The Story Behind ‘The Voice’ Star Bryan Olesen’s Departure from the Christian Rock Band Newsboys

There’s a new fan hopeful on The Voice, and it’s none other than Bryan Olesen, former guitarist for Christian rock band Newsboys. Many fans are asking why he left the band, who he played with from 2004 to 2006. Here are the details of his departure from Newsboys and the forming of his current band, VOTA.

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2003 — Bryan Olesen Joins Newsboys

Olesen was initially asked to join Newsboys as its guitarist to temporarily replace Jody Davis during a family emergency in late 2003. In February 2004, Olesen was announced as Davis’ official replacement. He provided lead guitar and backing vocals from 2004 to 2006.

2004-2005 — Newsboys Find Continued Success

Newsboys were formed in the 1980s by Peter Furler and George Perdikis in Mooloolaba, Australia. The 80s and 90s found the band struggling to find an audience, with lineup changes after every new project. In the late 90s and 2000s the band really took off, founding Inpop Records in 1999. They released a greatest hits album, Shine, as well as another album in 2002, Thrive, which gave them two more No. 1 singles. As of 2015, they have 34 No. 1 hits.

In 2003, the band released Adoration: The Worship Album. This got them nominated for a Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album GRAMMY Award. In 2004, they released Devotion, which was nominated for Praise & Worship Album of the Year at the Dove Awards.

[RELATED: 3 Quick Facts About ‘The Voice’ Contestant Bryan Olesen]

2006 — Bryan Olesen Leaves Newsboys to Front VOTA Full-Time

Bryan Olesen was a founding member of the band VOTA (formerly Casting Pearls) in 1997. He initially formed the band with bassist Case Maranville and drummer Shane Coop. The band found their permanent lineup in 2003 with Olesen, Maranville, and Scott Rutz replacing Coop on drums. In 2005, the band released their self-titled album on Peter Furler’s Inpop Records. During this time, Olesen was playing with Newsboys, but still producing music with Casting Pearls.

In 2006, Newsboys and Olesen announced that he would no longer be with the band. After “much discussion and prayerful consideration,” they made a statement at the time. “These past few years have been an amazing gift in having been able to learn from, perform, and work with Newsboys. I have cherished every second and every show, but I am ultimately excited about what is in-store for Casting Pearls,” Olesen said, according to a 2006 report from Christian Post.

Peter Furler made a statement as well, saying, “I see unique talents in Bryan that I rarely see in the music world, and I feel we would be doing an injustice to Casting Pearls’ and Newsboys’ ministries to hold Bryan in Newsboys.”

In 2008, Casting Pearls changed their name to VOTA to avoid confusion with the similarly Christian band Casting Crowns. There were a few lineup changes through the years. In 2018 VOTA became a duo with Olesen on a custom modified guitar and bass and John Wooten on drums and keys.

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