An open letter to Steve Aoki: Thank you, for everything

Sometimes someone walks into your life and quickly becomes your saving grace, uplifting you during a time that was wearing you thin, and being the kind of friend that knows what you need without you having to ask. For Louis Tomlinson, during some of the hardest weeks/months of his life, that person was Steve Aoki. The pair began spending time together earlier in 2016 and in the days leading up to – and right after – Louis’ mom Johannah passed away, Steve became a source of strength for Louis as well.

From Vegas to Ibiza and private jets to London; fans began to wonder if Louis and Steve would end up working on a tune together. The music Steve works on is much different than what Louis did with One Direction, but that’s sort of the point of the hiatus. Fan curiosity grew when Steve was asked, during an interview at the ARIAS, if he was working with Louis on music.

“I can’t tell you about that”

Of course that led fans to believe that he was, in fact, working on music with Louis in some capacity, it was just a question of when it would be released. Obviously, fans wanted music from Louis as soon as possible, but his smiles hanging out with Steve and knowing how much fun he was having meant enough, and now it’s easy to see it was so important to Louis too.

Steve was there for Louis as a friend and as a partner on a song that was heartfelt, meaningful, and a tribute to his mother. He canceled his own shows, got on a jet, and got to London to make sure that ‘Just Hold On’ could be debuted on the same stage that saw Louis’ dreams first come true. The stage his mom watched him on and looked forward to seeing him on once again.

His mom had the best view in the place that night; and both Louis and Steve kept looking up and letting her know that it was all in her honor. The feeling was almost palpable, even for us at home. Since the performance, Steve has been talking about the song online, pinning it to his artist pages, shouting Louis out at every chance he can, and being an incredibly supportive friend and music partner for Louis – it’s been incredible to watch.

For those reasons and more, fans of One Direction have taken a liking to Steve and he’s been introduced to the family in a big way. Fans are talking about him and his kindness, finding out more about what he stands for (it’s a whole lot of good), and really discovering why no one else could have made this what it’s turned into; it had to be Steve.

If you look at social media, you’ll see an array of thankful messages going out to Steve, just for being himself, and we wanted to make sure he knew how much we all appreciate him as well.


Thank you. Those two words don’t seem sufficient enough for what we truly wish to say to you, they don’t seem to be able to properly describe how grateful we all are for what you’ve done for and with Louis. When the light in his world grew dimmer, we would have given anything to be able to hug him, to tell him that he was strong enough to make it through, to just sit in his presence and let him know he wasn’t alone; and while we weren’t able to – you were, you did.

Louis has given all of us a place to call home, a place to feel safe when things in our own lives were a little too rough to handle alone, he’s given us – along with the rest of the boys in One Direction – a family. You have done that for him, and we’re not even sure you’ve realized it yet.

Louis was the big brother, in his family and in the band; he’s always been strong for everyone else and never once complained about it. Taking care of other people has always made Louis happy. You stepped in during one of the hardest times of Louis’ life and let him know that he didn’t have to be strong all the time, and even though we’re sure he still stayed that away; there was a space for him to take a moment and just, be, and that is the best thing he could have been given during the last year.

When you got on a plane to London and canceled your own shows, important ones, it was a show of your selflessness. When you dropped what you were doing to make this song possible with Louis, it was a show of your kindness. When you stood to the side of the stage as people applauded you and Louis after the performance with a look of pride in your eyes, it was a show of your compassion.

Every moment since then has just been further proof that everything happens for a reason and your path crossing with Louis’ was about more than just making an incredible song; it was about honoring a woman who left a lasting impact on this world and making the loss of her easier on her favorite boy.

As fans found out more about you, your own charity organization, and the acts of kindness you show to other people as often as possible; it was easy to understand why Louis took such a liking to you; you show the same qualities as Johannah. Some people are just good, and you’re one of them.

So thank you, thanks for making ‘Just Hold On’ with Louis and doing it with the beauty and sincerity Johannah deserved. Thanks for being such an incredible friend to him and a pillar of strength in the process. Thanks for making him feel so brave and special; he is, we all know it, sometimes we worry that he doesn’t though.

More than that, thank you for making him smile, and laugh, and remember that life is still beautiful even when it’s hard and that he’s never without people who will support him and remind him of Johannah; he’s never going to be on his own.

Thanks for making our sunshine shine again, and thanks for being a light of your own.

Fans of One Direction are starting a new project to thank Steve for everything he’s done and you can find out more information by visiting @ThankYouAoki on Twitter. Submissions are open for the next couple weeks so make sure you get yours in soon. Tweet us at @CelebMix1D and let us know what you’d like to thank Steve for.

Written by Ashley

Writer, coffee drinker, mother.