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Osian Roberts | “Courageous Voice” |

by , | Sep 6, 2022 |, Courageous Voice, Listen

“The point is to aim towards perfectionism, it’s not to actually reach it…why would anyone expect to be perfect at something they can’t do and succeed straight away?”
– Osian Roberts

Settle in to this open, honest, sometimes funny, and often vulnerable conversation about living a creative life with Osian Roberts, saxophonist, composer and arranger, as we chat about his journey from visual art, to acting, to music — and finding the point of it all, through success, failure, and the steps in between.

In this episode we chat about:

  • the creative life
  • challenges of perfectionism
  • talent, skills and hard work
  • Self learning
  • fearing failure
  • choosing the creative path you love vs the one you are naturally good at
  • finding creative balance

Connect with Osian on his website,
You can also find him on Spotify, Facebook @osianroberts, and Instagram @osianrobertstenor

Today is the day you vow to follow your heart and not your fear. If only it were that easy! The Courageous Voice podcast chronicles international artists, creatives, plus a handful of scientists, and their stories of fear, courageousness and creativity. Hosted by singer, storyteller and self-proclaimed joy spreader, Chanda Rule, The Courageous Voice inspires us to share our voices courageously in spite of our fears through courageous conversation and community.



Chanda: Hello, and welcome back. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the Courageous Voice today. I am so happy to introduce the one and only the Osian Roberts. Cue the clapping. [Ha!] [00:01:00]

Osian: Hello!

Chanda: So Osian is many things.

He’s a saxophone player. He’s a composer. He is an arranger. He’s a dad, he’s a husband. He is a friend. He is a child actor, gonna get into that.

Osian: I was a child actor.

Chanda: Is!

Osian: I’m an adult now. I no longer act, but if I did, I wouldn’t be a child actor anymore.

Chanda: And a comedian.

Osian: Sorry. I just thought I should clear that up.

Chanda: So listen, Osian, I ask everyone who they’re bringing today because everyone who I have been interviewing, they’re all artists and they all wear many different hats, and we step into many different pairs of shoes in any given moment. So who are you bringing to the Courageous Voice podcast today?

Osian: Well, because I’ve listened to [00:02:00] all the other ones I knew you were gonna ask me that.

Chanda: Did you listen to everything?

Osian: Yes, I did. I’ve been enjoying them. They’re brilliant.

Chanda: Thank you.

Osian: I would say – I thought of many ways to answer this, but I think the easiest thing to say is I’m bringing them all and hoping that one of them or two of them will have something interesting to say, but I’m not guaranteeing that.

Chanda: Okay. It’s like they’re different personalities roaming around. I’m bringing them all.

Osian: Yeah.

Chanda: So, there’s so much, and it’s been so cool getting to know other parts of you today. I know Osian, the saxophone player and arranger and friend, but it’s been interesting, and there are certain stories that I do know, but you can just refresh my memory. So you started out as a creative person as a child. And so was the [00:03:00] first thing acting or was it music or was it something else?

Osian: I think it was probably something else to be honest. Because the first creative thing that I got really into was drawing.

Chanda: Really?

Osian: And yeah. Yeah. And, my father died last year. And he was an extremely creative person. And it’s only since he died, I realized that what a huge influence he had on me, even from that early age, because I loved drawing, and he was really good at drawing.

He was a brilliant painter and artist. Mm am. Amateur, you know that, but he studied it in college as did my mom. They were both artists.

Chanda: Nice.

Osian: So I was surrounded by creativity from birth

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And so not only was it always encouraged, but it was also considered something [00:04:00] like worthy of doing.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: Not just, okay, you’ve had your fun, doing a little bit of that, now it’s do something serious. Because that’s all they did as well, was do creative stuff. So I was very lucky in that regard that I was surrounded by this from an early age, and I got really into it.

And by the time I got to junior school… I mean, my mom has kept loads of pictures from when I was like four or five.

