Mahone was born in San Antonio, Texas on April 4, 1996. His father died when he was a year and a half old, and he was raised by his single mother, Michelle. He first started posting videos on YouTube with his friend Alex Constancio in June 2010. Music videos followed by January 2011, and he began to build an online following.  In October 2011, Mahone posted a video covering Justin Bieber's song "Mistletoe". On August 28, 2012 Mahone announced that he had been officially signed to Chase/Universal Republic Records. Mahone's first single "11:11" charted at #19 on the BillboardHeatseekers Songs chart. On June 5, 2012 Austin Mahone released a second single called "Say Somethin". The single did better than his first, charting at #34 on the BillboardPop Songs chart.
On May 22, 2012 Mahone played at the first Q102 Springle Ball music concert. Soon after, he sang at the B96 SummerBash in Chicago and on June 22, 2012, in New York City.
In November 2012, Austin had signed a deal to become the new "Teen Ambassador" for Lil Wayne's colorful Trukfit fashion clothing line.
Mahone has a strong social media presence. His fan base is dominated by young females, called "mahomies".Kara DioGuardi, who is involved in his career, said of his online popularity: "He knows how to connect. I think people feel attached to him because he’s so genuine. When you see him perform, it’s like he’s singing to you." In September 2011, he debuted at #38 on the Billboard Social 50 chart, the youngest to appear on the list. He rose to #28 on the list on December 2. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal named Mahone as a "leading contender to be the next Bieber." He responded to the comparisons saying, "It’s cool you know, he’s very successful, it’s very flattering. But you know I want people to give me a chance as my own artist you know to see me as me." In 2013, he was named one of MTV's "Artists To Watch".
Growing up, Mahone was influenced by artists across multiple genres of music, including country singer George Strait. He is also a fan of Flo Rida and Mariah Carey. Mahone took guitar lessons for a year and a half and “sang in the shower … until last year when this girl on YouTube helped me with my breath control and taught me different warmups."