Adam Robertson spoke with mentalist Colin Cloud about the 10 things that changed his life. 

1. Cats

They have travelled the world with me through Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Paris, New York and now Vegas. They are the one thing I feel has kept me sane and grounded and in amongst all this performing world, they’re the constant that’s been there the last few years.

I very much love them and how calming they are but also crazy at three in the morning. I think my cats are my world. I had three but sadly one had to get put down this year so now I’ve got two and they’re both wonderful and glorious.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford on the 10 things that changed his life

I think at some point at this year I will adopt a third but that needs to be after I get back from Edinburgh.

2. Running

I would say eight or nine years ago, I used to be somewhere between 60 and 70 pounds heavier than I am right now. Literally running both physically and mentally completely changed my life.

To begin with I couldn’t do it. I could run for a minute and was gubbed and that was me but then I built up a tolerance and now I get a bit of guilt if I don’t go running pretty much every day.

I will say off the back of running, my energy on stage and thus my performances I think have got better. I’ve got more energy just throughout the day in general. I’m able to get way more done.

3. My mentors

I’ve been very lucky at certain points of my life to be surrounded by the perfect person to teach me what I thought I needed to be taught at that moment. Growing up doing mentalism and mind-reading, there was a guy in Edinburgh called Drew McAdam in Edinburgh.

He was my first mentor when I was a young teenager. He very kindly took me under his wing and really got me on stage performing for real people which was a breakthrough moment.

Then at university I met a guy called Gavin Oattes who is the managing director and lead speaker of a training organisation called Tree Of Knowledge. I was part of a buy-out of that company and we ended up on Dragon’s Den to build it up. He is the funniest, naturally funniest person I’ve ever met and I performed with him for years. Learning the rhythm of an audience with him was amazing.

When it comes to creating, there’s two guys – Mark Elsdon and Ryan Davidson. The latter is a Glaswegian-based magician and Mark is in Wales. Coming to America, there’s my co-writer and co-director on everything David Gerard.

READ MORE: James Cosmo on the 10 things that changed his life

These people I’ve been lucky enough to bump into have helped me absorb new techniques and strategies that I needed to take on board to grow as a performer.

4. The Edinburgh Festival

Growing up surrounded by hundreds of shows and performers was insane. To be absorbed by so many gifted, talented artists was so lucky. I’ve always felt the way comedians connect with an audience through their words and presence has always fascinated me more than magic and mentalism to be honest.

I’ve often felt like with magic people are hiding behind the tricks whereas with comedy it’s all out in the open and I’ve learned a lot from that approach when it comes to being present and connecting with people. I think I used to hide behind the demonstration.

5. Sherlock Holmes

Without discovering those books in my school library I would not be doing any of this now. When I first opened the book now, I opened it to a page where he was doing the ‘cool stuff’ and just deducing what people were thinking.

The way the books are written, it sounded like this guy actually existed because they’re written from the perspective of Dr Watson.

I was like P7 and because it was based on Edinburgh University and tying all that in with Conan Doyle I thought ‘oh s**t’ this guy is real. It was like finding out Santa doesn’t exist.

The National: A decision must be taken on whether to move the statue of Sherlock Holmes in Picardy Place. Photograph: Stewart Attwood

But I love this idea of being able to deduce things and it got me really into science and taking apart the TV and working out how to put it back together and then I discovered psychology.

That led me to understanding people and learning all about hypnosis and it just kind of came from that. It all stems from Sherlock Holmes who could do these near superhuman things. I’ve built a career out of replicating things he would do.

6. My girlfriend Jenna

I think I am quite, I’ll be polite, a difficult person to be around with how obsessed I am with stuff and how my brain is always active. I’m so lucky my job is my passion, it is my hobby and guilty pleasure and I’m always thinking about doing better demonstrations, jokes, tricks.

The fact she is willing to tolerate and be involved with that and she is a psychologist herself which helps as she understands that world and gives very valid input.

I feel like I’ve been very lucky to find someone there who is not only very impressive but also someone who is willing to be as passionate about stuff as I am. It comes back to who you surround yourself and how that dictates your success.

When you do that with people who are that supportive, it lends to better work, results and performances.

7. America

Coming here and making a name for myself has been massive. The fact I started at the Edinburgh Festival and went to the West End with The Illusionists and then they brought me to the US to tour with them which led to America’s Got Talent, all the TV shows here and being on Broadway and then to the Las Vegas strip.

Performing here has changed my life. I think I’ve done more shows here now than I’ve done anywhere else in the world including Scotland.

READ MORE: Eilish McColgan on the 10 things that changed her life

The learnings I’ve had here, the number of times I get on stage per year is insane. American audiences are very different – they seem more willing to express their emotion than your typical Scottish person might be.

I’m so lucky that I get to be on stage every night in front of 1300 people.

8. My parents

I know some people in the performing world and they have horror stories of their parents growing up and a lot of their content and comedy comes from that. I’m kind of annoyed my parents were really supportive in that regard.

No matter what I wanted to do, I went to university at 15 and started at 16 which they supported. I didn’t want to use my degree though, I wanted to tour the world and they supported that.

My favourite gig of all time is performing at the Royal Variety and the act on before me was The Killers who played Mr Brightside so I had to follow that but my parents came down and watched that. The fact they were in the room for my favourite performance in London with all that going on was amazing. It was me saying I’m glad you guys trusted me and this is you seeing it has paid off.

9. Homesickness

I just have an awareness of missing home. I know I’ve spoken about America but I still love Scotland, Glasgow and the Edinburgh Festival. I look forward to the day where I’ve done everything I want here and can move back there.

I have that real awareness of just how much I love everything about Scotland. As fun as America is I’m very excited for the day all the boxes have been ticked here. Maybe I can open my cat café or something, that might be the dream.

10. Taylor Swift

I think I just have a love of music and how much I love the ability music has to play with your mindset, your mood, your thinking. As someone who is really into understanding how people think, music in general has so much power.

But Taylor Swift (below) is just so impressive. The fact she creates all her own music and writes her own stuff. It’s incredible what she’s done and achieved. I’m obsessed with her music and am very excited to go see her play live. I love just watching amazing performers and seeing someone who has crafted everything she presents and performs to fill stadiums the way she does.

The National: Taylor Swift leads the 2023 nominations with eight (George Walker IV/AP)

As someone who is also a performer, nowhere near that level, you can’t help but admire what she has created. It’s just phenomenal. I know pretty much every lyric to every song and there’s no shame there whatsoever.

I love listening to new music, especially when I run a lot.

Colin Cloud: After Dark is on at the Fringe from August 17-21 and tickets can be found HERE