Kaya is a synthpop Visual Kei singer known for his wide vocal range, flamboyant fashion style (usually involving dresses and other feminine attire), theatrical live shows, and being one of the few openly gay men in the Japanese music industry.
He started off as the vocalist for a few small electro-VK bands before forming Schwarz Stein with musician Hora in 2001. The duo released several singles and an album before breaking up due to Creative Differences in 2004, leading Kaya to start off his solo career in 2006. He was first signed to Midi:Nette, Mana's record label, before moving to Next Media Communications, a major label—then going back to being an indie artist when that label went bankrupt in 2009.
Kaya has performed around the world, touring Europe and South America with several concerts in the United States as well. He's collaborated with several other Visual Kei musicians, and, in 2011, reunited with Hora for a one-time Schwarz Stein reunion concert.
Interestingly, despite performing almost exclusively synthpop, Kaya is heavily connected to the Visual Kei Heavy Metal scene—for example, in 2007, he was part of the "Node of Scherzo" project along with vocalist Kamijo, guitarist Hizaki, and bassist Jasmine You of the symphonic power metal band Versailles and fellow solo singer Juka, former vocalist of the Gothic Metal band Moi dix Mois. Since then, he's performed with and alongside them and other metal groups at numerous events. In 2012, he collaborated with Hizaki again for his single "Vampire Requiem", resulting in "Curse of Rose", the only song in Kaya's repertoire that can be classified on the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness.note
- Glitter (2006, reissued in 2008 as Glitter (Best of Indies))
- Hyakki Yagyou (2007, EP)
- Kaya Meikyoku Series 1: Bonjour! Chanson (2009, EP)
- Queen (2011)
Tropes applying to Kaya and his music:
- Bishōnen: Kaya is one of the few Visual Kei crossdressers who looks good in men's clothes as well as women's clothes. Considering he was a model before becoming a singer, this isn't all that surprising.
- Camp Gay: You really can't get much more camp than Kaya.
- Concept Album:
- All of the songs on Hyakki Yagyou are heavily influenced by traditional Japanese music.
- Kaya Meikyoku Series 1: Bonjour! Chanson is a collection of Japanese-language covers of classic French songs.
- Costume Porn
- Darker and Edgier / Lighter and Softer: His music zig-zags between these two tropes. On one hand, "Rose Jail". On the other, "Chocolat". On one hand, "Masquerade". On the other, "Vampire Requiem". The list goes on.
- Dark Wave: His overall sound and image are too light for him to be fully considered a Dark Wave artist, but he still has quite a few songs that can be classified as this.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: Quite often.
- Epic Rocking: "Silvery Dark" (6:37) and "Silvery Dark (Queen's ver.)" (7:13)
- Everything's Better with Princesses: He was known as "Hime" in his early career.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry
- Eyepatch of Power: In the "Awilda" video.
- Flowers in His Hair: Emphasis on the plural.
- Fluffy Fashion Feathers: In both his hair and his clothes.
- Gratuitous English: Occasionally, though mostly just in song titles.
- Gratuitous French: "Nouvelle Mariee" and "Pourriture noble". Surprisingly, except for the song titles, Kaya Meikyoku Series 1: Bonjour! Chanson isn't actually an example of this—the album consists of Japanese covers of French songs.
- Gratuitous German: "Walküre" ("Valkyrie").
- Harsh Vocals: Near the end of "Rose Jail".
- Hair Decorations: Ranging from relatively tame (ribbons, flowers, feathers) to "what?" (a birdcage in the "Transmigration" music video).
- Impractically Fancy Outfit
- Improbable Hairstyle: Many of his hairstyles can fall under this, but his hair in the "Transmigration" video has to win some kind of reward. What's most improbable: the general hugeness of it, the giant feathers, the dozen or so roses, or possibly the birdcage?
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Mostly in the 4-6 range.
- Mondegreen: The chorus of "Rose Jail" contains some Gratuitous English—but German fans have universally interpreted the phrase "With all my..." as "Willst du'n Ei?" ("Do you want an egg?").
- Nice Hat
- Nice Shoes: Platform boots. Which he dances in.
- Obligatory Bondage Song: "Rose Jail".
- Of Corsets Sexy: Several of his outfits. One example: the cover◊ for the "Madame Rosa no Shoukan" single.
- Only One Name
- Performance Video: The video for "Awilda", which mostly consists of clips from one of his live performances.
- Pimped-Out Dress: His specialty.
- Rearrange the Song: "Chocolat ~Sweet version~", "Kaleidoscope -glitter mix-", "Last Snow -piano ver.-", "Psycho Butterfly -Nightmare mix-", "Masquerade -fabulous night mix-", "Ouka ~Hyakki ranbu hen~", "Kasha - shining flowers -", and regular remixes for "Chocolat", "Madame Rosa", "Ryouran", and "Silvery Dark".
- Rock Me, Amadeus!: Too many songs to count. "Paradise lost" and "Madame Rosa" are good examples.
- Rule of Glamorous: Just about everything he does can be explained as falling under this.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: He's known for having a deep singing voice, contrasting with his appearance...but his speaking voice is high-pitched and very feminine.
- Something About a Rose: "Rose Jail", "Rose Kingdom", "Curse of Rose", "Sugar Rose", and the music video for "Awilda". His website (subtitled "Rose Addict") is at kaya-rose.com and he's on Twitter under the username "Kaya_rose".
- Stage Name: His real name is Tatsuya Kasei.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Silvery Dark" (both the original and the Queen's version), "Last Snow" (the original and the piano version), and "Chocolat ~Sweet ver.~".
- Translated Cover Version: The entirety of the Kaya Meikyoku Series 1: Bonjour! Chanson EP; only the titles remain in French.
- Unplugged Version: The "sweet version" of "Chocolat".
- Wholesome Crossdresser