Gackt's musical education began at age three, when his parents initiated his classical piano education, which he grew tired of four years later. It would take another four years until his parents allowed him to quit. Gackt is known for being very competitive, and when he learned that a friend was also learning piano it led to Gackt taking up the piano again so he could be better. Having only listened to classical and enka while growing up, Gackt didn't become interested in rock music until he was a young adult. He cites Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" as being particularly inspiring, and went on to master modern percussion and guitar.
In 1995, Gackt joined Malice Mizer as the group's vocalist, lyricist and pianist. He first met Mana, one of the leaders of the band, for dinner, but according to Gackt, didn't have much of a conversation. The next day, they met again to allow Gackt to meet the other members where discussion of the band was had. Gackt was pleased with how all of the members were diverse, yet still worked well together. Eventually, he joined them as their new vocalist.
Fan base and record sales grew substantially over the following years and the band became known for its distinct Visual Kei theme with elaborate costumes, on-stage scenery, and theatrics. The members became very close friends with each other and were often seen joking around and laughing together. Gackt especially became very good friends with Kami, the drummer of the group. Their popularity grew and the band released several singles along with two albums with Gackt, entitled Voyage ~Sans Retour~ and Merveilles- the latter becoming the most popular. Gackt mostly wrote the lyrics for the songs and occasionally created the music. The only song in which he did both is "Le Ciel", the 5th song in the Merveilles album. At the end of 1998, they performed at Yokohama Arena with a spectacular live show wearing various costumes. The same year, they were also signed to their own radio show, which they used to discuss matters of the world, music, and other varied topics.
At the immediate start of 1999, Gackt left Malice Mizer, with the official statement from the band for his departure being 'musical differences'. A few years later, Gackt published an autobiography entitled Jihaku (Confessions) claiming that he was asked by the band to leave because the other members had become blinded by money and no longer cared about band activities. However, in an interview with the band shortly after Gackt left, the other members claimed that he had disappeared during their hiatus where no one could get in touch with him, later emerging as a solo artist unbeknownst to his band mates.
Five months after Gackt's departure, their drummer Kami died of a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Gackt was unable to attend the funeral, but later dedicated two songs to his memory ("U+K" and "Emu ~For my dear~") and visits his grave each year, also visiting his parents.
Since January 7, 2007, Gackt has been playing the warlord Uesugi Kenshin in the NHK drama Fūrinkazan. Gackt's single "Returner ~Yami no Shuen~", was released on June 20, 2007, and was the first in his career (both solo and in a band) to reach the number one spot on the Japanese Oricon charts. Gackt has provided the voice for Malthazar in the Japanese release of the film Arthur and the Minimoys and in October 2007, his back catalog became available in the iTunes Store.
On December 19, Gackt released an album titled 0079-0088. It contains eight tracks, which had either previously been used on the soundtracks of the Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam movies or were covers of earlier songs from the Gundam franchise. It was created as a tribute to the creator of Gundam, Yoshiyuki Tomino, for his birthday. Gackt recently performed on the 58th Kōhaku Uta Gassen, the annual New Year's Eve special by NHK. and is currently recording new material. He has stated in an interview that he may decide to retire in 2010 depending upon how he is feeling at the time and the state of his health.
An excerpt from Gackt's comment on his official website:
The product was originally intended to be released in June 2008, but although Gackt existed as a model for the Vocaloid, it lacked an illustrated avatar to match the previous Vocaloids. Popular manga author Kentarō Miura, famous for his dark fantasy epic Berserk, was approached. Due to Miura's affection for Nico Nico Douga, he agreed to offer his services as character designer for free. As a fan of Berserk, Gackt was more than happy with this arrangement, and requested Miura's sketches be faxed to him as well as the developers, even though he was on location for the filming of Guy Moshe's Bunraku. Gackpoid is scheduled for release in late July 2008.
Appearances as Uesugi Kenshin
It has been recently announced that Gackt will reprise his Furin Kazan television role of Japanese warlord Uesugi Kenshin at Joetsu city's Great Kenshin Festival for the second year in a row on August 23, 2008.