Niall Horan was one-fifth of One Direction, the biggest boy band of all time. One of the group's most prolific songwriters, and a fine guitarist as well as a singer, he began a solo career after the group went on hiatus in 2016. Born September 13, 1993 in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland, Horan became interested in music early. After his elder brother failed to play the guitar he had received as a Christmas present, Niall picked it up and taught himself to play by watching instructional YouTube videos. Discovering he also had a talent for singing, he began writing songs and performing while still in his early teens, even bagging a support slot with former X Factor contestant Lloyd Daniels at the famous Academy club in Dublin.
At the age of 16 he himself auditioned for The X Factor, and the rest is history. One Direction, formed on the show, went on to become one of the biggest bands of all time, their sales surpassing even the Beatles'. Horan was one of the group's principal songwriters, and a fan favorite with his baby-faced good looks and sweet, high, slightly grainy tenor. After five albums in five years and the loss of one of their most popular members (Zayn Malik), One Direction took a well-deserved hiatus beginning in January 2016. Later that year, Horan announced he had signed a solo deal with Capitol. His debut solo single, the romantic acoustic ballad "This Town," was released in September, drawing comparisons with Ed Sheeran; an album was planned for 2017. ~ John D. Buchanan