It should be noted that this is not a perfect history of Camui Gackt, and is more about his career than his life. But I wanted there to be some info about him, as his work means so much to me, and so many other fans of the japanese rock scene. More in depth nodes about the man are welcomed and encouraged.
Camui Gackt first made his ascent into fame in the japanese music scene as the vocalist of the visual rock band "Malice Mizer". He captivated audiences with not only his beautiful androgynous features and intense dramatic stage presence, but also his truly unique voice and remarkeable vocal skill. With him as their front man, Malice Mizer broke through into major success with their album, "Merveilles".
In 1999, much to the surprise and dismay of their huge fan base (myself included at the time), Gackt left the band and embarked upon a solo career. His first release,
"Mizerable", was a great success which placed very high on the charts right away.
In my opinion, the song "Mizerable" was a wise choice to begin his solo career with. "Mizerable" had the same sort of melodic violin rock sound that fans of Malice Mizer was familiar with. By beginning with such a song, he provided an easier transition for his fanbase. His next release, "Vanilla", tested the foundation created by this initial success, by presenting a complete departure from what his fans were familiar with. "Vanilla" was an upbeat ska number with a horn section. Luckily for Gackt, his fans accepted this new approach with open arms, and his monumental success continued. He had secured his own identity, independent of the band that had brought him into the public eye.
After the release of two more singles: "Mirror", a socially commenting driving rock number with guitar and violin, and "Oasis", a poetic song with a unique electronic feel, Gackt released his first full album, "Mars". "Mars" met with the same success that was to be expected. "Mars" featured truly excellent production values, and stellar performances from all the musicians involved. Gackt's unique musical identity could be heard throughout. All of the songs carried a very powerful emotional resonance to them, and the album presented a wide range of feelings and expression. There were emotionally wrenching songs like "emu ~for my dear~", a song about Kami, the drummer from Malice Mizer who had recently died of a sudden anuerism, and "Kono Dare mo Inai Heya de", a song about his experience in solitary confinement in a mental ward as a child. On the other side of the spectrum were cheery and playful songs like the aforementioned "Vanilla", and "U+K" (which, in the live performance, featured Gackt joined by an ensemble of dancers in animal costumes.)
Since his seemingly instant success, Gackt has released several more singles, and another full album titled "Rebirth". Those of you interested in his work can find it at sites such as www.cdjapan.co.jp and www.yesasia.com. I personally recommend starting with the album "Mars" for those interested in his work. The Overseas (as in Hong Kong) versions of his albums can be found at www.yesasia.com for substantially less than their japanese counterparts.
Stylistically Gackt strikes me as a shape shifter. With each single he seems to grow and change and surprise me. His most recent releases present what seems to be a more positive overall outlook than his earlier work. In the beginning he had a reputation for being a very depressed, withdrawn, high stress individual. Perhaps this trend is a reflection of the direction his life is taking. I certainly hope so.