Really excited to present this new positive Gospel smash, “Not Even Once”, by Zimbabwean (now US) artist George Mhondera.
“I wrote this song as I was reminded of God’s kindness and faithfulness throughout my life. As a kid growing up in Zimbabwe, I would look up at the stars in the African night sky full of wonder. I watched the planes go by, dreaming the impossible, hoping that one day I would see the world, and become a singer songwriter who would serve the one who loved me and saved my soul, Jesus. Every step and every turn of my journey has been a miracle. Now, having lived on 3 continents I think back to when the Lord called me, and how he has led me, protected me, provided for me and brought me so far through many highs and lows. Never once has he left my side or failed me! He has done more than I could have ever dreamt or imagined. The Lord is so rich in love, full of grace and mercy, ever faithful. Hallelujah.” – George
BEC Recordings George Mhondera is a worship leader and songwriter originally from Zimbabwe, South Africa. Over the last 10 years, he has had the privilege of singing and leading around the world with artists such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Passion, and, more recently, venturing out as a solo artist.
I got the chance to chat with George all about his journey as a musician as well as this brand new single, you can listen below.
Abby: You have a new single that was actually released last month, the end of last month, Yes?
George: Yes. Yeah. Not even once yet released and, yeah, it’s just been amazing to see people connect with the song, you know, that’s what one writes the songs and be able to encourage people, you know, and hopefully it lifts people up, you know. And so, yeah, it’s been exciting. And I’m glad and thank you for playing it. Thank you. Yeah, no
Abby: It was so good. I was so excited when cam sent it through. So you’re originally from Zimbabwe?
George: Born in Africa, in Zimbabwe? That’s right.
Abby: And then you’ve spent a decent amount of time in the UK and are now living in the US?
George: That’s right. Yeah. So I was born in Zimbabwe. And then I moved to South Africa for a little bit. I was in South Africa for a few years, and then moved to the UK. And then from the UK, moved from Germany for a little bit of, therefore, a few years and then moved to Nashville. So I’ve been in Nashville now for five years. And so yeah, but yeah, born in Zimbabwe, originally from them. So
Abby: Can you tell us a little bit about that journey? How did it lead to you becoming the musician that you are?
George: Oh, wow. Yeah, that’s a great, great question. So born in Zambia, as a kid, I just always wanted to do music, and I dreamt about doing music. But you know, how it is in Africa, started in Zimbabwe. And I always had a dream, you know, to serve the Lord and to be able to do music. And so a band came to town back in the 90s, you know, called MICC. And I see this band, you know, there were, who were from South Africa and doing techno music, but all Christians doing songs that kind of crossed over mainstream as well. But they’re all believers. And I remember seeing this band of you on stage. And I was like, Lord, you know, that’s the first time I’ve seen anything like that, you know, because you don’t get a lot of artists coming to Zimbabwe a lot. That’s what I want to do. And, and I remember, like, you know, the seed was already there, you know, and I ended up meeting the band, and talking to some of them and connecting with them. And they were looking for people to join that team, as backup dancers or just part of the crew. And they end up calling this after I finished my A levels, and they’re like, Hey, do you want to come out and audition for a pack a little bag, head over down to South Africa, takes me two days on the train to get down there. I end up getting there. And I don’t actually even renew editions, I just end up joining the band and connecting with these guys. And so the Lord took me from that never having done any music, no experience, these guys didn’t know me from anything. But God just connected the dots. And I end up being in this band. And that’s how it started. And before I knew it, I’m in Australia, doing my own thing. One of the first gigs, you know, at Wonder fest back in Sydney back in the day. And so God really just took me like that, you know, and it’s pretty amazing that you know, just the journey because from then, you know, the band with MIT, we were signed to Kingsway in the UK. And so we got to travel into Europe quite a lot. And that’s how I met Matt Redman, and all the worship guys, Chris Tomlin and them and that you know, just connected, you become friends with people. And the Lord teaches you a lot. And you just end up, you know, doing it. Oh, sorry, I joined a world wide message tribe after NYC in Manchester, and so did a stint with them. And I guess I just grew from there. But absolutely, I mean, it’s just miraculous how I ended up in music. God just literally took me from Zimbabwe, and plunk. You gotta you gotta travel the world. Yeah, man. So
Abby: Now from the time that that happened, until you joined a world wide message tribe. How long did that actually take? Because you made it sound? I mean, I know that was the shortened version, but you made it sound like it really was just, I was thrown into it. And then this happened. But timewise What did that look like?
