Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini (b. 21 October 1995), a.k.a. Doja Cat, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer who is best known for becoming an internet meme while achieving viral success following the release of her 2018 single “Mooo!”.
Amala Dlamini was born on October 21, 1995, in the Tarzana neighborhood of Los Angeles to a very artistic family. Her father Dumisani Dlamini is of Zulu descent and is a widely recognized South African performer most known for his portrayal of the role of Crocodile in the original Broadway musical Sarafina! and in the subsequent 1992 film adaptation as reported by the New York Times. Her mother, Deborah Sawyer, is a Jewish-American graphic designer and has an elder brother named Raman Dlamini who is 4 years older than her.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Amala states she has had an estranged relationship with her father and on multiple occasions has suggested she has never actually met him. Dumisani in an interview with TimesLIVE has refuted these claims stating he returned to South Africa because he felt homesick and always hoped his family would join him there. He insists he has a healthy relationship with his children and even states Amala’s management tried to actively block his attempts to contact him as they feared losing Amala.
Shortly after her birth, Amala moved to Rye, New York, from Tarzana and lived with her maternal grandmother, a Jewish architect, and painter, for the next five years. Subsequently, Amala and her family moved to the Sai Anantam Ashram, a commune founded by Alice Coltrane, an American Jazz musician, in the mountains of Santa Monica where they became practicing Hindus for over four years as she stated in her interview with Dummy. While living at the commune, Amala used to sing bhajans and started wearing head-covering scarves but eventually found she could not be a child due to these newfound religious constraints as she stated in her interview with Kush Hour.
Soon after, her family moved back to California when they settled down in Oak Park where she would enjoy being a child attending dance lessons, skateboarding, and attending surf camps in Malibu as reported in a Billboard article.
Amala was always interested in dancing and during her stay at the ashram, she learned the classical Indian dance style called Bharatanatyam. Following her departure from the ashram and by virtue of growing up, she moved on to breakdancing. She joined classes and eventually became part of a professional pop-locking troupe that would compete in dance battles throughout Los Angeles while Amala was still attending high school as she stated in her interview with Billboard.
One of Amala’s aunts, who was a vocal coach, gave her singing lessons and helped her audition for Central Los Angeles Area New High School #9, a performing arts high school in Los Angeles though she was never interested in school thanks to her ADHD and eventually dropped out aged 16 as reported by GQ.
Following dropping out of school, Amala stated she lived a hard life often sleeping on floors, scouring YouTube and the internet for the next beat. She eventually began making and releasing music on SoundCloud as a teenager and her song "So High" became so popular that it caught the attention of Kemosabe and RCA Records. They signed Amala under the moniker Doja Cat for a joint record deal when she was only 17 years old which allowed her to release her debut EP Purrr! in 2014.
Described by The Wall Street Journal as a “skilled technical rapper with a strong melodic sense and a bold visual presence”, Amala is widely recognized for creating music videos and songs that go viral on TikTok and Instagram. She is also renowned for her online presence thanks to her absurdly humorous personality.
Doja has earned a number of accolades in her career including winning a Grammy, a Billboard Music Award, five American Music Awards, and three MTV Video Music Awards. She was also listed by Forbes in their “30 under 30” list for 2021.
|Real Name||Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini|
|Stage Name||Doja Cat|
|DOB (Age)||21 October 1995|
|Height||5’3’’ feet (161 cm)|
|Weight||57 Kg (125 Lbs)|
|Net worth||$5-10 Million|
|Address/Residence||Los Angeles, California|
|Total Views||4,988,762,720 views (YouTube), Over 15.5B views (TikTok)|
Following getting noticed on Soundcloud and her subsequent record deal with Kemosabe and RCA Records, Doja released a number of singles and was even signed by OG Maco's label, OGG, temporarily. She eventually took a hiatus stating writer's block and what she felt was a creative limbo as revealed in her interview with Rolling Stone. Doja had her first major commercial release with the song "Roll with Us" in February 2018 following that brief hiatus.
The following month saw her release, "Go to Town", the lead single from her upcoming debut album, and"Candy" the second single from her album, which eventually became a sleeper hit when it featured as the soundtrack for a viral dance challenge on TikTok in 2019. This really helped Doja’s career trajectory as the single went on to chart in Australia, Canada, and the United States, where the song peaked at 86 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned Doja her first solo entry on the chart.
Doja released her self-titled debut album, Amala, on March 30, 2018, which was released through RCA and Kemosabe Records. However, this was largely skipped and ignored by critics and failed to chart in any market. Doja in her Rolling Stones interview claimed this was because she was forced to finish the production of the song without any support from the label and that she was under the influence of marijuana most of the time while recording this album.
Later that year, Doja truly achieved stardom when her self-published, homemade music video for "Mooo!", a novelty song where she fantasizes about being a cow with absurdist lyrics became viral and made her into a meme. This helped it achieve over three million views within the first week as reported by The Verge who also stated that the success of "Mooo!" kickstarted her career again following the largely forgettable debut album and has "irrefutably proved" to her record labels that she was an extremely marketable artist. This directly led to labels starting to pay more attention to her as stated by her in her Rolling Stones interview.
