AboutWho's Cathi & What Exactly Does She Do?
What’s Cathi been up to?
Cathi is originally from Sydney, although she spent most of her adult life in London (1997-2016) working as a voice artist, singer and songwriter. Cathi moved back to Australia in 2016 and can be found happily frolicking about the beaches when she’s not in the studio.
Voiceover work includes documentaries, audiobooks, commercials, corporate narration, e-learning, corporate training, animation and post synch for film and TV.
- Sunshine by Samantha C Ross.
- All We Have Is Now by Kaneana May.
- A Diamond in the Dust by Frauke Bolten-Boshammer (narrated in a German/Australian accent throughout).
- The Battle of Mont St Quentin-Peronne by Michele Bomford.
- Island Paradise for Fury Productions.
- Your Water, My Water by Pipic Media for Compass, ABC TV.
Cathi Ogden is represented by Scout Management.
- Southern Cross Austereo
- Nova Radio
- Clemenger BBDO
- Department of Health
- Australian Public Service Commission
- Department of Social Services
- Fury Productions
- Soundfirm Sydney
- Aquarius Films
- Future Train
- Pipic Media
- Singapore Airlines
- UK brand Sheilas’s Wheels – 2005 to 2019
Career highlights include:
- Performing at Royal Festival Hall for “Pete Waterman A Life In Song”
- Voiceover for the Australian Collection at The British Museum
- Publishing contracts with Universal Music Publishing and BMG Music Publishing
- Releasing three Jazz albums: Out There, Souvenirs From Stockholm and Curious Covers For Cool Cats
- Singing the Australian National anthem for President Bill Clinton.
- Representing the UK brand Sheilas’ Wheels for 14 years from 2005-2019
- Writing and performing a standup comedy set at Up The Creek, Greenwich, London
- Co-writing two UK Top 10 hit songs (Darude, Louise)
- Touring the UK with girl-group The Sheilas – signed to Pete Waterman
- Working for APRA/AMCOS as the first ever UK rep, with responsibility for their expat Aus/NZ songwriter members.
- Writing and recording with Victoria Beckham
- Lead vocals for Fac 15, Hed Kandi Records
- Playing a jazz singer in the British Film “These Foolish Things”
Work with Cathi
Soundproof home vocal booth with:
- Neumann TLM 102 microphone
- Universal Audio Arrow interface
- Audacity and Luna
- Source Connect
Listen to Cathi
Q & A with Cathi
Simply click the + icon to expand the answer.
How did you get into voiceover work?
I always say I fell into it. It’s true, in that VO’s were something I hadn’t thought about doing until someone else suggested it when I was in my early twenties. I started life as a singer and supported my jazz habit by doing commercial sessions and corporate gigs. The sessions became more and more constant and eventually I was doing up to six sessions a day. Then Kathy Evans suggested I try VO’s because I was already comfortable in the studio environment and could take direction. It was a natural progression and ended up being something I love just as much as singing.
How did you get into singing?
My whole family are very musical. I grew up listening to my older brothers and sisters playing and singing an eclectic mix of music and I just got the bug. I spent hours every day singing all kinds of different styles, then had lessons and joined my first band at school. I discovered jazz via Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holiday and . I was lucky enough to know people who wrote jingles so that’s how I got into session work at around the age of 17.
What took you to London?
I’ve actually lived there twice. Once when I just left school for two years and again when I met my husband who is a Londoner. I moved back to Sydney in 2016 after 19 years in London.
What are some highlights of your time there?
Ooh so many! Singing at Royal Festival Hall for “Pete Waterman a Life in Song”, representing Sheilas’ Wheels insurance for 14 years (2005-2019) as the lead Sheila in all their TV, radio and online commercials, appearing in the film “These Foolish Things” with Lauren Bacall and Anjelica Huston, working for APRA-AMCOS as their first ever OS representative – looking after all their ex-pat Aus and NZ songwriters in Europe, writing two top 10 hit songs, releasing three jazz albums and guesting on loads of other albums, touring with my girl group The Sheilas and being signed to Pete Waterman, singing on a load of Hed Kandi albums with Fac 15… I could go on but that’s enough for now : )
What is it like being back in Aus?
