Horan was born on 13 September 1993 in Mullingar, County Westmeath. 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.
Niall James Horan (/ˈnaɪəl ˈhɒrən/ NY-uhl HAW-ruhn; born 13 September 1993) is an Irish singer-songwriter. He rose to prominence as a member of the boy band One Direction, formed in 2010 on the 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.
In 2010, Horan canvassed for the Labour Party. As a former member of One Direction, Horan supported Comic Relief in 2013, and was involved in the Action 1D campaign that "aims to end extreme poverty, tackle inequality and slow down climate change with the help of their millions of fans" in 2015.
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. At bootcamp, he sang "Champagne Supernova", but failed to qualify for the category. After a suggestion from guest judge Nicole Scherzinger, Horan was put in a group with four boys who also failed to move on in the competition, and since they were too good to let go, the judges decided to agree with Scherzinger. Horan along with Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis 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. Within the first four weeks of the live shows, they were Cowell's last act in the competition. They finished in 3rd place, behind runner-up Rebecca Ferguson and winner Matt Cardle.
Following The X Factor, One Direction was signed by Cowell to a reported £2 million Syco record contract. They began recording their debut album in Los Angeles in January 2011. That February, the band and other contestants from the series participated in The X Factor Live Tour. One Direction's debut single, "What Makes You Beautiful", was released in September 2011. The song reached number one in several countries. Subsequent singles, "Gotta Be You" and "One Thing" received success, becoming top ten hits in the UK. In November of that year, the group's debut album "Up All Night" was released in Ireland and the UK, reaching number one and number two on the charts, respectively. The album was released internationally in March 2012, and One Direction became the first UK group to have their debut album reach number one in the United States. To promote the album, they embarked on their first headlining concert tour, the Up All Night Tour. In September 2012, the group released "Live While We're Young", the lead single from their upcoming second album, which peaked at number three in the UK and US. The album's second single, "Little Things," spawned the band's second number one single in the UK. In November 2012, Take Me Home, One Direction's second album, was released. It reached number one in over 35 countries, and, after reaching number one on the Billboard 200, the group became the first boy band in US chart history to record two number-one albums in the same calendar year alongside becoming the first group since 2008 to record two number-one albums in the same year. To support the album, they embarked on their second headlining tour, the Take Me Home Tour, playing over 120 shows over four continents. In August 2013, One Direction: This Is Us, a 3-D documentary concert film was released and was a box office success, grossing over $68.5 million.
The band's third studio album, Midnight Memories, was released on 25 November 2013. It was the best-selling album worldwide in 2013 with 4 million copies sold globally. Following the album's release, the group embarked on the Where We Are Tour. The tour grossed over $290 million and was the highest-grossing tour of 2014, the 15th highest-grossing concert tour of all time, and is still the highest-grossing tour of all time by a vocal group. In November 2014, One Direction released their fourth album, Four. The album debuted number one in 18 countries, and One Direction became the only group in the 58-year history of the Billboard 200 albums chart to have their first four albums debut at number one. In February 2015, the band embarked on the On The Road Again Tour, playing shows in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. In November 2015, Made in the A.M., their fifth album, was released. Led by singles "Drag Me Down" and "Perfect", the album reached number one in multiple countries, including the UK, while it reached number two on the US Billboard 200. Following the release of the album the group went on an indefinite hiatus.
Horan enjoyed playing a number of sports while growing up, including golf, football, and Gaelic football. In the summer of 2010, while playing football with friends, he injured his knee and was diagnosed with a floating kneecap. The problem recurred several times over the next couple of years, including a 2013 incident where he dislocated his knee onstage during a concert in Antwerp, Belgium. Horan went to the United States for major reconstructive surgery in January 2014, after the tour ended. After the surgery, he was invited to do physical therapy with Chelsea by their manager, José Mourinho. Horan went through more than seven weeks of physical therapy with the members of the team and their physical therapist at their training ground in Surrey.
