Barbadian trailblazers: Miles Robertson
Barbados may only be 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, but it has undoubtedly produced several talented individuals in a variety of fields including music, art, business, science, and sport.
A lot of these people sometimes go unnoticed, even by people on the island, but that does not minimise the achievements they’ve had or the heights they’ve reached.
In this series, Yello takes a look at Barbadians who have blazed a trail and made a long-lasting impact far beyond their island home.
Musical director, pianist and keyboardist Miles Robertson may not be as well-known as some of the people he’s worked with, but his talent has seen him collaborate with some exceptional musical artists including Sean Kingston, One Republic and Fabolous, and most famously of all, British superstar Adele.
Miles was born in Barbados into a family of musicians and gives credit to his mother, Janice Millington-Robertson (who was herself an established Barbadian artist) for his musical childhood, as she trained him in classical piano and violin from the age of two.
Miles’ father, Rafael ‘Raf’ Robertson, was also an internationally-acclaimed Trinidadian jazz pianist and his maternal grandparents, James and Dorothy Odessa Millington, were also musicians.
At the age of six, he competed in the Junior Calypso Monarch competition under the stage name, ‘The Mighty Puma’ and came third.
But it wasn’t until his teenage years, when Miles was attending the Lodge School in St John and began drumming for the school ensemble, that he decided he’d like to pursue a career in music and he eventually went on to earn the highest overall mark in the CXC Music Examination at age 16.
Miles graduated from the Barbados Community College with an Associate Degree in Music in 2002, and his professional breakthrough came three years later, when he toured as a backup artist for fellow Barbadian star Rupee.
On working with Adele from 2008 to 2012, Miles told Yamaha magazine: “I got a call from a booking agent. They said, ‘There’s this artist called Adele from the UK. She’s getting ready to embark on a US promo tour, and she’s going to need the services of a keyboard player.'”
He also told the magazine that he bases his success on “hard work, discipline and dedication”.
Miles, who has been touring with Irish R&B singer Laura Izibor, has come a long way since his island upbringing but there’s no doubt that his Barbadian background has played a large part in his successful, trailblazing career.