Chanda: Okay. Wow.

Osian: Even if I do say so myself, they’re pretty good for a child of that age.

Chanda: Okay. What sorts of things were you doing? Were you sketching? Were you like abstract painting?

Osian: No, just, I was no Picasso, you know, you see some of the pictures that he did when he was a kid, but that really is unbelievable. Incredible. But, I could draw a pretty decent, like any typical boy stuff, you know, I would just draw cars and vehicles and stuff.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: But [00:05:00] also my dad used to sketch outside. He’d just draw a house or something, and I would like to copy my dad and go outside. And if he was drawing something, I’d go and sit next to him and draw it as well.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And, I was… I am, and have been apparently for longer than I can remember a perfectionist.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: Like a terrible perfectionist. Which I always thought was good until quite recently. I thought, well, there’s nothing wrong with being a perfectionist surely because it means that you’re able to perceive perfection and aim towards it easier. If you’re not a perfectionist, then if something’s not perfect, you don’t even necessarily know, but it’s not perfect.

Do you know what I mean?

Chanda: Kind of actually, because your mind is only set on the perfection part.

Osian: If, if, yeah. So apparently my dad built me a blackboard to draw on because I used to have terrible tantrums. If I tried to draw a [00:06:00] circle and it wasn’t a perfect circle, I was drawing a car or something.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And I’d like be on my back, stamping, jumping up and down, and my dad thought, well, if he’s doing it with chalk, he can just rub it out. But apparently it didn’t help. If I tried to draw a circle on the blackboard and it wasn’t right, that was enough to set me off into a massive tantrum.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: But anyway, eventually, because I just kept doing it,

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: I got pretty good. I got pretty good at it. Before I knew it. I was good at it. Suddenly people were going, oh gosh, did you draw that? That’s really amazing. You know, and all the kids, in the class, every day in school, back in those days, you had to write a story and maybe put a picture on the bottom in the workbook, and all the kids would ask me to draw the picture, and draw their picture.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: So I would be drawing everyone’s pictures and stuff. So I started to believe, I’ve got a talent for drawing.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.[00:07:00]

Osian: And I could see that I was better than most of my peers.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: But that then had a sort of negative effect on me.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: Because when I tried to do something that I wasn’t good at, if I couldn’t do it straight away, I would just think that I’ll never be able to do it. I’m not good at this. I don’t have a talent for this.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: And it was because I wasn’t aware of the fact that, it didn’t occur to me, that I’d actually spent lots and lots of hours drawing.

Chanda: Mm-hmm mm-hmm.

Osian: And that’s why I’m good at it. It’s that about 10,000 hours thing. I spent time doing it, and I just didn’t realize it at the time.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: So anyway, that was my beginning. That was the beginning of my creativity, and I suppose, and also my dad was an opera singer and [00:08:00] he specialized in comedy roles. And so he was very that. And so he was a very, very funny physical comedian. He wasn’t so much into sort of telling jokes and stuff like that, but he was very good at sort of making faces and funny voices and stuff like that.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And I would see how much people would love to be around him. And he was always sort of the center of attention in a family party or something, because he was a rack on turn and he was just a funny guy, you know?

And so I guess, I always wanted to be like that too somehow. And I never even thought about it that much before he died, but I suppose that was, what led me down the acting path, because I got a role. It wasn’t any, it wasn’t something that ever [00:09:00] interested me. I didn’t want to become an actor.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: And my only experience of acting was being in the nativity play and that was my first experience. And I was so scared that I refused to get out the car. I made myself into a plank and my parents had to sort of maneuver me out.

Like I was piece of wood outta the car.

Chanda: And how old were you?

Osian: I was like, I’m not doing it!

Chanda: Oh my God.

