One Direction are an English-Irish pop boy band based in London, consisting of members Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson. They signed with SImon Cowell's record label Syco Records after being formed and finishing third in the seventh series of British television singing competition The X Factor in 2010. The group subsequently signed in the United States with Columbia Records. Becoming a prominent figure in mainstream popular music and popular culture, their two albums Up All Night (2011) and Take Me Home (2012), broke several records, topped the charts of most major markets, and generated worldwide chart-topping singles, including "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Live While We're Young".
Propelled to international success by the power of social media, One Direction are often described as sparking the resurgence in the boy band concept, and of forming part of a new "British Invashion" in the United States. Their achievments include a Brit Award and 3 MTV Video Music Awards. As of November 2012, the boy band have sold over 15 million records worldwide. According to Nick Gatfield, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment UK, One Direction represented a $50 million business empire by June 2012. They were proclaimed 2012's 'Top New Artist' by Billboard, while The Huffington Post named 2012 "The Year of One Direction".
Niall James Horan, born 13 September 1993 (age 19), is from Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland. Born to mother Maura Gallagher and father Bobby Horan, he has an older brother named Greg. Their parents divorced when he was five. He and his brother lived between each of their homes for a few years before eventually deciding to live with their father in Mullingar. Horan was a pupil at Coláiste Mhuire, a boys' Christian Brothers School He was in the school choir, performing seasonally around Christmas.
Prior to participating in The X Factor, he performed around his homeland, including as a support act for Lloyd Danies in Dublin. Horan has been playing guitar since his childhood. Horan has also stated that he is a "big swing" fan, citing favourite artists Frank SInatra, Dean Martin and Michael Bublé. Horan also cites rock music favourably and is a fan of The Eagles, Bon Jovi and The Script.
Zain Javadd "Zayn" Malik, born 12 January 1993 , is from Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Born to British Pakistani father Yaser and an English mother, Tricia Malik (née Brannan), he has one older sister, Doniya, and two younger sisters, Waliyha and Safaa. He grew up in East Bowling, was a pupil at Lower Fields Primary School, and went to Tong High School, a state comprehensive school. Malik did not fit in at his first two schools due to his mixed heritage, and after moving schools at the age of twelve, Malik, states he started taking pride in his appearance.
On auditioning for The X Factor, he stated: "I was looking for an experience". He cites urban music as his main musical influence, growing up, he was into R&B and rap. He as well as other members of One Direction further notes artists such as Bruno Mars, as a "dream collaborator." Malik is addicted to smoking cigarettes; in late 2011, he expressed his desire to quit. Malik once wrote on Twitter, "La ila ha ill lalla ho muhammad door rasoolah", known as a common declaration of faith among Muslims meaning: "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah."
Harry Edward Styles, born 1 February 1994 ,is from the village of Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, England. He is a former pupil at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, a state comprehensive school. Born to mother Anne Cox and father Des Styles, he has an older sister, Gemma. He was seven when their parents divorced, his mother subsequently getting remarried. Following the divorce, Styles, his older sister and mother moved further out into the Cheshire countryside. At the age of twelve he moved back to Holmes Chapel. Prior to participating in The X Factor, the then sixteen-year-old Styles had a part-time job at the W. Mandeville Bakery in Holmes Chapel.
Styles was the lead singer for the band White Eskimo with band members lead guitarist Haydn Morris, bass guitarist Nick Clough and drummer Will Sweeny. They had once entered a Battle of the Bands competition, which they won. As a child, Styles loved singing, noting Elvis Presley as one of his influences. He also cites Presley for his musical beginnings. Styles also cites contemporaries, Foster the People, Coldplay, and Kings of Leon among his influences. Styles states that The X Factor gave him "a lot more" confidence as a performer. Styles says that he often looks to Coldplay front man Chris Martin for inspiration when performing on stage. Styles also states that The Beatles had an influence on him growing up, as his father would play their music.
Liam James Payne, born 29 August 1993 , is from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. Born three weeks early to mother Karen and father Geoff, he has two older sisters, Ruth and Nicola. Until the age of four, Payne had regular tests done in hospital as doctors noticed one of his kidneys was scarred and dysfunctional. To help cope with the pain, he had 32 injections in his arm in the morning and evening as a child. As a student, Payne was heavily involved in sports. Payne was bullied in secondary school and took up boxing lessons at the age of twelve. He was a music technology student at City of Wolverhampton College
Payne had once performed in front of a 26,000 crowd at a Wolverhampton Wanderers' football match. Payne first auditioned in 2008 to The X Factor's fifth series when he was fourteen. He made it to the judges' houses, but Cowell thought he was not ready for the competition and asked him to come back in two years. Payne cites Justin Timberlake as one of his biggest influences. He also said that he draws inspiration from Take That member Gary Barlow when performing.
Louis William Tomlinson, born Louis Troy Austin on 24 December 1991 (age 21), is from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. Born to mother Johannah Poulston and father Troy Austin, his parents split when he was young and he took on his stepfather Mark Tomlinson's name. He has five younger half-sisters, and two of them had roles as babies on television series Fat Friends, on which he would go along and serve as an extra. After Fat Friends, he attended an acting school in Barnsley. He had small parts in an ITV1 drama filmIf I Had You and BBC's Waterloo Road He was a sixth form student at Hall Cross School, a state comprehensive school, and a former pupil of the Hayfiels School. He revealed that he failed his first year of A levels at the Hayfield School and ended up going back to Hall Cross and started A levels over again. He had a number of jobs, including at a Vue cinema and at Doncaster Rovers football stadium as a waiter in their hospitality suites.
As a student at Hall Cross, Tomlinson starred in several musical productions. Tomlinson revealed that landing the lead role of Danny Zuko in the Hall Cross musical production of Grease motivated him to audition for The X Factor. Tomlinson cites Robbie Williams as his biggest influence and idol. In an interview with Now Magazinw, he stated: "I've always loved [Robbie]. He's just so cheeky, he can get away with anything. His performances are unbelievable." He also admires recording artist Ed Sheeran, describing him as "phenomenal."