One Direction Songwriter on Piano Guys' 'What Makes You Beautiful' Cover at Inaugural Ball: It 'Breaks My Heart'

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One Direction Up All Night

"To me the song is about love, joy, and acceptance. The fact that it was used to celebrate a man who stands for divisiveness and bigotry breaks my heart," Savan Kotecha tells Billboard.

When The Piano Guys performed at Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" inaugural concert on Thursday, the YouTube sensations got the attention of One Direction fans across the country when they covered the boy band's breakout hit "What Makes You Beautiful." Then they pulled out the cover again Friday (Jan. 20) at Trump's inaugural ball. What did the 1D guys think about being tied to Trump's inauguration celebration? And did The Piano Guys clear the cover before performing it on national television?

Well, Savan Kotecha -- one of the songwriters behind "Beautiful" -- is speaking out against the cover, lamenting the fact that a song "about love, joy and acceptance" was used to celebrate a president "who stands for divisiveness and bigotry."

"I wrote 'What Makes You Beautiful' for my wife," Kotecha wrote in an email to Billboard, just after taking to Twitter to reveal that The Piano Guys were "absolutely NOT given permission" to cover it. "To me the song is about love, joy, and acceptance. The fact that it was used to celebrate a man who stands for divisiveness and bigotry breaks my heart. I am the son of immigrants. My children are biracial. A ‘Trump America’ makes me worried for their future.

"I’m sure there is nothing I can do about the use of the song at the inauguration now, but i felt I needed to express my disappointment."

Even if there is nothing he can do, in Kotecha's tweet Friday he said he will be "looking into taking action."

Kotecha is behind dozens of hit songs, writing for Ariana Grande ("Into You," "Side to Side"), The Weeknd ("Can't Feel My Face," "In the Night"), Ellie Goulding ("Love Me Like You Do," "On My Mind"), Demi Lovato ("Cool for the Summer," "Really Don't Care") and many more pop stars. He's been vocal in his opposition to now-President Donald Trump on his Twitter account, including this tweet from Thursday:

So far, none of the 1D guys or the song's other writers -- Rami Yacoub and Carl Falk -- have spoken out about the inauguration cover.

Billboard has reached out to One Direction's label, Columbia Records, for further comment.

President Donald Trump Inauguration


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