Niall James Horan was born on 13 September 1993 in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland. He was a pupil at Coláiste Mhuire, an all boys' CBC secondary school. Niall played many local gigs including as a support act for Llyowd Daniels (in Dublin). He started playing the guitar in his childhood. In an interview, he referred to his guitar as "the best present I ever received for Christmas".
In 2010, Horan applied as solo candidate for the The X Factor, singing Ne-yo's "So Sick". He sang Champagne Supernova, but did not qualify for Judges' Houses. After suggestion by guest judge Nicole Scherzinger, the five rejected boys were put into a band, thus qualifying for the "Groups" category. Niall's favourite restaurant is Nandos.