With an awe-inspiring pen as a songwriter, coupled with his dynamism as a performer, Sphamandla Diya, better known as Red Bear, is a superstar in the making and has his eyes fixed on becoming South Africa’s next Kwaito sensation.
Born in Bizana in the eastern cape and raised in Clermont (Durban) and Gcilima (Port Shepstone) Townships in Kwazulu-Natal province to a poor family, Red Bear, found comfort and creativity in Kwaito music as a young artist and has since worked with some of the top producers on his debut album as he chases his South African dream. It all started in 2008 when he released his first single, which reflected on his upbringing and challenges- and becomes instrumental in boosting his confidence as an artist.
But Red Bear’s journey was not an easy one, as he had to stay between Bizana in the Eastern Cape and Gcilima in Kwazulu-Natal and juggle around family challenges and politics. Moving around the two provinces coupled with other challenges meant hindering his school progress and that eventually resulted in him dropping out of school in standard 6.
After dropping out of school music became his place of comfort, and Red Bear started establishing himself as a formidable kwaito artist- and has been recording and releasing music since 2013- and performing in venues across Port Shepstone.
Red Bear agrees that his life experience coupled with music has helped him to open his mind to thinking beyond Port Shepstone music’s local scene, and he has since branched out by distributing his music across the country, as he wants to stand out and reach the mass market.
Red Bear plans to use his latest album, Ketuka Skebhe, to share his experiences as a student of life and philosopher. Ketuka Skebe is an embodiment of an amazing Kwaito album, which is meant to benefit humanity and help heal and unite people in a fun way. Red bear has worked with DJ Niceone, who has previously worked with Mgarimbe and Maraza, amongst others.
The debut album also offers a preview of his versatility as a kwaito artist and songwriter, merging traditional hard-core kwaito, amapiano, Qom music, and Durban kwaito. It features laidback production, melodic lyricism, and a familiar rhythmic kwaito sound with songs like Ngidedele, Low Coast Piano, Umapopola, and Ngikhaphe Nhliziyo to look out for.