It’s a great time for Doja Cat. Known for her catchy songs with witty and eccentric lines, she has developed a reputation as one of the world’s most exciting new talents. Her star only grows with each musical release and shows that she’ll be around for a while.
As she continues to carve out a space for herself in the music industry, let’s learn more about the pop newcomer — starting with her real name.
Doja Cat’s early life
On Oct. 21, 1995, Doja Cat was born as Amalaratna Zandile Dlamini to a Jewish American mother and South African father. She was raised in Los Angeles primarily by her mom, explaining to The Fader in 2019 that her dad was distant throughout her life — though she claimed he does comment on her social media posts.
“I don’t hold grudges against him or anything in any way, but obviously it’s a little weird,” she explained to the outlet.
Early on, Doja Cat developed a love for music and dance. By age 16, she had dropped out of school to pursue a career in the industry. She started recording music and got her first taste of success with a song titled “So High.” The track was a sleeper hit upon its 2012 release but later took off on SoundCloud.
As far as her stage name, Doja Cat says it stems from her love of marijuana and cats.
“I was heavily addicted to weed and weed culture, so when I began rapping I thought of the word ‘doja’ and how it sounds like a girl’s name,” she explained to Dazed in August 2018.
Doja Cat’s career
After “So High,” Doja Cat inked a deal with RCA Records. She went on to release her debut EP, Purrr! (2014) on the label, which included “So High” as well as the minor hit “No Police.” She followed up with a string of other singles and eventually her debut album, Amala, but it wasn’t until 2018’s “Mooo!” that Doja Cat really caught the world’s eye.
The song quickly took over social media and drew praise from the likes of Chris Brown, Chance The Rapper, and others. They loved it not just for the melody but the accompanying video where Doja Cat dances in a cow costume, eats a burger, and stuffs her nose with fries.
“It’s the perfect time for people to be colorful and animated,” she told ELLE in an interview. “We need people who are open to doing something with theme, something with a cartoonish twist. [Rap] is very one dimensional right now.”
“Mooo!” served as the launching pad for Doja Cat’s career
Capitalizing on the success of the song, Doja Cat released a deluxe edition of her debut album, Amala, in 2019, which also featured the popular tracks “Juicy” and “Tia Tamera.”
Her second album, Hot Pink, came out later in the year and featured her biggest song to date: “Say So.” A remix featuring Nicki Minaj came out in May and eventually hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.