Niall Horan is an Irish singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known as the one of the members of the world famous boy band, One Direction. He first entered the spotlight in 2010 after auditioning as a solo artist for the seventh series of British TV show, The X Factor, and has since gone onto world domination, both in the band and in his solo career.
Horan was born in Mullingar, Ireland, to mother Maura Gallagher and father, Bobby Horan. He has one brother, Greg. His parents divorced when he was five years old, which meant that Horan grew up in two houses for quite some time. Later, Horan moved in with his father full-time. He attended St. Kenny’s National School for primary school, and Coláiste Mhuire, a Catholic boys school, for high school.
Horan first started playing the guitar when his brother failed to use his. He taught himself how to play by watching YouTube videos and practicing at home. His talent was recognized when his aunt heard his singing whilst driving together in her car. She admits that he sung so beautifully, that she thought the radio was on. As a teen, he performed at the Mullingar Arts Centre and also did a supporting gig for a former The X Factor contestant, Lloyd Daniels, at a famous club in Dublin.
Horan made his big entrance into the world of music in 2010 when he auditioned for the TV show, The X Factor, in Dublin. At the time, he was 16 years old. He sang the song ‘So Sick’ by Ne-Yo, which received mixed reviews. Judge Louis Walsh was a big fan, whereas judge Cheryl Cole and guest judge Katy Perry felt Horan needed more training. The final result ended in three ‘yeses’ from Louis, Katy, and Simon Cowell, and one ‘no’ from Cheryl, which meant that Horan would then attend bootcamp, the second phase of the competition.
At bootcamp, Horan auditioned in hope that he would qualify for the “Boys” category. He sang the song ‘Champagne Supernova’ by Oasis, but his performance proved unsuccessful. The judges then came to the conclusion that Horan would be better suited within a group. For that reason, he joined four other boys, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik, and the five then called themselves One Direction. They moved onto the third phase of the competition, and worked alongside Simon Cowell at his home.
The five boys had a total of two weeks to get to know each other, after which they performed ‘Torn’ by Natalia Imbruglia for the judges. The performance gained Simon’s approval and lead him to admit that the boys were “confident, fun, like a gang of friends, and kind of fearless as well.”
The five then went on to sing in the live shows, gaining immense popularity. And while they did not win the competition, they came in at third place and managed to go on and have a very successful career together. They performed a variety of songs such as Kelly Clarkson’s, ‘My Life Would Suck Without You’, and Bonnie Tyler’s, ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. And while they did not win the competition, they came in at third place and managed to go on and have a very successful career together. They were signed by Cowell to a reported two-million-pound record contract with Syco.
In January 2011, Horan and his band members began recording their first album, flying all over Los Angeles, Stockholm, and London to do so. The album was entitled Up All Night and was debuted at number one on the United States Billboard 200. It also sold 176,000 copies in its first week of being released. Their first single, ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, reached number one in Ireland, Mexico, and the UK.
In February of 2011, the boys participated in The X Factor Live Tour for two months, performing throughout the UK. After the tour, they commenced their album recordings, working with producers such as Carl Falk, Savan Kotecha, Steve Mac, and Rami Yacoub. They then went on their Up All Night Tour to promote their album and released their first DVD, Up All Night: The Live Tour.
The band’s second studio album came out in 2012 and was entitled Take Me Home which proved to be more successful than their first album. It not only topped the UK chart but also reached the first spot in Australia, Canada, The US, Ireland, and New Zealand.
They then went on their second tour, Take Me Home Tour, performing in four continents. They sang their own songs as well as several covers such as Blondie’s, One Way or Another and The Undertone’s, Teenage Kicks, which helped raise funds for Comic Relief. During this tour, they also filmed a movie entitled, This Is Us, directed by Morgan Spurlock, which grossed more than $30 million in its first week in theatres.
In 2013, a third album was released entitled Midnight Memories and in 2014 their forth album Four came out, when former member Zayn Malik had quit the band due to stress.
Their fifth and final album, called Made in the A.M. was released in 2015, reaching the number one spot in several countries. This is their last album to date, and the band is currently on hiatus. It was then that Horan decided to take three months off and travel the world. From January to March of 2016, he went backpacking with two of his cousins. He told Graham Norton, “I wanted to do it properly so we did it on a budget. All of my friends got to do it when I was travelling the world in a different way, so I thought it’s only fair that I get to do it, too.” The trio visited countries such as Australia, Vietnam, Thailand and Portugal.
In 2016, Horan decided to pursue a solo career, and signed a deal with Capitol Records. He was the first member of One Direction to release solo music after they announced their hiatus. He released his first single, ‘This Town’, on September 29, which peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart and number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Later in 2016, Horan revealed on The Late Late Show with James Corden that he was hard at work on his one-man LP. He said, “I’ve written all the songs, I’ve only recently gotten a producer to do the whole thing so all next month I’m gonna be locked in a studio, starting from scratch, recording vocals, guitars, all the rest and then hopefully I’ll be bringing it out early summer next year.” He also admitted that working as a solo artist has definitely been an adjustment, but that his former band members are still very supportive of each other. The album is said to contain 11-12 songs.
Horan says that Michael Bublé is one of his biggest influences, as Bublé was also recognized for his talent by a family member.
Horan is adored by fans, especially women, worldwide. Yet he has still had his fair share of scandal. One of the most controversial occurrences was when the star landed in Dublin, Ireland, and referred to the slew of women waiting for his arrival as a “shower of c***s”. The event led him to tweet, “Really sorry if I caused any offence. It was just banter with fans who I think of more as mates. But I understand that it’s not a word I should be using at all.”
Horan made headline news yet again after he got caught in a love triangle with Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran. Horan allegedly ‘stole’ Ellie from Ed, which lead Ed to write the song, ‘Don’t’.
In 2014, Horan was filmed at a concert kissing his male friend (and One Direction songwriter) Julian Brunetta. The footage however wasn’t very clear so the allegations merely remained allegations.
Horan is a big fan of sports such as tennis, golf, and cricket. He is also a supporter of Football League Championship side Derby County. His practicing football days however came to a halt when he suffered a knee injury call whilst playing football with his friends. The injury resulted in a diagnosis of “floating kneecap”. This has caused him tremendous inconvenience in the past, such as dislocating his knee during a concert in Belgium. He travelled to the US in 2014 in order to get reconstructive knee surgery and underwent seven weeks of physiotherapy with members of the Chelsea football team.
Horan supports a number of causes such as the Cancer Research UK, whereby he created the charity event called Horan and Rose Gala with golf player, Justin Rose. This event, with a meal prepared by Jamie Oliver and a performance sung by Olly Murs, was created to help kids and teens living with cancer. Horan also supports UNICEF.
Horan has had very brief relationships with Australian model, Melissa Whitelaw, Thailia Heffernan, Barbra Palvin, Zoe Whelan, Louise Thompson, Amy Green, Holly Scally, and Belgian student, Celine Helene Vandycke in 2016. It was also said that Horan dated Ellie Goulding in 2013.
Horan’s is currently said to be dating model, Jessica Serfaty.
Written by: Helena Lorimer