Osian: I don’t know about five, six or something, you know? And then we did it and I was like shepherd number five or something.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: I remember my line. I had one line. It was, it was in Welsh, which I’ll translate. It was, "Come on, boys. Let’s go and see the baby Jesus." That was my line in Welsh. And so, I was the fifth, so I had to wait for the other ones to say their lines and I was so nervous. And then we [00:10:00] got to it and, you know, we were a bunch of five year olds.

So the first kid just totally forgot his lines. The second kid started crying or something. It was like a total catastrophe. And I was thinking to myself, I can’t believe I was nervous. I mean, these guys are really, these guys are really doing a terrible job. I mean, I can still remember.

And so I just said my line and then from after that, I was sort of like, well, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. And then,

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And then maybe a couple of years later there was a school play and I had to play an Australian air ambulance doctor.

Chanda: With the accent?

Osian: Yeah, I did. And my dad said, oh, you know, you’ve gotta do the Australian accent mate, you know, and he started telling me how to do it. And I practiced it and I wore the hat with the wine bottle pulls, you know.

Chanda: Yes.

Osian: And I got really into [00:11:00] it and my God, I stole the show, you know, not intentionally, but it was like, everyone was coming up to my mother going, oh gosh, isn’t Osian wonderful? It wasn’t that I was, it was just a part was, it was easy to be funny. You know, the accent probably was rubbish, but the fact that I was game enough to just have a go and do it.

Chanda: Uh-huh.

Osian: And then, I just stumbled into it because my mom’s friend, she worked in film and television and she said they were doing a film. And they were looking for a boy around my age to play this character. There weren’t many lines in it, but it was a main character. It was based on the adults, and she said to my mom, oh, you should audition for it. And my mom said, look, just smile, listen, behave yourself, be polite.

And, I was always a reasonably apart from my perfectionist tantrums, I was kind [00:12:00] of a good boy, I wasn’t a real tear away, you know, I wouldn’t, I don’t know, get into fights or anything like that. I was just pretty quiet.

And so suddenly I got this gig in a film and then once you’ve got a film credit, and then I was able to join Equity, which is the actor’s union in the UK.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And then once, once you’re on Equity’s books and you’ve got a film credit, then it’s easy to get more work because they don’t even audition. They look at you and go, well, look, he’s already done a film. So he is obviously professional enough to do that. Because even if a child looks right for the role or whatever, directors and producers, they need some guarantees that this child isn’t gonna be a complete nightmare.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: It’s like the old acting saying, never work with children or animals, you know, that’s what.

Chanda: Okay. I’d never heard that one.

Osian: Well, that’s what they always used to say because they’re so [00:13:00] unpredictable, you know whereas if you’ve got experience, you know. So I stumbled into it without actually being that good.

And it was only when I got older and I did this television series and I worked with some great actors and I saw how they approached the craft and how seriously they took it.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And I was just at the level of, oh, I hope I can just remember my lines.

You know, and I wasn’t even really focusing on my character or anything like that. And then I would meet other kids my age that were so clearly much better actors than I was that I got to a point where I thought, if I’m gonna pursue this as a career,

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: Which it seemed like the most logical thing to do, because all these doors were open to me, you know?

But then I thought, if I’m gonna do this, I need to really commit and do some hard work.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: I didn’t want to. I just, yeah, like, [00:14:00] do I really want to be an actor? And, um, and I just thought, well, not, not really. And by this time I’d already started playing the saxophone.

And that was something that I really loved. And I was like, well, I’d rather be a musician and go that that way. So…

Chanda: Now this is interesting, ’cause I feel like you’ve touched upon three different interesting topics, and interesting in the sense of, I get into these conversations often and specifically there’s this one person I get into this conversation a lot with him and is the conversation of what talent is.

And so, you talked about three different art forms, your drawing, your acting, and your music. And so, I’m sure that you’ve shown a talent for all three. So the first one, you show you have a talent for it and you work at it and you work hard and you get good at it.

