Last week, the internet reached the undisputed conclusion that Doja Cat’s “Mooo,” a song about being a cow, was the song of summer.
But what inspired the 22-year-old to write a song about being a cow? Well, in an interview with INSIDER, the singer said the secret sauce was all in her outfit.
“What mostly inspired the song — to be honest — the whole song is based off of the outfit that I was wearing. I thought it was such a ridiculous outfit, with the cowhide and everything,” she explained.
Although her outfit inspired the song, it actually became problematic in the songwriting process, she said.
“Because the sleeves were getting in the way of me trying to hit the keys and it’s so distracting, I couldn’t not write about cows,” she said.
Doja Cat, born Amala Zandile Dlamini, explained that she typically needs to be in some sort of costume to get her songwriting going.
“For some reason, I can’t make music if I’m not dressed up and I have to be in costume,” she said. “I have to look sickening or else I can’t do it, which sucks in its own way, but it’s also just a lot of fun for me. It inspires me.”
The song, which is an objective bop, actually provided a mental break for her.
“For the last week or two before that, I was making songs back-to-back about more serious subjects, not politics, but love and sex and things like that. Kinda moodier music,” she said. “It’s kinda like my break from that was ‘Mooo,’ for sure.”
The Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and rapper added that something else inspired the viral hit: A superfan named squishycowfeet who often pops in when she goes live on Instagram to make impassioned defenses of cows.
“I don’t even know what squishy looks like, how old they are, where they’re from, anything,” she said. “I know nothing about them. Squishy would come and make jokes about how my culture is not your meme.”
Squishy, Doja said, inspired her to set the music video’s description to “My hide is not your prom dress,” in reference to the backlash Keziah Daum faced when she wore a traditional Chinese dress to her school’s prom earlier this year.
Still, she said that her outfit was her main focus.
And while she didn’t expect that a music video that she shot in her room using Photobooth turned into a viral sensation would take off, she’s not surprised.
“It’s so absurd that people have paid attention to it for some reason, whether they like it or not,” she said. “Anyone can write a song about love and breakups, anyone can write a song about that. But I don’t know how many people can write a song about cows.”