George: So that was four years? Wow. Me, you know, I’m from as a kid, I mean, we grew up in Zim, we didn’t have much. I’ve got seven brothers. And, you know, we lived in this little town and would look out at the sky. And we lived under the flight part. To me, my brothers would sit at you know, the, you know, how to the sky in the southern hemisphere. It was amazing. So we had something called loadshedding, where they would switch off all the electricity at night. So we’d have to go and sit outside and just lay out and we see the planes go by. And I would argue about where the planes would go. And none of us had an idea, like that was going to England, that was going to America downstream to Australia, like, you know, we had no idea. We were dreaming. We’re like, hey, one day, you know, we’re going to travel, you know. So you think about that, like, you know, God takes this kid who’s got no experience and knows nothing. And in four years, I mean, I’m in one of these, you know, the band that I looked up to and I was kind of like, a fell off, you know, and so only God can write stories like that.
Abby: This is actually jumping the gun a little bit but you had said something that I just wanted to touch on. You talked about how it’s not often that singers get to Africa. Now that you’re an artist that has your own solo music, do you plan on making it a 360? Where are you going back home to where it started to showcase your music?
George: Absolutely, absolutely. Like so. That’s part of the plans and stuff like that, you know, I’ve always obviously gone home and visited because I got family there. My mom is still there. I got brothers there and a lot of my extended family. But, uh, yeah, you know, this is something I want to do. I mean, I’ve been back to Africa with passion, you know, with those guys. And, you know, that was amazing with Uganda. And we did Kenya and South Africa. But like, yeah, there’s just such a bee in my bonnet to go back home to Zimbabwe and to be able to share the songs, you know, and I’ve not been able to do it right now, because we’re in the process of getting our green card. And the backlog is so long. So we can’t literally travel and then put COVID in the bag as well, in the mix it is like nobody went anywhere. And so all these plans that I had to actually go back, you know, I’ve had to reschedule but absolutely Abigail, like, I’m going back home, share some of my story and share this music.
Abby: I can’t wait. That’ll be so exciting the day that you get to go on and perform your music. That’s so cool. Okay, so what took you then to the US?
George: So the US, I mean, I was doing a lot of work over here, you know, touring with, with Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin. So I’d be flying back and forth across the pond, and I got two kids, you know, and so it was just, you know, which family wise, we were living in Germany, it just became, you know, hard, you know, because I was, like, over in the US, like, three times a month sometimes, you know, so I was constantly jetlag. And I guess, you know, the Lord just started talking like that, you know, we would be there and my wife, Lucy, you know, her dad used to run a company called Kingsway, a music label before, back in the day, and then she, he started a charity in Brazil, you know, working in the Amazon, supporting and building schools and supporting pastors. And just before he died, you know, this, this is going back a little bit. He pastored the charity, to a church in Franklin, Tennessee. So this is two days before he died, his pastor flies over to the UK, and, and he hands us charity, to to do rolling hills. And so far forward, my wife now works for that charity. And so it’s amazing. So obviously, I was doing music here already. So it was great that, you know, the Lord had something for both of us. So it just made sense. You know, just timing wise, you know, we had to wait a little bit. But, you know, when we came here, and God had a plan, you know, I was already spending so much time here already. So we’re like, hey, you know, let’s just make it home. So that’s how we moved. Yes. And we’ve been here for five years.
Abby: Now, you already talked a little bit about why music happened. But can you talk a little bit about the transition of doing music with two different bands, to now being a solo artist?
George: Well, I mean, I think it’s part of the same thing, you know, I’ve always loved like, I mean, I’m a team player, I love being part of a team, you know, and so, just, you know, I think it’s when God calls you to do stuff, he just prepares you gives you all the tools you need. And it’s not as complicated or like that there’s this crazy burn that happens, I feel like it gives you everything you need. And I feel like, you know, with the band, and the things that I’ve got to do, there was always out of relationships. So you know, and you know, and so it was easy in that way. And it felt like it was always the right place. And then you know, and then seasons come and go, nothing is about season, sometimes you come to end of the season. So the transitions, and when it’s kind of God taking to the next thing. It doesn’t feel like it’s a hard thing, but it feels like okay, it’s more about listening and being obedient, even, you know, and just seeing the doors open sometimes and just feeling like it’s the right thing. And so, you know, I guess, you know, travelling with the I’ve always been writing songs and part of projects and producing and being involved in other people’s projects. And, and I guess God’s just giving you your own song, just to tell your own story. And I never wanted to rush that, you know, and I felt like, it’s always about timing, the right time, you know, the songs that started coming to the surface. And so, that’s where it’s come out of, you know, it’s a song that I felt like, man, you know, you know, I’ll want to share that or just tell people about what God’s done in my life, about his faithfulness. And I want to write about that and I pops a song and it just feels like the right thing to carry it rather than to give it to someone else. So so, you know, that’s been the transition, really. But it’s also a different headspace because now it’s not me standing behind someone else and like, just singing their song back, but, you know, it’s not being the guy who’s like, okay, you know, let me share my story. You know what I mean? You know, let me use this opportunity to encourage people as well and be a leader. And so it’s been a cool transition, but also just knowing what the responsibility of that is, you know? So, yeah, and, and I guess God’s just prepared the way with all the spaces I’ve been around and the people that I’ve been around, because they started giving me that platform already while I was on the road with them, you know what I mean? So, so yeah, it was kind of cool. Good question.
