to Atlanta and had a son. (She comes to Louisville for the Kentucky State Fair on Aug. 22.) She was pregnant while recording Hundred More Years and says that because of the change going on in her life, the process of recording changed from the first album to the second.
"On the first record, the song meeting (to determine which songs went on the album) took about 10 minutes," she says. "This time around, it was a harder process. But I think the songs found their way. ... I want to write songs that challenge people and encourage people and sort of make them feel good. That's the type of music I like to listen to."
Battistelli says the album's chart-topping debut single, This Is the Stuff — with lyrics including "This is the stuff that drives me crazy/ This is the stuff that's getting to me lately/ In the middle of my little mess/ I forget how big I'm blessed" — represents the inspiring, real-life music she wants to give her fans.