Born in Pointe-Claire, Quebec to South African parents, he attended Loyola High School and McGill University. Roberts formed the band William in 1993. The band's name was changed to Northstar in 1996. Although the band gained some notice in independent rock circles, they couldn't break through to a national audience, and broke up in the late 1990s. Roberts' bandmate George Donoso went on to significant success in indie rock circles with The Dears, but Roberts struggled for several years afterward.
After disbanding Northstar in 1998, Roberts promptly recorded the full-length and now very collectible independent debut Brother Down at home. In 2001, Roberts recorded and released a six-song EP, The Inhuman Condition, on MapleMusic Recordings. The EP sold slowly at first, but by the summer of 2002 his first single "Brother Down" had become one of the biggest Canadian hits of the year, and the follow up single "Don't Walk Away Eileen" quickly followed suit.
Roberts then signed to Universal Music, releasing his full-length major label debut, We Were Born in a Flame, in 2004. That album's singles, "Where Have All the Good People Gone?" and "Hard Road", received, once again, a large amount of success, mainly in Canada.
The band's new album Chemical City, was released in Canada on April 11, 2006. The official U.S. release date is May 16, 2006. In Canada, the first single was "The Gate" which quickly shot to number one on Canadian rock radio.