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Ollie McGill

Ollie McGill may be better known as keyboard player,  backing vocalist and co-writer with The Cat Empire.  However his compositions outside of this world class band are fast becoming noticed around the world.

I have been asked to write a bio. It is easy to list my history "I started playing piano at the tender age of 2 and my mother was amazed at my ability to tell that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Baa Baa Black Sheep are the same song… etc." and sure, my journey has been quite fascinating in my own eyes, focusing really hard on developing my piano chops, studying with the likes of Steve Sedergreen and performing in various bands including the Jazz Cat (a band which brought many members of The Cat Empire together), I just can't bring myself to write another typical bio. I feel more like talking about what music means to me now.

Music is exciting. It takes you in directions that you might never have expected, years, or even months before. I am now as much focused on writing music for major corporations such as Melbourne Metro, as I am on recording strange atmospheric jazz recordings with a poet and a slightly broken synthesiser”

Sometimes I enter a room with a fellow songwriter and come out with a song that could be a heartfelt ballad or a pumping electro track. Sometimes I thrive on performing an hour long piano improvisation or spend hours, if not days, labouring on a simple piece of folk music written on a guitar. In recent times, I have been really excited about exploring some of the instruments that I grew up playing - saxophone, harmonica, bass, drums - and even more than that, trying new instruments that I have never played before, like mandolin or even violin. Some of the best music arises from the powers of limitation.

All in all, every musical experience that I have ever had has led to where I am now. I may have felt like the guitar lessons that I took weren't worthwhile when in the following year, I was led to what I thought of as my 'calling' - jazz piano - or, that those jingles that I wrote for my Dad's advertising company were irrelevant to the life I had for the next 10 years on the road with The Cat Empire. Now I am a father and a husband and I can truly see that I am blessed with the life that I lead and every experience I ever have presents itself in my music, which is forever growing.

- Ollie McGill
In 2012 Ollie composed, ‘Dumb Ways To Die’, for a Melbourne Metro trains safety campaign which has become an online viral success. It has now clocked up over 129 million views on Youtube and in its radio form has won the Golden Siren award at the Commercial Radio Australia awards for radio advertising. Aimed at making young people more careful around trains the video swept the floor at the prestigious annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. It won five Grand Prix awards, 18 Gold Lions, three Silver Lions and two Bronze Lions, making it the single most awarded advertising campaign for the festival to date.


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