Though she is too mortified to sing it now, Doja says she wrote her first song at age eight for her mom. “I don’t remember how it goes… I mean I kind of do, but I’m definitely not telling anybody what the lyrics were,” she laughs. “I’m kind of ashamed. I don’t know why, I guess it’s just too mushy for me.” The singer also recalls her first gig at a “very small” bar in Echo Park where she remembers not being able to breathe as she struggled to get the words out while wearing a “horrendous” outfit.
Undeterred, after high school Doja spent most of her time searching around for cool beats and trying to find her voice in her room while fiddling on a MIDI keyboard a boyfriend sent. “I was like, let me just stream this, maybe there’s some cool people on the internet who want to see what I’m doing,” she says. That inspired a week-long spree during which Doja made one new song a day, which was enough for an album and just the fuel she needed to keep going with her music.
“The only challenge I ever had was addiction,” the “So High” singer says of the obstacles in her way at the beginning. “Alcohol and cigarettes were my thing and weed was my thing. I would smoke and smoke and smoke and I’d be chain-smoking and it would mess with my voice, it would mess with my energy.”
Now, of course, she has a No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit under her belt with the Nicki Minaj remix of TikTok viral smash “Say So,” whose ascent to the top she celebrated with a cul de sac dance party with dozens of friends. “For the next project, it will be similar to [2019 sophomore album] Hot Pink, in the sense that each of the songs are very different from each other,” she says of her follow-up, adding that it will be more “consistent” than her breakthrough collection. “Unbelievable,” is the only word she has for it.