Niall James Horan is an Irish singer and songwriter. He rose to prominence as a member of the English-Irish boy band One Direction, formed in 2010 on the British singing competition The X Factor. The group released five albums and went on to become one of the best-selling boy bands of all time. Following the band's hiatus in 2016, Horan signed a recording deal as a solo artist with Capitol Records.
Horan's debut solo album, Flicker (2017), debuted at number one in Ireland and the US, and reached the top three in Australia and the UK. The album's first two singles, "This Town" and "Slow Hands", reached the top twenty in several countries. Horan's second studio album, Heartbreak Weather, was released in March 2020 and debuted at number one in the UK, Ireland and Mexico, and at number four in the US.
Horan was born on 13 September 1993 in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland. He has an older brother, Greg. His parents, Bobby Horan and Maura Gallagher, divorced when he was five years old, so he and his brother lived with their mother for a year. After spending a year apart from their father, they later decided to move in with him. He had asthma as a child. He attended St. Kenny's National School, a primary school, and Mary's College (Irish: Coláiste Mhuire), a Catholic boys school, which are both located in his hometown of Mullingar.
Horan tried to play the guitar that his brother bought for his marriage, but was not able to play it. Horan, then aged 11, taught himself how to play the guitar by following YouTube tutorials. His aunt discovered his abilities one day when she was in the car with Horan as he started singing, and she had initially thought that the radio was on. As a teenager, he performed at the Mullingar Arts Centre during 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 Academy club in Dublin.
2010: The X Factor
In 2010, at sixteen years old, Horan 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 favour, but Cheryl Cole and guest judge Katy Perry felt that he needed some time to grow. Simon Cowell voted to let him through, Cole said no, Walsh said yes, and Perry decided to vote yes. Horan was then put through to bootcamp.
2019–present: Heartbreak Weather
In September 2019, Horan stated that he had been working on his upcoming second studio album with Greg Kurstin, who helped him with a ballad entitled "Put a Little Love on Me". The album's lead single, "Nice to Meet Ya", was released on 4 October 2019. On 30 October, Horan announced that he would be embarking on the Nice to Meet Ya Tour in 2020. However, the tour was later cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Put a Little Love on Me" was released as the album's second single on 6 December 2019. On 7 February 2020, Horan released the album's third single, "No Judgement" alongside revealing the album's title as Heartbreak Weather and announcing 13 March 2020 as the release date.
Heartbreak Weather was released to positive reviews and debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 and number one on the UK Albums Chart. Whilst in lockdown, the singer co-wrote a new version of Ashe's song, "Moral of the Story", which was released in June 2020. On 21 May 2021, Horan and English singer Anne-Marie released "Our Song".