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Niall James Horan (born September 13, 1993) is an Irish singer and songwriter. He is best known as a member of the boy band One Direction. In 2010, Horan auditioned as a solo artist for British televised singing competition The X Factor. After being eliminated as a solo performer, Horan joined four other contestants to form One Direction. The band has released five commercially successful albums, performed on four worldwide tours, and won a number of awards.

Early Life

Niall James Horan was born on September 13, 1993 in Mullingar, Ireland. His parents, Bobby Horan and Maura Gallagher, divorced when he was five years old, so he and his brother Greg Horan had to live in both houses for some time. They later decided to move definitely with their father. He attended St. Kenny's National School primary school and, as a teen, Coláiste Mhuire, a Catholic boys school which are both located in or near Mullingar. Horan started playing guitar when his brother got one for Christmas but failed to play it, so Horan started to play with it and taught himself how to do it by playing it off YouTube. His aunt discovered his talent one day when she was in the car with Niall as he started singing. She originally thought the radio was on. As a teenager he performed at the Mullingar Arts Centre (in a fund-raiser for the local football team, the Shamrocks). He was also bagging a support slot with former X Factor contestant Lloyd Daniels at the famous Academy club in Dublin.

Music career

2010: The X Factor

Main article: One Direction

In 2010, at sixteen years old, Niall auditioned for the seventh series of The X Factor in Dublin. He sang "So Sick", and received mixed comments from the judges. Louis Walsh was in his favor, but Cheryl Cole and guest judge Katy Perry, felt he needed some time to grow. Simon voted to let him through, Cheryl said no, and Louis quickly added in his yes, and left Niall's fate up to Katy. She decided to vote yes, and Niall was put through to bootcamp.

At bootcamp, Niall sang "Champagne Supernova", but failed to qualify for the "Boys" category. After a suggestion from guest judge Nicole Scherzinger, Niall was put into a group with four other boys, who also failed to move on in the competition, but since they were too good to let go, the judges decided to agree with Nicole. Niall, along with Harry Styles, Liam PayneLouis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik, formed One Direction. Styles came up with the band name, which he thought would sound good when announcer Peter Dickson read their name out on the live shows. Subsequently, the group got together for two weeks to get to know each other and to practice. For their qualifying song at "judges' houses" and their first song as a group, One Direction sang an acoustic version of "Torn". Simon Cowell later commented that the performance convinced him that the group "were confident, fun, like a gang of friends, and kind of fearless as well." Within the first four weeks of the live shows, they were Cowell's last act in the competition. During the competition, the band performed different songs such as Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" and Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart", quickly gaining popularity in the UK. Nonetheless, they finished in third place, behind runner-up Rebecca Ferguson and winner Matt Cardle.

2010–16: Breakthrough with One Direction

Following The X Factor, One Direction had been signed by Cowell to a reported £2 million Syco record contract. They began recording their debut album in January 2011, they flew over to Los Angeles to record it. In February 2011, the boy band and other contestants from the series participated in The X Factor Live Tour. During the tour, the group performed for 500,000 people throughout the UK. After the tour concluded in April 2011, the group continued working on their debut album. Recording took place in Stockholm, London and Los Angeles, as One Direction worked with producers Carl Falk, Savan Kotecha, Steve Mac and Rami Yacoub, among others.

In 2011, they released their first studio album, Up All Night. It debuted at number one on the United States Billboard 200, selling 176,000 copies in its first week. This led to One Direction becoming the first British band to debut its first studio album at number one. Their first single, "What Makes You Beautiful", reached number one in Ireland, Mexico and the UK. The subsequent singles, "Gotta Be You", "One Thing" and "More than This", had moderate success, being successful in some countries, but failing in others. To promote the album, they embarked on the Up All Night Tour and released the tour's DVD, Up All Night: The Live Tour.

In November 2012, they released their second studio album, Take Me Home. This album had a better reception than their first album, reaching number one in the UK and becoming their first album to top the UK chart. It also reached the first spot in Australia, Canada, the United States, Ireland and New Zealand. "Live While We're Young", one of the singles, reached number one in Ireland and New Zealand, while "Little Things" reached number one in the UK. The third single, "Kiss You", made it to several charts, but never topped any. Additionally, they embarked on their second tour, the Take Me Home Tour, which covered four continents. Their movie This Is Us, directed by Morgan Spurlock was mostly shot during the tour. The film grossed more than $30 million worldwide its first weekend in theatres. Horan played guitar for Take Me Home.

They also sang a medley of Blondie's "One Way or Another" and The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks" called "One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)", in order to raise funds for Comic Relief.

The band's third studio album, Midnight Memories, was released on November 25, 2013. Their fourth album, Four, was released on November 17, 2014. This album is One Direction's last album as a five-piece. Their fifth album, Made in the A.M., was released on November 13, 2015. It reached number one in several counties including the UK, beating Justin Bieber's Purpose. This album is One Direction's last album before the hiatus.

2016–present: Flicker

In September 2016, it was announced that Horan had signed a solo deal with Capitol Records. On September 29, 2016 Horan released his debut solo single "This Town". Since its release, it has peaked at number 9 on the UK Singles Chart, and number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

On 4 May 2017, Horan released his second solo single "Slow Hands". It also entered the top 10 in the UK and the top 20 in the US. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Horan stated his upcoming new album Flicker was inspired by classic rock acts, including Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, "Whenever I would pick up a guitar, I would always naturally play chords like that, and finger pick a lot and play that folky kind of style." He also described the collection as having a "folk-with-pop feel to it." Horan will embark on his worldwide tour Flicker Sessions 2017 in August. Also in August, Horan revealed that he had contacted Maren Morris to contribute to his song "Seeing Blind". Later the same month, he debuted a song titled "On My Own" at Dublin's Olympia Theatre. On September 15, 2017, Horan released his third single from the album, "Too Much to Ask". On November 8, 2017, Horan performed alongside Maren Morris at the 51st Country Music Association Awards.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
2010 The X Factor Himself Contestant
2012 iCarly Guest role
Saturday Night Live Musical guest
2013 One Direction: This Is Us
Saturday Night Live Musical guest
2014 One Direction: Where We Are – The Concert Film
Saturday Night Live Musical guest
One Direction: The TV Special

Discography

See: Niall Horan discography

See also: One Direction discography

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