Doja Cat is minutes away from her first public performance since undergoing tonsil surgery, and the nerves surrounding an on-stage return seem to be the last thing on her mind.
“I’m washed out,” Doja jokes with PEOPLE as a neon JBL sign blurs her screen. “I look like the alien from Cocoon.”
Though Doja Cat had to back out from The Weeknd’s international tour, the newly-minted Grammy winner is still in the midst of her greatest season yet—whether she’s willing to open up about it or not.
The “Kiss Me More” artist spoke to People somewhat regarding her new album.
“I don’t know, man. I cannot say. I’m not gonna tell you! I’m not gonna tell anybody anything. I don’t care how much people beg and plead,” she explained.
One of her more direct answers came when sharing what her fans can take away from this moment of hers. “I want my fans to feel like they can—it’s cliché, but I want them to feel like they can do whatever makes them happy,” Doja shared. “I want them to express themselves the way that they want to. I want them to never be afraid to take a risk when it comes to music or fashion or, you know, being creative. That’s just like everybody’s message in a way, but I really do believe that I want my fans to feel that way.”
Months after having to pull out of her opening slot on The Weeknd’s After Hours Till Dawn Tour this summer as a result of an abscess in her left tonsil, Doja is ready to perform again at the event’s JBL Live show. She’s practically totally healed too as she works on her new music, she tells PEOPLE, and has a newfound love for Velveeta shells after her surgeries. But her love for performing, on this night for some of Doja’s biggest fans, surpasses that of even the most digestible pasta.
As you wait for something new, watch the video for Doja’s Grammy-winning collaboration featuring SZA.