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Miyavi has the look and ambition of a manga/anime rock star, but he also has songs to back up his flamboyantly presented projects, mixing acoustic pop, blues, and hip-hop elements into his eccentric blend of rock. Miyavi is half Japanese and half Korean, although he grew up in Japan, aspiring to be a soccer player as a kid. His sports career was cut short by an injury at the age of 15, and so he switched to rock music. He debuted on the professional scene at 18, appearing in 1999 as Miyabi, the guitarist and chief songwriter of the visual kei band Dué Le Quartz. The group threw in the towel in 2002, but by the end of the same year Miyavi already had the debut album Gagaku out on the well-known indie label PS Company, and this gloomy and musically bold affair, as well as its follow-up, Galyuu (2003), gained him recognition on the national scene. During that time Miyavi also modeled for fashion brands, including, unsurprisingly, goth ones, starred as himself in the movie Oresama (2004), and was even scheduled to play the U.S., but had to cancel a string of shows in 2004.
Miyavi's maxi single Ashita, Genki ni Naare (2004) topped the indie charts, and in the same year he signed up with Universal, releasing his first major-label single, Rock no Gyakushuu, in October 2004. After releasing the major-label debut LP with the modest name of Miyavizm (2005), he made a radical shift to acoustic pop, displayed on his Myv Pops and Miyaviuta -- Dokusou albums, both issued in 2006, only to return to rock music as a member of the supergroup S.K.I.N., whose lineup also featured Yoshiki Hayashi of X-Japan, Sugizo of Luna Sea, Gackt, and Ju-Ken of Gackt's touring band. S.K.I.N. debuted with a show at the Anime Expo 2007 in Long Beach, CA, and the group remained a strictly live project after that. Miyavi, meanwhile, continued to record: after the remix album 7 Samurai Sessions (2007), the double A-sided single Sakihokoru Hana no You Ni/Kabuki Boiz that debuted at number four on the charts, and a Japan/South Korea tour, he released his fourth major-label album, This Iz the Japanese Kabuki Rock (2008). The subsequent tour in support of this record spanned (in addition to Japan) the Americas, Europe, and Continental Asia. ~ Alexey Eremenko