The following year, Doja released Hot Pink in November 2019, which received generally favorable reviews, eventually peaking at number 9 on the Billboard 200. She also released the single "Boss Bitch" which was a part of the soundtrack for the 2020 DC Comics film Birds of Prey. “Say So”, her fourth single from the album, was originally released alongside the album in 2019 but managed to gain wider popularity through the video-sharing platform TikTok after going viral. This virality on TikTok helped "Say So" peak at number 5 on the Hot 100, which earned Doja her first top-ten single and was later deemed the most-streamed song by a female artist in the United States in 2020. Later the same year, a remixed version of "Say So" featuring Nicki Minaj was released which topped the Billboard Hot 100 and earned Doja and Nicki their first number-one single as well as the first-ever rap collaboration by female artists to top the chart. The success of “Hot Pink” and “Say So”, in general, helped Doja get nominated for the Best Female Hip Hop Artist and Video of the Year at the 20th BET Awards and won the MTV Video Music Award for Push Best New Artist where she also performed a medley of “Say So” and “Like That”. She also won the Best New Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards and The New Artist of the Year as well as the Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist at the American Music Awards in 2020.
She subsequently featured on "Motive" from Ariana Grande's album Positions which peaked at number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100, which became the highest debut position Doja had achieved and her second entry in the Top 40.
Doja was nominated for Best New Artist, and "Say So" was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the 63rd Grammy Awards. The same year she also earned a spot on Time’s 100 Next List, which highlighted 100 upcoming and emerging figures in the world.
(source: Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
March 2021 saw Doja reveal Planet Her as the title for her fourth studio album in an interview with V. The following month, she released "Kiss Me More" featuring SZA as the lead single. The song achieved critical acclaim and commercial success and spent a record nineteen consecutive weeks within the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. It also peaked at number 3 on the chart and gave Doja her third top 10 single.
Planet Her received positive reviews and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 and was among the top 5 in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, Norway, and Ireland.
Following the success of Planet Her, Doja won the Top Female R&B Artist at the Billboard Music Awards in 2021 and also won a Best New Pop Artist at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.
Doja has also guest-starred in the second season of the TV series Dave and is currently a brand ambassador for Pepsi, starring in their advertisement wherein she performs a modern rendition of "You're the One That I Want" from the musical film Grease, as part of their collaboration. Billboard reported Doja closed 2021 as the fourth bestselling female artist overall and as the bestselling female R&B and hip-hop artist in the US. Doja starred in Taco Bell’s commercial for their Super Bowl LVI advertisement.
Doja won the 64th Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo Performance for “Kiss Me More”, and was nominated for six other Grammy Awards.
Currently, Doja has complained of signs of burnout. An ill-fated tour in Paraguay subsequently forced Doja to tweet "Everything is dead to me, music is dead, and I'm a fucking fool forever thinking I was made for this... This shit ain't for me so I'm out. Y'all take care." She has reiterated her stance to not release any new music although a new song titled "Vegas" was released in May 2022 as the lead single for the biographical film Elvis by Baz Luhrmann. It still remains uncertain if Doja has actually retired.
As of 2022, Doja Cat is worth $5-10 million according to Celebrity Net Worth. She has mainly earned that impressive number through her music career, brand endorsements, as well as modeling for brands & endorsing their products on her social media posts.
Other than being active on TikTok and Instagram, she is also active on Twitter with 5.4 million followers as of June 2022. She currently has 10.5 million subscribers on YouTube and over 24 million followers on TikTok.
Not a lot is known about Amala’s personal life as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Elle reports Amala was in a brief open relationship with Jawny, an American musician until their break up in February 2020.
Despite not having formally come out or openly stated her sexual orientation, it is rumored that Amala is queer or at least bisexual owing to her statement in an interview with Pride, “you can kinda have sex with anybody,” and her song Naked contains sexual innuendos about her being bisexual.
Doja has opted for a restrained approach to social media after her ascent to stardom. She actively advocates for world leaders to tackle the "devastating hunger crisis" in Africa using her Twitter account. She has also recently tied up with Poshmark, revealing a curated collection of goods that are in line with the singer’s style. Doja even listed 13 personal items on the platform available for purchase with proceeds going towards the Musicians On Call nonprofit.
Doja also became a character in the House Party video game, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to a South African non-profit organization ACFS. Following the murder of Breonna Taylor in 2020, Doja donated $100,000 to a fund set up to honor the life of the ER technician who was shot and killed by police officers in March 2020 as reported by NME.
A. Contrary to popular belief, Haley Sharpe, a Tik Tok artist, invented the original Say So dance. Doja Cat recreated those same dance steps from the Viral Tik Tok dance in her song.
A. Doja Cat is currently unmarried.
A. Doja Cat is biracial as her father is South African (Black) and her mother is Jewish-American (Caucasian).
A. Doja Cat received a lot of backlash in September 2018 for her use of homophobic slurs directed towards rappers Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler the Creator. These tweets were from 2015, and after she was ‘canceled’. She has since apologized and deleted the offensive tweets.
A. 'Stranger Things' star Noah Schnapp shared direct messages Doja Cat had sent him on TikTok.