Niall James Horan
Niall James Horan was born on September 13, 1993, in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland. His parents, Bobby and Maura Horan, divorced when he was a child. He and his older brother, Greg, moved back and forth between their parents' two households before settling in with their father.
Niall grew up in Mullingar and attended St. Kenny National School, where he performed in school plays and sang in the school choir. He attended secondary school at Coláiste Mhuire (Mary's College), also in Mullingar. As a teenager he performed at the Mullingar Arts Centre (in a fund-raiser for the local football team, the Shamrocks) and at The Academy in Dublin.
In 2010, when he was 16 years old, Horan auditioned for the television talent competition The X Factor. He moved up through several rounds of preliminary auditions culminating in a performance for the program's judges, including Simon Cowell and guest judge Katy Perry, in Dublin. He sang a version of Ne-Yo's "So Sick" and was accepted into the official competition. Although he was eliminated as a solo contestant after the semifinals, the judges combined Horan with Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson to form the boy band called One Direction.
Although One Direction did not win the final round of The X Factor, the band immediately received a contract with Cowell's label Syco and recorded its first album, Up All Night, which became a best seller in the United Kingdom in 2011 and the United States in 2012.
Horan is the only One Direction member born outside England, and he is the second youngest member of the band. He claims to be inspired by classic swing music and by the vocalist Michael Bublé. He is known for his blonde good looks and boy-next-door appeal, and he has been romantically linked with the actresses Demi Lovato and Freya Mavor, despite denying both rumors.