Doja Cat on Remaking an Iconic ‘Grease’ Song for Pepsi Ad, and How She’ll Bring Both Beauty and ‘Cringe’ to VMAs

Like apparently the rest of the planet, Doja Cat has always had a fondness for the world of the Pink Ladies – ie “Grease”. So it wasn’t as far as it was for the singer, who managed to take on the role of Sandy with “Hot Pink” and sing “You’re the One That I Want” for a Pepsi commercial, his Broadcasting premiere during the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, a show that she also happens to be hosting.

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When asked if she grew up with “Grease”, she says, “I’m shocked that no one has that. I met someone once who didn’t know about Grease. I was really, really shocked. It’s the most iconic movie in the world. And my favorite was Bad Sandy. I find this so clichéd because everyone loves Bad Sandy. But that’s the best Sandy in my opinion. ”(A look at the lyrics for recent hits like“ Kiss Me More ”could suggest that it was a foregone conclusion that Doja Cat made the“ Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee “Wouldn’t favor Sandy.)

Doja Cat told Variety about editing their remake of the movie’s highlight song and retrofitting the costume design for the 1-minute-45-second spot that premiered on YouTube before it was broadcast on VMA. It’s for a new Pepsi brand called the Soda Shop, so the final scene of the commercial inevitably takes place in a store like this, leaving the Rydell High bleachers behind. There are many references to director Randall Kleiser’s film, although the instruction was not to follow the film exactly to the epoch.

“We just went crazy with Bad Sandy,” she says. “We thought, ‘Hey man, put some spikes on it, get black vinyl. We want it to be opulent and shiny and dark and intimidating. ‘ What I really loved about the Original Bad Sandy (as played by Olivia Newton-John) is that it had a very simple look, and I felt like it was better to be more minimal back then. But for the modern age we took Bad Sandy very dramatically, and I think we killed it. I feel like it’s heavy metal, Sandy, when she’s into death metal. “

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She will admit that there was a disagreement about how to deal with the more innocent look that starts the commercial. “We spent a lot of time outfits for a good Sandy,” says Doja Cat. “It got into an argument because I wanted it to be a knit sweater and (discussion about) the knit sweater to get hot, and only because we didn’t want it to be a 50s nuisance. Other than that, I think we absolutely 100% made it, ”she says, showing that she was okay with the blue dress that made the final costume cut. “Good Sandy was beautiful, a very sweet girl, but out of this world sexualized. And I think we got that. But I’m dying for this knitted sweater! ”She repeats with a laugh.

Doja Cat remake 'Grease' scenes for Pepsi Soda Shop commercial

Doja Cat remake ‘Grease’ scenes for Pepsi Soda Shop commercial

Doja Cat says of her director for the spot: “Hannah Lux Davis is fantastic. She really knows how to bring out the beautiful side of everyone. This took a very shiny, beautiful, graceful touch, and she always brings that with her, so we really trusted Hannah in that regard. “

For the track itself, Doja Cat worked with producer Y2K, who is best known for the song “Lalala” by rapper Bbno $. Is there a longer version coming?

“We didn’t do a full-length version,” she says regretfully. “My friend, the producer, begs me to just finish the whole thing. So I’m kind of down for it. It’s a very good idea to do the whole thing. I think people would really enjoy it. Some people will absolutely hate me trying to recreate an iconic moment. I really hope I don’t ruin it for anyone. And I probably am; There are seven billion people on this planet, so not everyone will like it, but most people will like it. “

Singing “You’re the One That I Want” wasn’t necessarily a given, even though she grew up listening to the 1978 No. 1 single, which was originally a duet between John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, but only belongs to Doja Cat in this version.

“This was the toughest song in terms of vocals,” she says. “It was very difficult for me to sing a lot of these parts of the song, and that’s because the music was so carefully made and layered back then. Now it’s like setting a beat, just looping it and then singing about it – and a lot of it is still good today, but it’s not like it was back then. There are a lot of chord changes in the song and it was just nice to try to understand and attack it that way. And I feel like my voice is like… ”She pauses to assess herself. “I will say my voice is fine. Sometimes I have good viewing moments, sometimes I have really bad singing moments. But this was one of those songs that I had to make it on, and I feel like I did. Or I did my best, ”she laughs. “And I feel blessed that Pepsi trusted me to make this song that is so difficult to sing.”

At the MTV VMAs on Sunday evening, Doja Cat will perform a medley of “Been Like This” and “You Right” from her album “Planet Her”, which was remarkably well received on the market this year. She has been on a number of dazzling awards show appearances, from her seedy look at the Grammys to frolicking with aliens in a cornfield at the IHeartRadio Music Awards this summer. Without wanting to spoil too much, she says that her performance this weekend will feature a completely different choreography.

“If I did the same thing every day, I would go mad and that was my whole life,” she says. “I can’t do the same thing every day. I had a really hard time in school (because of that). So that’s the definition of my career. And I wanted to do something that felt very different from what I last did. A lot of what I do is like hip hop dance. And I haven’t fully embraced my breakdancing, popping side yet. But for that I wanted to do contemporary / modern dance. It’s very expressive and beautiful, and visually it’s compelling and just really easy to register on stage. And I wanted to strive for a very ethereal and gentle, but intense way of presenting. So it was really fun to learn. And my back, neck, shoulders, and legs are gone after trying to learn this. But it feels very natural and I’m very excited to see how it will look in the end. “

Is there something or someone she would correlate the style she is aiming with with Sunday night dancing? “Absolutely. One of the artists I look up to the most is FKA Twigs. She’s the absolute perfection when it comes to performing on stage. And I think she’s very into the contemporary dance world. With that ethereal way she has, I feel like she is the epitome of beauty, and I’ve seen it feel like it’s just her taking parts of it (choreography style), but we need more people who can do this beautiful form of contemporary / show modern dance. And so I had it in mind when I wanted to create something beautiful in this sense. “

Given the choreography she has to learn, does she even have time to get nervous about the seemingly less strenuous work of hosting the VMAs?

“The only thing I would be nervous about is people telling me to do anything I don’t want to do. That’s how it is, ”she laughs. “The thing is, when I talk, I wander and I keep going a little too long, and that’s just a quality of character that I have. I hope I don’t do that tonight. But I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’ll just do what I do and wince. That’s basically it. God help us all. “

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