The second one you’re acting, you obviously have a talent at it. It was an easy thing and it’s just a [00:15:00] talent, but you decide, ah, this is not for me. And now you’re talking about this third thing, and this is like this genuine love. So this is the first time you’ve said that. That you have a love for something.

And it’s so interesting to me because so many people are like, okay, well, this person has a talent for that. So they can be successful in it because they just have a talent for it, you know, or, you don’t have to work hard at this because it’s just a natural gift or you work at it a little bit.

I don’t know. What is your thought about talent, this concept of talent, or what is it to you?

Osian: Well, to be really honest, there may be people who get things right early on when they do something. Or maybe there’s people who have…[pauses]. See, I can’t disconnect talent from hard work. Or not even hard work, from time spent doing something.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: For example, with sport, a certain physique [00:16:00] will make you more likely to be better at certain sports.

For example, if you are like super tall, you’re more likely to be successful as a basketball player, for example, something like that. But anyone who reaches any level of skill or talent has to work to get there.

Chanda: Mm, okay.

Osian: You know, or, or, singing is something you could say that is it a talent. I suppose people associate talent with something that you’re born with that you don’t… I mean, how would you describe, I don’t wish to turn this around, but how would you describe, what would you consider talent to be?

Chanda: Yeah. You know, I get it. This is an interesting question because people, I think off the top of my head, I would say, oh, this person has a natural ability. I don’t know if I believe in natural [00:17:00] ability anymore. Right. Because I mean, I remember having my first little solo when I was two years old.

Right. So yeah, I could keep key and I could be on stage and, be cute, but, was that natural? Or was it because I had just screamed, and sang around the house even then, like all the time with my mom or, you know, I even watch Kite and he seems to have natural abilities at certain things, he’s like really good at soccer, but like as soon as he could walk, he was literally kicking a ball for hours with Gernat. That’s all we did. For years with him. So it’s like, is it natural, or?

Osian: Well, that’s what I’m talking about.

Chanda: Or, but, so on the other hand, we had a really eerie experience with him. This is with drums and his dad is a drummer, but his dad is Austrian. So he grew up with this, they call like Capella music, like marching band music in the country.

Osian: Mm-hmm.

Chanda: But when Kite was like one and a half, he found a little djembe that I had bought, I got this little djembe in Senegal. He finds this thing and he kicks it over. This kid couldn’t even [00:18:00] talk. All he could say was "Alto." Like he could say that’s all he would say. He kicks the drum over and sits on it and starts going, he kick, put his head back like this and he says like, he’s just like going at it.

And I’m, he had never seen this before. Never. Right. And I’m like, whoa, like where is he getting this from?

Osian: Wow.

Chanda: And so that is strange because whereas like, you know, drumming. In the house. And Gernat has infiltrated his brain with jazz drums and he takes drum lessons. But if he has like a hand percuss, Around.

It seems like he has a natural ability and it’s weird because Gernat’s father is the same way. You know, he’s been in Austria, I would say all of his life, and Gernat brought home a table. And like, I had been seeing him trying to learn this tabla, you know, when you learn the tabla, they have you doing one finger for like a year.

And his dad takes this thing. It’s just like, [drum [00:19:00] sounds]

And I’m looking at him like, what is this? So anyway, when I see things like that, I guess that is what I would say, wow, that is a natural talent. This person picking up this instrument that is completely foreign and just like killing it, or like this one and a half year old kicking over this drumming and kicking his head back and like, yeah, that’s what I would call it.

Osian: I, yeah. So I think in the end after many years of ruminating about it, I came to the conclusion that I don’t have talent for music, you know? And so.

Chanda: Okay. Can we just pause? So like pause, disclaimer, pause, disclaimer. Okay. Osian and I, we work together. We make music together and Osian, like I can have a song that I’m working at and I’ll be like, man, I would like to have a horn part and Osian will literally go away for like maybe five to 10 minutes, write an entire horn part, not just for one horn, but for the horn [00:20:00] section and notate it out.

