Doja Cat, born Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini on October 21, 1995, is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, and record producer who has gained significant attention for her versatile musical style and captivating performances. Raised in Los Angeles, she began her career by making and releasing music on SoundCloud, where her song “So High” caught the attention of Kemosabe and RCA Records. This led to a joint record deal and she began her thriving professional journey.
Throughout her career, Doja Cat has released numerous hits and demonstrated her ability to blend various genres, such as pop, R&B, rap, and electronic music. From her debut single “So High” to her recent album “Planet Her,” her music showcases her distinct voice, witty lyrics, and dynamic songwriting talents. This has earned her a dedicated fanbase and critical acclaim from audiences and industry professionals.
In addition to her musical prowess, Doja Cat has become a prominent figure in the fashion world, often showcasing eclectic styles in her music videos and public appearances. Her unique aesthetic and undeniable talent has solidified her status as one of the most innovative and promising artists in the contemporary music scene.
Early Life and Background
Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini
Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, known professionally as Doja Cat, was born in Los Angeles, California, on October 21, 1995. Raised in the city, she began making and releasing music on SoundCloud as a teenager. Her talents as a musician were apparent from a young age: Doja Cat studied piano and took tap, ballet, and jazz dance lessons.
Doja Cat’s musical inspirations include:
- Rye: An artist she has cited as an influence on her music.
- Alice Coltrane: A pianist and harpist she admires.
Influence of Parents
Doja Cat’s parents, Dumisani Dlamini and Deborah Elizabeth Sawyer, played a major role in shaping her pursuit of a career in the arts. Her father, Dumisani Dlamini, is a South African actor, while her mother, Deborah Elizabeth Sawyer, is a painter. Born to a creative family, Doja Cat moved to New York for a few years before returning to California with her mother.
Her diverse family background, consisting of South African and American ancestry, contributes to her unique style and sound as an artist. With the support of her parents and the influences they provided, Doja Cat has risen to prominence in the music industry and continues to captivate audiences with her distinct blend of rap, pop, and R&B.
Beginnings on Soundcloud and YouTube
Doja Cat began her music career by self-recording songs on her computer and sharing them on platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube. In 2014, she released her debut EP, titled “Purrr!” under Kemosabe Records. This EP helped establish her as a rising artist in the music industry. As she continued to grow her online presence, she began to experiment with various music genres like hip-hop, indie rock, R&B, and electronic music.
Breakthrough and Viral Successes
Doja Cat’s breakthrough moment came in 2018 with the release of her single “Mooo!” The song, accompanied by a creative and quirky music video, went viral on social media platforms, especially TikTok, and sparked widespread interest in her music. Following this success, Doja Cat released her second studio album, “Hot Pink,” in 2019. The album featured hit singles like “Say So,” which became a TikTok sensation and climbed the charts, further cementing her status as a viral artist.
Collaborations and Chart Performances
Doja Cat’s collaborative efforts have contributed to her growing popularity and chart performances. She has worked with various artists like SZA and Nicki Minaj. In 2020, she released the remix of “Say So” featuring Minaj, which helped the song peak at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In 2021, Doja Cat released her third studio album, “Planet Her.” The album contains numerous collaborations, including the hit single “Kiss Me More” featuring SZA. Another popular track from the album, “Need to Know,” gained traction on TikTok and other social media platforms.
Throughout her career, Doja Cat has received multiple awards and recognitions, including the iHeartRadio Music Award for Best New Pop Artist in 2021 and the MTV Video Music Award for Push Best New Artist in 2020. She was also named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in the music category in 2020.
Artistic Style and Influences
Doja Cat’s genre-bending style incorporates elements of R&B, hip hop, pop, rap, and psychedelic music. Her unique sound and versatile capabilities as a rapper, singer-songwriter, and record producer have contributed to her rise to fame. She is known for her catchy hooks and playfulness in her lyrics, which is evident in her viral hit “Moo.”
Visual Style and Makeup
In addition to her music, Doja Cat is also known for her futuristic fashion and avant-garde makeup looks. She often pushes the boundaries of style by embracing out-of-this-world concepts and themes in her performances and appearances. Her makeup style is bold, colorful, and imaginative, helping to create an unforgettable visual experience for her audience.
Inspirations and Cultural Influences
Doja Cat’s artistic influences span various genres and artists. She has cited Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera as inspirations, as well as Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes, and Drake. Her visual style encompasses inspiration from artists like Salvador Dalí and Steven Parker Jackson.
In addition to the world of music and art, Doja Cat has also incorporated elements of her own cultural background into her work. As a dancer, she showcased her skills in the traditional Indian dance form Bharatanatyam in the music video for her song “Say So”, demonstrating her appreciation for the art and her connection to her diverse heritage.
Controversies and Criticisms
Dr. Luke and Kemosabe Records
Doja Cat has faced criticism for her affiliation with Dr. Luke, a controversial music producer who has faced allegations of sexual assault, and his label, Kemosabe Records. Doja Cat’s 2019 hit song “Say So” was produced by Dr. Luke under the pseudonym Tyson Trax, and her association with him has led to concerns about the ethics of supporting her music. Despite the allegations against Dr. Luke, Kemosabe Records remains a part of Sony Music.