Abby: I have another one. Actually, you said that God has prepared you well for this, but have you found it at all to be stretching?
George: Yeah, I mean, you know, because obviously, you know, you just know, you haven’t not that, like you having to carry a lot more, but there’s a lot more responsibility, on on what you’re doing, you know, you know, instead of the eyes being on someone else, that kind of the questions are directed to you now. And so, you know, yeah, just learning to be able to communicate better or share better, prepare better, like, you know, to be a little bit more focused in terms of not just not like, hey, you know, everybody’s hitting the ad saying, you know, like, they’re like, oh, my gosh, George, you know, what are you bringing, you know, where are you going? And, yeah, and I think that’s been distressing, but just to be be more prepared, and more sensitive, in a way, you know, with people that you’re leading, just not supporting someone, but you actually leading the room. So there’s been a lot of growth, you know, and it’s been cool and stretching, but at the same time, you know, it’s amazing what God puts in you. Yeah. When you don’t know when you don’t know. I mean, there’s some things I’m like, I could never do that, you know, and then you end up with a situation. It’s like, Oh, my God, it’s Lord. You know, you’ve already taught me that, like, I never thought I could do it. But like, you’re equip me for it. So there’s been a lot of discovering as well. I’m like, Lord, you know, there’s all this stuff that you’ve put in me that I never knew was there. And I thought I didn’t have and so it’s been fun discovering it, you know, and challenging, sometimes discovering it as well. But yeah, it’s been. Yeah, stretching. Good. I’d say.
Abby: You’re not a new artist, we’ve actually already touched on that. You’ve been actually singing for 20 years. I have to know what it’s been like to be able to sing and stand beside such amazing bands and artists you mentioned, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, MICC.
George: Just humbling, you know, like that the Lord would allow me to be in these spaces and get to do you know, what I’ve got to do. I mean, because as a kid, but like I was saying, growing up in Zimbabwe, these were just dreams that seemed impossible. And, but just, you know, that doesn’t happen, you know, and when I look back, and I see what God’s done, I’m, like, you know, there’s no way I can take credit for anything. Because you don’t I mean, because you just know, it’s like, it’s not my, my own doing, you know, to have gotten those positions. And, and so yeah, it’s just pretty incredible to see what God has done. And then how he uses other people to champion me. Because these guys obviously, you know, you stand next to him, you know, but they become your friends, you know, your mentors in a way. And you know, and you get to see and you learn, you know, and I’ve learned so much from being around these guys, Matt, Matt, and Chris and all these other guys in MI see the world, right message tribe. And the passion guides that I’ve got to be around, you just learned so much and from other people as well. And you know, and man, it’s amazing, you get to serve God with people that you have community with. So it’s, it’s been a blast, and I feel really privileged and just humbled really, you know, the opportunity to be able to do what I’m doing right now.
Abby: How do you find the balance between being a solo artist now? And a dad, a husband, and doing all the things?
George: You know, what, you know, firstly, I say, you know, when to be able to do this, it’s a calling for the whole family. I couldn’t do this without the blessing of my family, you know, and so, there’s a lot of sacrifice for everyone, you know, and I think, you know, where God guides, you know, he provides and so, he’s been just faithful and gracious to all of us to be able to, you know, for me to be able to do this, you know, that otherwise it just wouldn’t work. I mean, it just wouldn’t work. And so the whole family has had to be on board and then you know, and when I think when I’m home, I try to be around you know, just for family and stuff. And I love that like, now that like doing stuff and I’m here in the US it’s easier because that’s why I used to travel a lot more across the pond that was, you know, different flying, but now we get to I kind of live here and so it’s not as you know, long to travel. And yeah, and just got a good set of friends Good, good community around us and you know, and also I think it’s great on the road the people that you get to travel to travel with, or you meet other artists and stuff, you know, there’s a community on the road to so it feels like you know, you hang out with your friends and then you come home you get fed you don’t I mean, it’s to community so, so it’s been cool. It’s been cool, right? Keep it balanced. You know, I’ve got my wife would make most of me say something different.
Abby: Oh, good. Okay, I want to talk about your brand new single called Not even once. It comes out two years after you release your EP in 2020. Tell me about the song.
