Performing live or even lip-syncing is no easy task. While many may think that all artists intrinsically have the ability to entertain a crowd, the reality is that very few are good at it. It’s something you’re naturally born with or that you develop through years of performing. We like to think that like any other music-related ability, live entertainment is something you can acquire with enough spirit of observation and dedication. Granted Covid has messed things up for almost every single entertainer but we’re seeing evident progress from some. One such artist is Doja Cat. She’s impressed us with her consistency and determination to become seriously good at this. If in the beginning her stage presence seemed to aim for that of a soul-pop singer, now we see superstar potential in this woman. Read, watch, and study!
7. So High – 2014
This is Doja’s oldest surviving record as far as we could search. The performance dates back to September 2014. You will notice she was the epitome of a very feminine-looking performer. Long hair, classy dress, light makeup. A very retro-ish aesthetic paired with soulful, suave, high-pitched vocals. Think if Billie Eilish did R&B. You will also observe she is mostly smiling the entire performance albeit the song being about drugs. Worth mentioning she was only one month away from turning 19 in this video.
6. Mooo! – 2018
My oh my what do we see here? Doja Cat has obviously done some serious reinventing between 2014 and 2018: outrageous outfit with obvious intentional scandalous elements and vulgarity, platinum-dyed hair, long nails, red shades, fishnets. Heck! Everything is new and vastly different than who she showed the public to be in 2014. Her sound and voice changed extremely as well. She went from pop-ish tones to soft rap with a sort of yell-singing. She is much more lively, confident, pokes her tongue out, owns who she is. We notice that halfway through the song her vocals are not as much under control and she got tired and feels out of breath. In the third part of the performance, she also becomes her own hype-woman and starts interacting with the crowd. If anything, she started resembling more an MC than a singer.
5. Concert at Bitterzoet Amsterdam – March 2019
It is pretty incredible that YouTube is letting this survive for now online in its entirety. This was Doja at the start of her bursting fame post the viral Mooo! Aesthetically, something very interesting happened: she ditched the (for the lack of a better word) “ratchet” look for a more toned-down version but nothing similar to 2014. She was starting to find her unique brand image. The long hair is gone, the shorts stayed, we got a hat, and the chains reminding us she’s way more aggressive now than when she first came on the scene years ago. She also brought the singing back but now heavily immersed in Soft Rap in almost every song. Her voice control is superior to her past shows and she’s flawlessly leading the crowd as well.
4. Mooo! – June 2019
A few months later the same year, she’s still tweaking and finding herself visually and vocally. The hat went away, the hair is longer, a more feminine vibe to her overall fashion choice, the shorts turned to pants, and her voice got stronger now bordering between singing and pushing her voice to the limits of her comfort zone to where she’s basically shouting her record. If you can do that and still sound good, you’re evolving.
3. Juicy – Sept 2019
She’s almost there! She toned down the chains, brought a heavy feminine element back, the skirt, added a high-class touch to her look, the denim jacket, and most importantly, she started playing with colors in a most overt way! That lime-green outfit paired with bright pink sneakers??? Bold AF. She traded the in-your-face hair from 2018 for the neon colors that transmit the exact same message: I am here to stir sh*t up. Impressive. Vocally she somehow developed the ability to shout-sing her songs as she kept doing previously but now with absolute, complete, and utter control over every single syllable that comes out of her mouth.
2. Streets – March 2020
Looking very much like a hip-hop chick or at the very minimum like Christina Aguilera during her Dirty era. Vocally this is not one of her best shows out there but she distinctly separated the Rap from the singing this time. Seems by now that she’s into switching her brand image rather often but never going back to the either 2014 or 2018 look.
1. Say So – 63rd GRAMMYs March 2021
Albeit being a themed performance, we see heavy choreography, great ability to stay in sync with the beat and the dance team, beautiful facial expressions, great vocal rendition, surprise elements throughout the number, both strong Rap sequence and powerful singing, and quite honestly, this is all flawless. This was one of the, if not the best Grammy performance of this year. It almost feels like she pulled all of her past experiences together to gift us THIS! She’s giving off strong Beyoncè-in-her-prime vibes.
If you compare the 2014 performance with the 2021 Grammy number, it is pretty much an entirely different person. Doja Cat’s voice, style, mannerism changed. She changed. She went through an entire rollercoaster of moods and appearances. From relatively shy to overtly dramatic and to finally very balanced, this is how your own trajectory will look like as well. All artists start off rather timid. Then they feel as if they must prove the world they deserve attention and go crazy. Then they realize they’re doing too much and finally embrace who they truly are.
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