Louis Tomlinson earned even greater respect and devotion from his fans after a brave performance of his new song “Just Hold On.”
The former One Direction member took to the X Factor stage to debut the single Saturday, just three days after his mother, Johanna Poulston, died of leukemia. DJ Steve Aoki, who produced the track, accompanied Tomlinson on stage. Despite the emotional timing, Tomlinson performed live as per his mother’s final wish.
Amidst a standing ovation, judge Simon Cowell took the moment to reveal his support and adoration for the performer. “I’ve known you now for six years. What you’ve just done and the bravery — I respect you as an artist, I respect you as a person, and your mom was so proud of you, Louis,” he said. “She was so looking forward to tonight. She’s watching down on you now and you’ve done her proud.”
Tomlinson agreed with Cowell’s sentiment later on Twitter. “Feeling so much love around me and my family,” the 24-year-old said. “Mum would have been so f—ing proud ( sorry for swearing mum ).”
He also thanked fans, friends, and Aoki for their support, and said the performance was more difficult to get through than he expected it would be. “That was harder than I ever imagined.”
“Just Hold On” is now available on iTunes and for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify. Listen to the studio recording below, followed by some Tweets of support sent Tomlinson’s way, and see the X Factor performance above.