In May 2014, Horan hosted the Charity Football Challenge at Leicester City's King Power Stadium to raise money for Irish Autism Action. The celebrity football match had 10,000 spectators and raised about £300,000 for the charity.
Following the band's hiatus in 2016, Horan signed a recording deal as a solo artist with Capitol Records and has since released two albums: Flicker (2017) and Heartbreak Weather (2020). Flicker 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. 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.
In 2016, Horan and Mark McDonnell founded Modest Golf, a golf management company.
In 2016, Horan continued to support Irish Autism Action by creating limited edition T-shirts. Horan was a part of the Soccer Aid 2016 and 2019 star lineup to raise funds for UNICEF to benefit children around the world. Horan has been actively involved with the Drive, Chip, and Putt initiative that encourages and supports the younger generation of golfers. He has also spoken about his desire to grow female participation in golf as well as wanting more support and promotion for women golfers. Since 2016, his golf management agency and Justin Rose has put together fundraising shows called "Horan & Rose" to benefit Cancer Research UK and The Black Heart Foundation. In 2017, Horan received an Arnie Award for his work with charities.
On 29 September 2016, Horan released his debut single "This Town" with Capitol Records. 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 single "Slow Hands". It also entered the top 10 in the UK and the top 20 in the US. He embarked on a worldwide tour, Flicker Sessions 2017, which started in August to promote his debut album Flicker. On 15 September 2017, Horan released his third single from the album, "Too Much to Ask". Flicker was released on 20 October 2017, and debuted atop the Billboard 200. It also reached number one in Ireland and the Netherlands. On 8 November 2017, he performed "Seeing Blind" alongside Maren Morris at the 51st Country Music Association Awards. In 2018, he embarked on the Flicker World Tour. His song for the SmallFoot soundtrack, "Finally Free", received a nomination from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for Best Original Song in an Animated Film. He also performed tracks from Flicker for RTÉ and the recordings from the session was included in a live album called Flicker: Featuring the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
In April 2018, Horan opened up on his diagnosis of mild OCD and his anxiety. Horan started dating American actress/singer Hailee Steinfeld from late 2017 to 2018. Horan began dating account manager Amelia Woolley in 2020. He splits his time between Los Angeles and South London.
In March 2019, he was featured on Julia Michaels' song "What a Time". His second studio album Heartbreak Weather's lead single, "Nice to Meet Ya", was released on 4 October 2019. "Put a Little Love on Me" was released as the album's second single on 6 December 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. On 7 February 2020, Horan released the album's third single, "No Judgement" The album was released on 13 March 2020, 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. In 2021, Horan and English singer Anne-Marie released a single called "Our Song" and a cover of Fleetwood Mac's song "Everywhere" for the BBC's Children in Need alongside other UK musicians. In 2022, his TV special that was sponsored by Guinness, Homecoming: The Road to Mullingar with Lewis Capaldi aired on Virgin Media Ireland and was later released to Prime Video.
On November 7, 2020, Horan played a special live-streamed concert at the Royal Albert Hall to support his touring crew and We Need Crew during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In early 2023, Horan became one of the coaches on the 23rd season of The Voice. "Heaven", the lead single of his upcoming third studio album The Show, was released on 17 February 2023. The single debuted at number 4 on the Irish singles chart one week later. On 17 March 2023, Horan performed the song at the White House for U.S. President Joe Biden and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's Saint Patrick's Day celebration. "Meltdown", the second single from his upcoming album, was released on 28 April 2023. In May 2023, it was announced that Horan will return to The Voice for the 24th season in late 2023. On 23 May 2023, Gina Miles, a member of Horan's team, won The Voice, making Horan the winning coach on his first season.
Horan's third studio album, titled The Show is due for release in June 2023. It was preceded by the singles "Heaven" and "Meltdown", which were released in February and April 2023, respectively.