So all the musicians listening know that this is not an easy feat. Right. And so for you to say that you don’t have a talent at this is like, [raises eyebrows].

Osian: Well, okay.

Chanda: Wild.

Osian: So, that’s very nice of you to say that by the way.

Chanda: Disclaimer, over.

Osian: Um, um, but I, so I would say any skills that I have, they’ve come through like hard work. You know what I mean?

Chanda: I do know.

Osian: I spend many hours and, and, and so,

Chanda: And is that a talent also though? Because everyone cannot put in many hours.

Osian: So, yes. So here’s the thing, I was thinking, okay, so if I don’t have talent, who are my friends that, ’cause I’m friends with loads of fantastic musicians, who I admire, including you, you know, so, okay.

Chanda: But I’m not on your website.

Osian: Oh, I haven’t updated that for such a long time. [00:21:00] Didn’t even know I still got one. Anyway,

Chanda: And the notable that you perform with… [Laughs] No, I’m kidding!

I will,

Osian: I’ll update that as soon as this interview finishes if I can still log into it, I don’t know. Anyway. Um, yes. So I was in college with a guy called Orlando La Fleming, who’s a bass player in, well, he’s moved back to the UK now, but he lived in New York for many years and played with all the greats. But to give you an idea of his talent, he was a professional, cricket player, which he was,

played county cricket in the UK before going to college. And he also played electric bass and he was a big fan of that band Level 42, it’s like a British pop fusion band. Anyway, there’s a lot of slap bass playing involved in it.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And he was like into this kind of, into jazz as well. But he really got [00:22:00] into Christian McBride. And he wanted to learn to play the upright bass.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And so I was a year above him in college and he started to study the upright, and he was badgering me, he was like, oh, you wanna come and play some standards, I just wanna practice the bass.

And I was like, wow. Yeah, sure. And he sounded pretty strong and I, wow, you sound really good and he said, well, I’m having some classical lessons and working on my technique and I’ve been practicing a few hours today, but I just wanna put play.

Anyway, by a year later, he was on the road with Branford Marsalis. The guy was ridiculous, you know, and he nearly didn’t graduate because he needed so much time off to go on world tours and stuff. The head of the course was sort of like, well, you have to attend all the lessons.

And, and we were all saying, well, this is a great advert for your college. That he’s…

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: [00:23:00] You know what I mean? It’s like he’s already playing on the world stage and since then, he comes over to Europe and …incredibly gifted player.

Fantastic. And I was thinking if anyone’s got a talent, it’s that guy. And I came to the conclusion that his talent was to get it right the first time, or to basically know who to get the right advice from, or who to listen to and what to do to get better. Because his improvement was so rapid and I thought, well, that’s a talent because I’ve always been the exact opposite to that.

I was always a terrible student.

Chanda: And what happened to the circle drawing? You told me that you were drawing circles and if you didn’t you’d have a tantrum.

Osian: I didn’t like to take advice from anyone. I always [00:24:00] thought I knew better or something.

And whenever I worked something out, it’s always triggers a flashback to some teacher telling me this, like 20 years ago. And I’m like, oh, yeah, he was right. Why didn’t I listen to them? You know, I’ve always been like really awful at actually trusting people that know better than me.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: You know what I mean? And, and

Chanda: Mmhmm… So you like to listen to your own voice basically.

Osian: Well, I overthink things and I’m constantly trying to improve myself. So now I know that about myself. That was definitely the case in the past.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: That I had this sort of cocky attitude that I knew better, but sometimes, it doesn’t help to think about things, it’s just better to actually do things. And in hindsight, that’s how I got to be good at drawing. I wasn’t thinking about, I just was doing it.[00:25:00]

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And so now I try to not think too much about things and just sort of do them. And, if I can’t do them, if I’m not good at something or something’s difficult, I don’t let the perfectionist in me sort of instantly give because that’s the worst thing about being a perfectionist is that you are not very conscientious.

