Born in Pietermaritzburg in 1960, Steve Dyer taught himself to play the guitar at the age of eleven. He studied music at the University of Natal where he obtained a degree in classical music in 1981 (1st class). Dyer left
South Africa in 1982 for Botswana where he became involved in the 'Culture and Resistance' symposium.
He played with Jonas Gwangwa, Hugh Masekela and Wilson "King Force" Silgee, and helped Gwangwa to form the band Shakawe. It was during this period that Steve chose the saxophone and flute as his main instruments of expression. In 1986 Dyer left Botswana for Zimbabwe where he played with the late Jethro Shasha and the Jazz Survivors in Harare. The next year, he went to the UK and played live shows, did studio work with various South African musicians including Jonas Gwangwa and Philip Tabane.
He returned to Zimbabwe in 1988 and composed and performed the song Mudzimu for the BBC programme "Under African Skies" which was directed by Michael Raeburn. Dyer became involved with Caiphus Semenya and Letta Mbulu in the Buwa show, a musical based on the political situation in South Africa at the time. 1989 saw Steve's debut release which coincided with the formation of his band of the same name Southern Freeway. Southern Freeway went on to perform in JIT, Zimbabwe's first full length feature film which was also directed by Michael Raeburn. The soundtrack which was released later contained an additional two tracks by the band.
Apart from being involved with his band Steve toured Japan with Amandla the Cultural Ensemble of the ANC. Two years after their debut release, Southern Freeway once again found themselves in the recording studio. This time the project included songs sung in five different languages and was called "Indlela Yenkululeko". Their prominence as a band continued to grow as they performed in the acclaimed Independent TV series "Pole To Pole", which was hosted by Micheal Palin which was screened in the programme "BBC Lifeschool" which was directed by Clive Cummings.
1992 saw Steve return to South Africa, but not before recording backtracks for World-Wide Television News for Philip Roberts Roving Report. His return to the land of his birth did not go unnoticed and was featured along with fellow musician and friend Jonas Gwangwa on Dali Tambo's Night Moves show on M-NET. During 1994, Steve appeared as a musician in Sisters Of Sync in Johannesburg, Grahamstown and Pretoria playing a wide range of music from classics modern African songs. He also played and recorded with Denzil Weale in a jazz ensemble called Ethnic Dream. His talents however are not limited to that of musician having produced albums for Zimbabwean band Devera Ngwena, Zimbabwean legend Oliver Mtukudzi, for Tsonga artist Esta M' debut album which went gold, the debut album for band Junuthu called Serontabole and produced a music documentary on Walter Sisulu which was directed by John Matshikiza.
In August 1995 Dyer composed, arranged and produced a radio campaign in all 11 official languages for the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Broadcasting to advertise their Green Paper. In the same year he conducted workshops on improvisation camps in Botswana. In September 1996 he represented South Africa with his band Southern Freeway at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) music festival in Harare, Zimbabwe. Dyer composed, arranged and produced music for 'Meerkats Divided', a 30 minute follow up film to the acclaimed documentary ‘Meerkats United’ directed by Richard Goss. This programme featured in BBC 1’s ‘Wildlife on One’ series in April 1996, and was voted the most popular BBC documentary for 1996.
He was contracted by Boeing in the USA to record a promotional air flight game in all 11 official languages. In September he performed with Southern Freeway at Zoo lake as part of the Arts Alive programme and played to an audience of 30 000 people. In 1997 he composed the soundtrack for a 30 minute dance, 'Passage of Rites' choreographed by Sylvia Glasser of the Moving Into Dance Company. He conducted a t day training course for the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism to familiarise students from throughout the country on production and engineering techniques as pertaining to radio work. He was contracted as musical director of the Soweto String Quartet a show which toured extensively both locally and abroad. In January 1998 he produced a radio campaign for the department of Health on the issue on HIV, AIDS and S.T.D's once again in all 11. He also produced a radio campaign for the department of Land Affairs on the issue of land reform.
He directed a show called 'Mahube' which is a collaboration of 12 of Southern Africa’s finest musicians including: Oliver Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe), George Phiri (Malawi), Suthukazi Arosi, Feya Faku, Phinda Mtya, Scorpion Mdondo, Barry Van Zyl, Andile Yenana, Herbie Tsoali and Sean Fourie. The show was invited to the 'Out Of Africa' festival that took place in Germany in November 1997. This show was subsequently invited to perform at the 'Main' in Grahamstown in 1998 and will be performing in Holland and Belgium in early November. The show was also contracted to open the 1999 season at the Market Theatre in Newtown Johannesburg, before performing at the first ever WOMAD festival in South Africa, and also at the Oude Libertas amphitheatre in Stellenbosch. The CD Mahube "Music from Southern Africa" was launched on the Sheer Sound label in October 1998.
In September 2000 Steve Dyer completed work on his own solo offering – Steve Dyer – "Down South in Africa", which was licensed by Sheer Sound from Dyer's Ikwezi Music label for local release. The album features 12 outstanding tracks, some resembling the big band sound of Mahube, whilst others demonstrating Dyer's adebt ability on both Flute and Saxophones, and that he has developed an African sound which he can call his own. Look out for the tracks "Inkosi Yinkosi Ngabantu", "Umkumbane", the laid back "Bontleng" featuring Paul Hanmer, and the afro-pop deep groove of "Ancestral Home".
The next solo album "SON OF THE SOIL", again licensed from Dyer's Ikwezi Music label, by Sheer Sound, will be released 5 April 2002, and launched at the Civic Theatre, forming part of a showcase called "Crossing the Limpopo". The album features Paul Hanmer, Sam Mataure from Oliver Mtukudzi's band The Black Spirits, Themba Mkhize, Denzil Weale, Denny Lalouette, Marc Duby, Jimmy Mgwandi, Isaac Mtshali, Bongani Masuku and Sipho Nxumale. Steve's latest solo album represents his musical homecoming to South Africa. Instrumental works are shaped by building the strong South African improvised tradition on African drumming and rhythm. Look out for tracks like Qinisa Indlu and the title track Son of the Soil.