George: Well, 2020 happened, it happened to the whole world. She wrote it. You know? Yeah, just you know, the song came out. I wrote it with the two gods, a guy called Brian Fowler and Micah Kuyper. These guys are two fantastic writers and producers here in Nashville who do a lot of writing with so many people. Notably with Toby Mac, they’ve done a lot of big songs for Toby and, but yeah, we just got together and just towards the end of COVID, really, or, you know, just before COVID had kind of passed over. And, and we were just sharing our stories, you know, we booked the session too, right? And just sharing about God, you know, it, you know, everyone has a story, right? You know, like our journey and what God’s done and what he’s brought us to what we’re still walking through. And I guess the song just flowed out of that, like, the common thread through all our stories was just God’s faithfulness, you know, and we were saying, you know, your highs and lows in bad choices that we’ve made and wrong moves, or, in good times, or bad times, you know, we go we just like, man, God has been so consistent. And we can honestly all say that, you know, God never ever let us down. Yeah, no matter what it is, you know, even in that darkest place, when you see no way out, when you look back, and like, Oh, God, I see. Now I see, I see what you’re doing, you know, there’s something about looking back, you know, that you just see God’s hand, had fingerprints all over your life, and all over every story all over every decision, and how even the bad choices are turned into good. And he’s kind of brought you through. So the song came out of that, like just sharing that. And it’s just a celebration of God’s faithfulness, like, you know, in my life, and, and I guess, in every everybody else’s life, and, you know, that’s what you want, you know, for us to be able to write the songs that can encourage people lift people up, or just remember God’s faithfulness, you know, and he’s handy in our lives.
Abby: Yeah, I’ve actually talked about it before on my show, but obviously 2020, the last two years since then three years since then, has been really hard for a lot of people. But one of the things I like to point out is that for musicians, it essentially shuts down what you guys do. But out of that, I think one of my favourite things that we’ve seen on the other side, is that you guys have been able to spend this time and really speak into what could have been, or what was very hard situations, but bringing hope into that. And so when I heard your song, it was just a reminder that this was a fruit that came out of such a dark season. And it’s so good. And I hope that our listeners can connect to it in many different ways. But, and that sense of we’re on the other side of this. So
George: yeah, and I mean, and that’s what it is, you know, and there’s something about, I think it was good for everyone, like, you know, because I feel COVID allowed people to stop. And, you know, and just put things in perspective. And for a lot of us, even in the music industry, it was a reset, you know, and you know, it’s so just, sometimes you can get so carried away with what you’re doing. But then, you know, you miss what it’s all about, you know, and I feel like you know, it really kind of squeezed everyone and whatever came out was like, Okay, Lord, you know, you know, there was some things that everyone needed to reset or let go off or will just be refreshed again, you know, and just be hungry again, for you know, be reminded of why you started doing this in the first place. And okay, Lord, you know, what’s this next season look like? So, you know, that’s what was encouraging, even just for people that I’m around who are creatives and writers and artists, you know, it’s just great to see everyone you know, the songs that have come out of that, like you’re saying, and, and just people coming out on COVID and just being excited to really do what you know, go back to your first love really, why we really do this and what you know, the motive and the purpose, you know, of, you know, sharing the gospel really and pointing people to Jesus and and lifting up people being able to intelligent so. So it’s great that that’s what you’ve picked up, you know, as someone who’s listening to a lot of songs and playing songs, and you know, we appreciate what you guys do and so, but the back that you picked that up. That’s pretty awesome.
Abby: Is this a one off single? Or is there more to come? What are you up to after the release of the single?
George: Yeah, I mean, what do you want to hear more than I do want to hear more? Yeah, I mean, so I’ve been working on a whole bunch of songs. And you know, I’ve got a lot of songs lined up, but you know, it’s just, it’s all about timing, right, and about releasing songs. And I’m a new artist. So I know, you know, I’m starting kind of at ground level. So it’s just about working and, you know, seeing you know, what songs, you know, I’m gonna put up next, but I do have quite a bunch of songs lined up, and we’ll see how it goes. You know, I’m glad that you’re playing it now. So you get to play the next one. I’m definitely really sweet. Well, for sure. Go do that. All right. No, no, so yeah, but there’s a whole bunch of songs lined up that, you know, have just come out of that same space and just over this last couple of years and stuff. And so, yeah, we’ll just, you know, end the day. Hold that, you know, you want to write songs that are gonna encourage, bless the Lord for us, you know, gonna bless God’s heart first and, but then hopefully, they lift up people, you know, just want to put a song out for the sake of putting songs out, you know what I mean? Like, you just have to be, you know, you hope that these songs will connect with people and encourage people. So I do have a couple of songs that I think will do that. So stay tuned.
Abby: Thanks so much, George. I really appreciated the conversation and can’t wait to play this alongside more of your music.
George: Come on. Thank you so much for playing my music as well and taking it on in Australia and stuff. And I love it. I’m so grateful.