We really don’t like to say it in this magazine, but let’s be honest; Niall Horan’s debut effort suffered a minor blunder when it was released on 20th October. Titled Flicker, whether it was Niall’s cheeky play at words or a typography gaffe, from a distance the album poster screamed a rude word. The social media world freaked out and gave Niall much-needed mileage for his album, and if his current singles are anything to go by, we can truly say that Niall has brought out an album that we must listen to.
Niall is the third One Direction member to release a solo record, following in the footsteps of Zayn Malik’s 2016 Mind Of Mine and Harry Styles’ self-titled album released in May 2017. He also became the third member of One Direction to score a No. 1 album in America as his solo debut Flicker debuted atop the Billboard 200.
Niall James Horan was born on 13 September 1993, in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland. His parents divorced when he was five years old. He and his older brother, Greg, were shunted back and forth between their parents’ two households before settling in with their father.
Niall attended St Kenny’s National Primary School in Mullingar, where he performed in school plays and sang in the school choir. He attended secondary school at Coláiste Mhuire (Mary’s College), a Catholic boys school also in Mullingar. As a teenager, he performed at the Mullingar Arts Centre (in a fundraiser for the local football team, the Shamrocks) and at The Academy in Dublin. One Christmas, Niall’s brother Greg got a guitar, but when he failed to play it regularly, Niall took charge of the instrument and taught himself how to play it from YouTube videos. His aunt discovered his talent when she was in the car with Niall and he started singing. She thought the radio was on.
Niall’s talent mushroomed slowly not only while he was in school, but even after he finished his school years. At 16, he auditioned for the TV talent show The X Factor. He moved up through several rounds of preliminary auditions culminating in a performance for the show’s judges, including Simon Cowell and guest judge Katy Perry. He sang a version of Ne-Yo’s So Sick and received mixed comments from the judges. Niall was finally put through to bootcamp and sang Champagne Supernova but once again failed to qualify for the “Boys” category. Although he was eliminated as a solo contestant after the semi-finals, the judges combined Niall with Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson forming One Direction.