I love it. I think I’m adding several years to my life just by breathing in the clean air. I’ve fallen in love with our amazing wildlife and living by the sea and just being back home again. It took a long time to feel like I fit in after all those years away, but I’ve got my accent back and I’m loving every second of living here again.
What has changed since you first started in the business?
Ooh good question! It has changed a lot in that there are a lot more voice artists now. I think there are far fewer jingles being created, so I don’t think there’s as much work for session singers. I’m glad I do both. Social Media has changed the way voice artists promote themselves – something I’ve had to train myself to do… sort of like training a reluctant cat to use a litter tray.
What do you do when you’re not doing voiceovers or singing?
I laze about on my yacht whilst being fed grapes and wine… just kidding. I paint portraits of birds using mainly oil paints, I do jazz gigs, I make sure I get full use of the beautiful beaches near my home and walk or swim nearly every day. I see my friends and family and try to make up for lost time with them. I did the WIRES animal rescue course last year and did a lot of rescues until quite recently. I’ll start again when COVID clears up.
Do you feel like you’re in competition with other voiceovers?
Ooh another good question! I guess I do, but weirdly my attitude to both sessions, voiceovers and life really, is that there is room for everyone. I have my strengths and weaknesses and so does everyone else so I figure the right jobs will find me and I’ll find them. Right now, I’m doing a lot of “empathetic yet authoritative” reads for things like 1800 Respect. I also love doing documentaries, audiobooks and any jobs where I get to do character voices and accents.
The thing that really amazes and heartens me is the sense of camaraderie amongst my fellow voice artists. My VO buddies are so lovely – especially the women who are signed to Scout where we have a network of really good people who are happy to help each other out. It’s quite remarkable. Kathryn and Heidi do an incredible job of keeping us all in work whilst being kind and 100% driven to achieve excellence – Kathryn is a genius at managing it all.
Do you warm up before a job?
Yes! I do a lot of vocal warm ups as well as breathing exercises and a kind of home made meditation before each job to get me in the zone.
Do you prefer working from your home or in a studio?
Eek, what a question! I have only just started using my home vocal booth which is designed to be like a remote booth for proper professional recording studios. It means that I don’t HAVE to go to Melbourne to work in a studio there for example, or I can work with a local Sydney studio (as long as they have Source Connect) so as to avoid any COVID restrictions. I will also be able to work with my contacts in the UK which will be brilliant. I am not an audio engineer, so I’m just sending pure sound to the studios so they can edit and add effects themselves.
But, I’m a very social animal and there is nothing I love more than working in a studio with an engineer, producer, client or other voice artists. It’s all about the people for me so I’d rather work with other humans in person in a studio if possible.
How has having a home vocal booth changed your work?
I don’t really know yet! It’s all so new and I’ve only just learnt enough to be able to confidently work with other studios from home. The massive benefit for me is that I am LOVING having a totally soundproof space in my home where I can make whatever noises I like, knowing that none of my neighbours or my husband can hear me. We moved into our place about three years ago and its lovely, but it’s on a main road and trying to record auditions between the sound of busses and motor bikes was hellish. Now I can do everything more professionally and so I hope it will mean I get more work. But if nothing else, I absolutely love my little booth and spend a large chunk of the day in there just recording stuff and enjoying the serenity.
What’s your favourite audiobook voiceover?
Hands down, it’s Blair Brown narrating City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. I could rhapsodise for days about Blair Brown’s voice. It’s like smoky honey poured over a martini on a warm summer’s evening. I love her.
I’m also a big fan of Caroline Lee who narrates Liane Moriarty’s novels. Great energy and she has her own sweet style.
Any advice for those wanting to do voiceovers?
Yes! It helps if it’s a passion – something you’re doing because you really love playing around with your voice. Acting training helps a lot, but many people come into this industry via radio too. Some come into it via singing like I did. Record yourself on your phone reading loads of different kinds of material from commercial to narrative to documentary. Listen back and then record it again and make it better or different. Go to a reputable voiceover teacher to get lessons. Get a job in community radio or somewhere that gives you experience in how a studio works. Read aloud ALL THE TIME!! When you get a script, whether short or long, give it your full attention and make sure you understand it – both the words and the message. Take direction with grace and pay attention to what the producer or engineer wants from you. And practice, then practice some more. Practice is everything.