The most unlikely duo of 2016, Steve Aoki and One Directioner Louis Tomlinson, made their U.S. TV debut on Tuesday night when they performed their collaboration “Just Hold On” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
“Just Hold On” was Tomlinson’s first release as a solo artist and he premiered the track just days after his mother’s death in December 2016. He first performed the song during an emotional visit to the U.K.’s The X Factor, where he and One Direction were formed back in 2010. At the time, he was greeted with great praise by his mentor, Simon Cowell, who told him, “What you’ve just done and the bravery — I respect you as an artist, I respect you as a person.”
Written by Tomlinson, Aoki, Eric Rosse, Sasha Sloan, and Sir Nolan, and produced by Aoki, “Just Hold On” signaled a departure from One Direction’s traditional pop roots. Here, with Aoki’s influence, Tomlinson uses tropical-inspired keys, quick synth stabs, and accelerating drums to create a classic EDM tune ready for the festival circuit.
After the performance, Tomlinson thanked fans for supporting the appearance and tweeted, “Reading through so many lovely messages after tonight’s performance. Thank you so much :)”