So if something doesn’t go right, then you give up. I’ve always had these best intentions. Oh, I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna do four hours practice every day this year, and I get like one in and suddenly, you know, something happens, and I can’t do four hours that day. And it’s like, well, there’s no point now it’s over. But then I won’t practice at all for another couple of days, you know? And it’s like, that’s missing the point. The point is to aim towards perfection, it’s not to actually reach it, you know? So, I’m trying to forgive [00:26:00] myself that, when I fail to reach these things.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: Because actually, it’s not realistic anyway. Why would anyone expect to be perfect at something that they can’t do?

Chanda: Hmm.

Osian: And succeed straight away. It’s just nonsense. It’s ridiculous. You know?

Chanda: Yeah, this is interesting also, because I did mention in the beginning that you were a dad, you’re a family guy also. So I don’t know if this is the same for you, but I also struggle with creating these like fantastical, is that a word? Fantastical goals.

Right? And so this year I had all these goals. And man, I was on it until March and like March was like the crazy COVID month here, but I was really on it. And then it’s just like burnout time, because they were just ridiculous. It’s just like, okay, you have an eight year old. You’re like momming, you’re wifing. You’re performing.

Osian: Yeah.

Chanda: And now you wanna learn German and now you wanna write music and now you wanna do this book and now you wanna. So, you know, and on top [00:27:00] of that, like I have this other side thing of, um, I’m still studying yoga, which I love. And, but I’ve kind of been like, okay, well when I can, when I can, great, when I can, when I can’t, okay.

But the interesting thing about all these principles is it always comes back to balance, which I love, because that is like the thing that I always leave out. Right. It’s just like, okay. Not taking into consideration life and then this whole, like, okay, well, if I can’t have it all, if I can’t do it perfectly then, not at all, but then what does it look like when balance comes into the picture, right?

Because balance is not stagnant. It’s always this moving up and down, and I’ve just found that so helpful of striving more towards like, I mean, I still have the crazy goals because I think having crazy goals is part of being a creative person and it’s part of having a wild imagination, but like, you know, coming back to that balance, it’s been helpful.

Osian: Yeah. I mean, [00:28:00] again, talking about my dad, my dad had an unbelievable imagination to the extent that, you know, he was a man of many talents, he was a brilliant car mechanic. He loved old cars and, and

Chanda: Wow.

Osian: Great artists and, he sort of was a great DIY and crafts and everything like that. But he was terribly, he couldn’t finish anything. He would have this grand scheme of doing so. I mean, he finished a lot of things, but it was the amount of stuff that he was thinking his imagination was just like off the chart. So, he, oh, I’d like to have a boat, so, he’d get a boat.

And then, I don’t like how the back of the boat looks. So he would, he’d just like cut the back of this boat off and like, started to learn how to fiberglass and

Chanda: Oh my God.

Osian: And spent, and there was nothing that he thought he couldn’t do and he could have done anything. But the thing that stopped him from [00:29:00] doing everything was not engaging with the mundane realities of life like calculating how many hours it would take to do this, you know. He was all about, so one of the challenges and that’s what excited him was the, how am I gonna do it? Once he’d figured that out, then it was kind of done for him, you know, even though he hadn’t done it, it was like, oh, well this is boring now.

You know what I mean? And so, then he would start doing the boring stuff, but then he’d have another idea and then he’d embark on something else. So there’d always be something on the go. And this was his motto that he always used to tell me. He said that the most difficult step is the first step.

You know, once you’ve started, then it’s fine. But he was so focused on the first step. He never took the rest of the, [00:30:00] like all in, at the beginning and then sort of, ah, I haven’t got time for it now. And so, you know, on the one hand, I hugely admire his sort of have-a-go attitude, you know,

Chanda: Mm-hmm

Osian: and his belief and he did do some incredible things.