Music Video Controversies
In addition to her association with Dr. Luke, Doja Cat has faced backlash for some of her music videos. She has been accused of participating in racist conversations online and was criticized for a song that appeared to mock victims of police brutality. Moreover, she has faced allegations of using homophobic language in past tweets, which contributed to the controversies surrounding her public image. Doja Cat has publicly addressed these controversies on multiple occasions, apologizing and denying some of the claims made against her.
Doja Cat has released three studio albums during her career:
- Amala (2018): Doja Cat’s debut studio album, released on March 30, 2018, with a deluxe version available on March 1, 2019. The album features singles such as “So High” and “Candy.”
- Hot Pink (2019): Her second studio album, released on November 7, 2019. This album includes popular tracks like “Juicy” featuring Tyga, “Say So,” and “Cyber Sex.”
- Planet Her (2021): The third album, released on June 25, 2021. It features hit singles “Kiss Me More” with SZA, “Need to Know,” and “Woman.”
Singles and Key Tracks
Doja Cat has several notable singles and key tracks in her discography, showcasing her versatility as an artist:
- Mooo!: Released in 2018, this viral single gained significant attention on YouTube and platforms like Instagram and TikTok. The fun, quirky song showcases Doja Cat’s humorous side and creativity.
- Juicy: A standout track featuring Tyga from her second album, Hot Pink, released in 2019. “Juicy” is a catchy, upbeat song with a playful music video showcasing her rapping and singing skills.
- Say So: Released on January 28, 2020, this single from Hot Pink became Doja Cat’s first Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The catchy, disco-influenced song has a memorable chorus and further established her as a rising star in the music industry.
Some additional tracks that deserve mention include:
- Candy: An R&B track from her 2018 album, Amala, that became popular on TikTok, gaining her new fans and leading to several viral dances.
- So High: This single from Amala showcases her smooth vocals over a laid-back, hazy beat, exemplifying her early style.
- Rules: Another standout from Hot Pink, “Rules” demonstrates Doja Cat’s ability to mix rap and R&B with her distinct flow and catchy hooks.
Overall, Doja Cat’s discography showcases her growth as an artist and versatility in genres such as R&B, hip-hop, pop, and electronic music.
Fashion and Appearances
Brett Alan Nelson and Rihanna
Doja Cat has become a fashion icon, working with renowned stylist Brett Alan Nelson, who is known for dressing stars like Rihanna. Nelson’s influence is apparent in Doja Cat’s bold and daring style, which often features eye-catching designs and unique details. For example, Doja Cat has been seen wearing provocative outfits in her music videos, such as the one with red body paint in “Hellmouth.”
Crystals and Fashion Shows
Doja Cat’s love for crystals has been incorporated into her fashion choices, making appearances in various events and fashion shows. She has been known to wear outfits adorned with crystals, adding a touch of glamour to her looks. In Paris Fashion Week, Doja Cat turned heads when she attended the Valentino Haute Couture show in a stunning outfit featuring crystals.
Award Show Performances
Doja Cat’s memorable style carries over to her award show performances, where she’s not afraid to make bold choices. At the 2019 BET Awards, she played up her stage name by wearing a feline-inspired outfit. In 2020, she graced the stage of the Billboard Music Awards, channeling Old Hollywood in a Jessica Rabbit-inspired red lace gown with double thigh-slits and a bustier-style top. Additionally, Doja Cat wore a slinky latex gown and matching gloves to the 2023 Grammys, showcasing her daring approach to fashion.
Doja Cat is set to release a highly anticipated album, titled “First of All.” The news of the upcoming album has been circulating amongst fans and media.
As a successful rapper-singer, Doja Cat plans to release several singles that will act as stand-alone pieces, disconnected from the forthcoming project. In doing so, she emphasizes her desire to continue having fun with her music and to not be restricted by the opinions of others.
Details about the album remain largely under wraps. However, glimpsing into Doja Cat’s creative process and her previous works, fans can expect a fusion of pop-rap and captivating lyrics that have been the trademark of her musical journey. In anticipation of the upcoming release, followers eagerly await more information and for the singer to debut the first singles from “First of All.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Doja Cat biracial?
Yes, Doja Cat is biracial. Her father, Dumisani Dlamini, is a South African actor, and her mother, Deborah Elizabeth Sawyer, is an American painter and Jewish.
What is her annual income?
It is not publicly disclosed how much Doja Cat makes annually. However, her net worth is estimated to be around $4 million.
When did she start her career?
Doja Cat began her music career in 2013, when she released her debut single “So High” on SoundCloud. She gained recognition in 2018, after her song “Mooo!” went viral on social media.
What are her popular songs?
Some of Doja Cat’s popular songs include “Kiss Me More,” “Say So,” “Streets,” “Mooo!,” “Boss Bitch,” “Tia Tamera,” “Juicy,” and “Need to Know.” Her music often blends various genres, such as R&B, pop, hip hop, and electronic music.
Has she won any awards?
Yes, Doja Cat has won several awards, including two American Music Awards, an MTV Video Music Award, and multiple Billboard Music Awards. In addition, she has received multiple Grammy Award nominations.
What is her real name?
Doja Cat’s real name is Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini.