3 VOTA Songs and Albums Written by Bryan Olesen Linked to Charities Protecting Children Internationally

Competing on the 25th season of The Voice has opened a new portal in Bryan Olesen‘s career, but his work, first with Newsboys, from 2006 to 2008, through the trio of Casting Pearls, and their transition as VOTA in 2008 has already produced a lengthy catalog of songs.

Years before the band transitioned into a duo with Olesen on guitar, bass, and vocals and drummer and keyboardist John Wooten, VOTA began using their music for good, linking album releases to help bring awareness to and support specific non-profits protecting the livelihoods of children internationally.

Beginning with the band’s 2013 album Love Found Me, which supported the fight against human trafficking, or the prevention of famine with Fearless in 2016, and childhood poverty with a 2020 covers album, VOTA has continued making music for good.

Here’s a look behind just three songs the band released that were ultimately written by Olesen—with the exception of one—for a greater cause.

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1. “Love Found Me” (2013)

VOTA produced their 2013 album Love Found Me to help raise awareness and support for Tiny Hands International, the founding name of Love Justice International, which works to fight human trafficking in India and Nepal. Fans would get the album for free after visiting a designated site and watching a video about human trafficking. They could get a second bonus album with a donation to the non-profit.

Love Found Me marked the first time the band linked an album to non-profit support. “We wanted to do something different with our album, something a little crazy, which is raising awareness about a terrible tragedy that is happening at the border between Nepal and India,” said Olesen in a 2014 interview. “Tiny Hands does a lot of work in Nepal. They have orphanages. They’re fighting human trafficking. These traffickers are going into Nepal, targeting the poorest families there and tricking those families [saying] ‘Hey, we can find work for your children across the border in India.”

He continued, “So these families usually raise funds to send their kids across the border with this ’employment agent.’ And once they get across the border, these young girls, these young children are sold to brothels and never seen again.”

I knew something was missing
Knew something was just not right
I couldn’t call half-normal
When death just made a joke of life

Nowhere to go,
No one to talk to
You came and saved me
You are my rescue

Love found me
Your love found me
And I’m forever changed
Nothing is the same
Your love found me

In October 2014, VOTA traveled to Nepal to visit one of the Nepali border stations funded by the campaign. “I’m humbled that God would use VOTA’s music to help intercept girls from being sold into sex slavery,” said Olesen. “I’m so grateful for all of our friends and fans who believed in this cause and were moved to support it.”

2. “Fearless” (2016)

For their next album in 2016, VOTA continued their mission of supporting a designated non-profit benefiting children with the album Fearless. VOTA used the album to support Food for the Hungry, and a special campaign that benefited 300 children in Panali, Nicaragua. The title track tells the story of living fearlessly regardless of the hardships.

What if I take that leap and I fall on my face
When I get up again should I just play it safe?
Oh Lord I need Your strength
I’m tired of being afraid

I wanna live fearless for You
I wanna stand for the truth
Give me faith to move mountains
Strength to face giants
Let love shine in all I do
I wanna live fearless
I wanna live fearless for You

I’ll take it step by step into the darkest night
I know You walk with me and You will be my light
Whatever path I take I know You’ll be by my side

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“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (2020)

Written by Bono

An exception to the list of songs written by the Olesen and Wooten is VOTA’s 2020 cover of U2‘s The Joshua Tree classic “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The single was released on the band’s album of covers of the same name to support Childfund and encourage the sponsorship of at-risk children in Mexico.

Olesen sings a cappella at the beginning of VOTA’s more stripped-down version of the U2 classic revealing a fragility in the lyrics and was complemented by a music video filmed in Iceland. “Special thanks to U2 for creating a beautiful song,” wrote the band on YouTube, “and Iceland for gorgeous backgrounds.”

The album also features the band’s renditions of Tom Petty‘s “Learning to Fly” and “I Won’t Back Down,” Bob Dylan‘s “Make You Feel My Love,” and “Times Like These” by Foo Fighters, among other covers.

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“We set out on a quest to discover God through the music of U2, Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and more,” read a statement from the band on their official site. “This album is dedicated to helping an impoverished community in Mexico and currently is only available to those who join our fight and sponsor a child.”

The statement continued, “We had bold ideas for this album, huge songs to tackle, ideas that weren’t anywhere near completed yet and we were right smack in the middle of the pandemic. We had the sense that God needed to show up or we were going to fail miserably. We believe He did.”

Photo: The Voice on YouTube / NBC Stream

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