He was born in Middlesex, West London in 1987 and moved near Totnes, Devon when he was about eight. He was raised by musical parents who exposed him to their favourite records from singer-songwriter artists from the 1960s and 1970s at an early age, such as John Martyn, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Simon & Garfunkel, by whom he was strongly influenced.
Howard began writing songs when he was eleven. In an interview with American Songwriter, he stated that when he was a kid he started playing guitar because he liked to put words together and make stuff up. "I was quite an imaginative little kid I guess. So your standard little love songs turned into your standard adolescent love songs. I think you start getting your own take on things when you’re a late teen. That’s when everything changes." Besides playing the guitar, Howard also played other instruments as a kid. He easily picked up the drums and contrabass, but after some time he decided to focus on the guitar. After attending King Edward VI Community College and Torquay Boys' Grammar School he began studying Journalism at University College Falmouth, Cornwall. Six months prior to completion of his course, Howard decided to focus on making music full-time