Doja Cat: A Hot Pink Life

How are talented, free-spirted, self-made sex goddesses built? Let’s find out. Hip-hop princess Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with within the music industry. More widely known as Doja Cat, the 24-year-old has been producing some of the most popular hits of the last year. As a self-labeled Doja stan, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of her life and give insight into how this woman got to where she is now: interviewing with Nardwuar, live streaming while eating hot cheetos before the MTV music awards, and absolutely dominating the world of hip-hop. 

Born in LA in 1995 to a Jewish-American painter mother, Amala was a sporty kid, who spent her days skating, dancing, surfing, and hopping in and out of unnamed chat rooms. Her father, a South African actor, wasn’t a big part of her life. She lived in an ashram and practiced Hinduism for four years in New York before moving back to LA. 

At the age of 16, she dropped out of high school, taught herself how to use GarageBand, and started putting music up on SoundCloud. She cites D’Angelo and Rihanna as her big musical influences of the time. She said about the start of her music career,“I always knew I wanted to entertain people my whole life, I just didn't know exactly how I was going to do it until I was 16 and everything blossomed on SoundCloud.” Singing has been her first and only job. Amala slowly learned to operate a more complicated music recording system, Logic, at the suggestion of an ex-boyfriend. This shot her production skills to the next level and led to her being signed to RCA Records in 2014.

After putting out a few songs, Amala started going by the stage name "Doja Cat" because of her love for cats and marijuana. She said in an interview, "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.”

It wasn’t until 2018 that Doja Cat shot to fame when her music video “MOOO!” went viral. About the success of her self-produced project she said, “Before 'MOOO!' there were times when I was definitely at a low. I wasn't getting that much support from people around me.” Soon after the release of that video, her first album, Amala, came out, which is mostly a collection of singles she had previously released.

In November 2019, Doja Cat released her newest album Hot Pink. “Say So” became her first No. 1 Billboard hit. 

Since the start of 2020, Doja Cat has received nominations for two BET Awards and four MTV awards. She said about her craft: “I guess passion keeps me going.” And the passion must still be there, as Doja continues to put out more and more hot tracks every year.

Doja Cat encourages her fans to be who you want to be, and she certainly takes her own advice, as you might be able to tell if you’ve seen any of her iconic Instagram Live sessions. From the wise words of Doja Cat: “If your only intent is to be seen, you'll never be seen. If your intent is to be happy, comfortable, genuine, and true in craft, you're destined to be noticed.”

Doja Cat, keep on doing your thing. It’s working.