Niall Horan

Niall Horan

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About Niall Horan

If you want to see something sweet, have a look back at Niall Horan’s 2010 audition for the The X Factor. The swoop of bleached hair, the boyish jitters, the idea that he was gonna become the Irish Justin Bieber and it was all—going—to—start—today. Of course, things worked out a little differently, but if teaming up with a few other contestant runoffs and starting a group—One Direction—that went on to break Beatles-level records is your consolation prize, you probably came out okay. Not that Horan had a lot of time to think about it. “When it was happening, it was like we were in our own little bubble and everyone else was outside it,” he told Apple Music on the occasion of his second solo album, 2020’s Heartbreak Weather. “I didn’t realize the phenomenon. Like, apart from the fact that we played to 60,000 people every night.” Born in Westmeath, Ireland in 1993, Horan grew up listening to stuff like Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young—influences not immediately apparent in One Direction but that surfaced in his solo career. His first album, 2017’s Flicker, didn’t cling to youth. If anything, Horan—like Ed Sheeran—proved himself one of those artists capable of riding the divide between a teenage audience and a decidedly adult one, crafting earnest, uplifting folk-pop with a slight modern shimmer. Heartbreak Weather took the sound a step further, incorporating soul, dance, and classic pop-rock. Not that he’s aiming for cool. If anything, what makes Horan appealing is that he feels more like an Everyman than a rockstar—the boy from around the way who made good. Good thing he didn’t win after all.

Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
September 13, 1993
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