Nial was born in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 05, 1981. He played and had classical piano lessons since the age 5. In the house he heard a lot of jazz from his father's jazz collection. And he also heard his father playing bass in the local clubs. Nial was not into jazz until 1996, when he heard the Pat Metheny Group playing at a concert in Jakarta. Since then, at the age of 14 yrs he was bitten by the jazz bug. The rest is history.
He went to the USA and graduated from a US high school in Chattanooga, TN. In Chattanooga he played frequently in the Jazz Junction, a local jazz club and where he became a well-known pianist before he graduated in 1999. After graduation he enrolled at the Berklee College of Music, Boston on a full-scholarship. Between the years 1999 and 2004 he won numerous awards and jazz piano competitions (Horace Silver Jazz Piano Competition, $10,000 cash-award). He graduated from Berklee in 2004.