Roberts was born in the town of Arima in eastern Trinidad on April 18, 1922. He was one of six children of a well-known blacksmith. There are two explanations commonly given for his early involvement with music. Some of his biographers trace his interests in music to his father's blacksmith shop in addition to his blacksmithing his father was also a musician and many other fellow musicians went to his smithy to play and listen to each other's tunes. Kitchener acquired a taste for music and learned music and guitar from his dad. Other biographers reasoned that Kitchener developed an interest in singing as a way to counteract stammering, a speech problem that afflicted him throughout his life.