The Reign of Doja Cat on TikTok
By: Nadine Yaghnam
TikTok is changing the music scene and, in my opinion, quite drastically. Under the two-year reign of TikTok’s social media craze, it has become a marketing tactic, digitally used to support music artists’ path to virality and fame.
In most recent years, we saw the biggest hits in music accompany a TikTok dance challenge, which uncontrollably dominate millions of FYPs. All it takes is 15 seconds of a catchy verse for users to to dance or lip-sync to for it to become a trend.
One artist that is no stranger to TikTok’s speedy deed to stardom is pop sensation, Doja Cat. Time and time again, TikTok has proven to work in the star’s favour. Almost eight of her songs, accompanied with challenges, dances and more have gone viral. This even landed her her first No.1 record on global charts.
Back in early 2020, Doja Cat’s hit, ‘Say So,’ gained unprecedented traction on TikTok, which truly resulted in a turning point for the artist’s career. Only a month after the release of the song, Haley Sharpe, a TikTok user, debuted a short dance choreography to the song’s popular chorus. In no time, and thanks to TikTok’s unmatched algorithm, almost 20 million clips are now attached to the “Say So” chorus. The song conquered the social media app, making it one of the most popular dances to date. The “Say So” dance challenge ultimately made TikTok the dance hub it is today.
In a brilliantly executed strategic move, Doja Cat seized the opportunity to pay homage to her song’s TikTok fame. The popular dance was performed by Doja in her official music video, released in February of 2020 and during her live performances.
A year later, Doja Cat one-upped herself when another one of her songs, ‘Streets,’ which was accompanied by a racy challenge, dominated the popular app! The #SilhouetteChallenge was ignited after Elise Neil posted a video where she incorporates raw and natural footage of herself in front of a doorway, followed by a transition into her faded silhouette with red lights in the background, wearing nothing but lingerie and heels.
After Elise posted a tutorial on how to achieve the effect on her video, millions, including Lizzo and Cardi B, raced to TikTok to post their own take on the sound, and as simple as this, the #SilhouetteChallenge came to be. Although the hit was released on her Hot Pink album, it took one video to turn it into one of TikTok’s biggest trends.
Doja Cat had once again, jumped on the opportunity to pay homage to her success on the app. She released the official music video for “Streets” in March 2021, and performed the #SilhouetteChallenge herself. In the video, she emerges in a shop’s window display, and like the challenge, transitions to her silhouette against the signature red lights when the beat drops. Since its release, the music video amassed over 70 million views on YouTube.
Unlike many artists, Doja Cat's success on TikTok is one that is purely organic and genius. She does not force trends onto her fans, but rather allows them to get creative with her music. Being the genius that she is, she later incorporates them into performances, music videos and more.