Like we did a loft conversion. He built a sort of spiral staircase just from wood from scratch, but not, it wasn’t just a like, okay. It was like really, really beautiful, really nice, you know? And he just, but once he’d done that, that was the most difficult thing, but he never finished the loft.

Just you’ve just gotta paint it and it’s just boring, you know, so it’s that kinda, that kinda thing.

Chanda: That wild imagination.

Osian: You’ve gotta have that. But then I think you’ve also gotta be, uh,

I wanna say realistic, but, if people say that to [00:31:00] people who’ve got sort of wild ambitions, it sounds like you’re raining on their parade, but I don’t mean it in,

Chanda: No, I think it’s part of the balance of it. Right? It’s it is. It’s like the practical aspect, I mean, one can be a dreamer, but then it has to get into the physical realm of doing.

Osian: Yeah.

Chanda: And then there’s gotta be, I mean, I think, yeah, this is a good example of a whole integration. Right. We have this unseen part that we imagine we have practical part that we do with our body. And then we have to have the mental part of like calculating hours and all that kind of stuff.

Osian: Mm.

Chanda: You know, I’m not good at that part, but I’m, luckily I’m married to someone who is very good at it.

Osian: Right.

Chanda: It’s like, you know, did you like measure or you just like gonna be chopping up stuff right now? Or did you think about this? Do you know we have somewhere to be in like 10 minutes and that project looks like it’s gonna take two hours.

Osian: Yeah. Well, I think that my wife Adita, she’s very [00:32:00] conscientious and she’s very practical, so it’s like, we’re kind of opposites in a way, but it actually works really well.

Chanda: Mm-hmm

Osian: And I see how she actually manages to get so much done.

And it’s just about time management and again, my perfectionist tendencies, I’m like, okay, it’s time management is the problem. So now I am gonna crush time management, like no one’s ever crushed it before and I’ve gotta get a calendar and do a to do list and, I set out and it just takes one small glitch and then all the house of cards falls down. I’m like, oh, well obviously I can’t can’t do that, but I read somewhere that you have to expect to fail and you have to not be upset to fail. It’s like, it’s more likely that you are gonna fail than succeed, and not only that, but if you think about it in that [00:33:00] way, then you are less likely to be angry with yourself for failing.

Chanda: Mm-hmm

Osian: You know what I mean? And also more likely to just keep playing on, even though there, some things have gone wrong and so I I’m constantly reminding myself of that now. The point is not to, to, um…

Well, three things. First of all, the point is not to do it perfectly. The first time, the point is to do it.

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And keep doing it. The point is to keep doing it and not stop. And the second is to not be hard on yourself, is to forgive yourself the failures

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: And actually imagine if it wasn’t you doing or attempting to do this thing, and it was your best friend

Chanda: Mm-hmm

Osian: and if they failed, what would you say to them?

You know, it’s like, oh, well, of course, don’t worry, you’ve done this and this, well done. Keep going, don’t give up [00:34:00] and, say those, be nice to yourself, instead of like, oh, you moron, you know, you failed the first thing, you idiot, you know, you’re never gonna be any good at anything.

And so like, those were the voices in my head before.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: You know, and it’s like, why are you being so mean to yourself?

Chanda: Mm-hmm.

Osian: It’s like, if you can’t be nice to yourself, no one else is gonna be nice. And then I’m sure there was a third thing, but, um, I dunno what it was.

Chanda: No, but it’s okay. Like, this is great because I had this question in the back of my mind and that was, um, so then what does one do, right? How does one succeed when they don’t have whatever they consider the talent is?

And there’s someone that starts and stops, starts and stops, starts and stops, because I mean, you have accomplished a lot in your life. And you also talk about your dad, who’s also accomplished a lot of things. And so I love what [00:35:00] you’re saying about this. The courage to keep going to go past failure is, I mean, it’s beautiful.

And really, of course like this whole self dialogue thing, or tri-alogue’s not a word.

