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.