Osian: Tri-alogue. It could be a word.

Chanda: It could be a word.

Osian: It should be a word.

Chanda: But it’s important. It’s important. And, um, yeah, and I think you answered my question with that statement.

Osian: Well, yeah, I mean, I had a moment where I sort of thought, well, you’re not good at this.

So, the chances are, you’ll never be good at this. So what’s the point? And I actually, there’s a long story behind it, but I decided after leaving college, I decided for about a couple of days that I was going to not be a musician.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: And, um,

Chanda: What were those days like? Oh my God. Were you depressed?

Osian: Well, funnily enough, it was like [00:36:00] a weight off my shoulders in a way, but my biggest fear was that because all my friends were musicians and up until that point, I had wrapped all my self worth.

Chanda: Mm

Osian: up with being a saxophone player, and it being my destiny and being a jazz musician and all these things that, that I up ’til that point believed that I could be.

And, but I failed so many times, I had so many experiences that it just got too much to bear, you know, and I was like, I actually I’m not good at this. And my biggest fear that I would lose my friends. And once I decided to stop, it just suddenly became so clear to me that, that’s nonsense.

They’re not gonna suddenly say, oh, you’ve stopped playing the saxophone. Well, I’m sorry, I can’t talk to you anymore. You know, they’re like, nobody cares. The only person who cares if I’m a great saxophone player at [00:37:00] the end of the day is me, you know? No one’s like, do you know what I mean? If I told you now I’m gonna stop playing the saxophone, you wouldn’t say, oh, well, I don’t think we should keep in touch, or do you know what I mean? It’s just ridiculous. So, and, and so it was like a reset. And actually, I like jazz.

I like listening to music. I just like it. And I was like, okay, well, so what have you got to lose? Just start from scratch again. And nobody cares. Just do it, do it for fun. And so that’s what I’ve been doing since then, and just keep plugging away and I make sort of tiny, incremental, improvements that, and I keep doing, you know, I keep feeling that actually, I’ve learned something new.

That’s made me a better musician today, you know? And that’s the thrill of it, you know, you just keep going and you keep having these experiences and, you know, hopefully one day,[00:38:00] I’ll make an amazing record or something, but I’m not pinning any hopes on that.

I’m just sort of doing it ’cause I like it. And, and that’s it, really.

Chanda: Wow. I love that. I love that. This is perfect. This is perfect place to end. And that is, wow. I can’t wait to listen back to this. There’s so many cool gems. Well, Osian, thank you so much. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Osian: Thank you, Chanda.

Chanda: I always enjoy chatting with you.

Osian: I was gonna say, I think this is probably the most courageous thing I’ve done is to agree to be on your podcast about courageous voices.

Chanda: Anyway. Well, listen.

Osian: Thank you.

Chanda: So, you guys can find Osian on his website that he said that he does not update, but…

Osian: okay. I’ll do it now.

Chanda: Yes. [00:39:00] And where else can we find you, or is that the best place?

Osian: Oh my God. Um, I’ve just started being on Instagram, but I think I’ve posted like one thing, but I am there @OsianRobertsTenor, I think.

Chanda: Alright. He’s committed.

Osian: I’m on Facebook as well, Osian Roberts, I think. And I think my profile picture is me with a saxophone in my mouth. So that’s a giveaway.

Chanda: Okay.

Osian: Cause I think there’s a few Osian Roberts.

Chanda: Right. There are. So make sure that you see either a picture of a saxophone or the word sax, and you can also find some music. Osian has, oh my goodness. I saw three things on Spotify, right. So, ah,

Osian: yeah, possibly. Yeah. Quintet with Steve Fishwick trumpet player.

Chanda: Mm-hmm, yeah. So listen to his music on Spotify, go on his website [00:40:00] and online. So you can keep current on what he’s doing. So thank you again and hope y’all enjoy this episode and I will see you soon in a couple weeks. Bye.

Osian: Bye!