USF junior Daniel Vaides gains music industry notice with rising band Los Aptos

November 18, 2021

University of Saint Francis junior Daniel Vaides and Los Aptos singer-guitarist Juan Ortega shared a love of soccer when they were kids. As they grew up and their paths diverged, they didn’t see each other as often as they once did.

When they ran into each other again a little over a year ago, they were eager to catch up. Vaides told Ortega about his pursuit of a Music Technology degree at USF, with a concentration in recording and production, live sound, and postproduction. Ortega talked to Vaides about his budding career as a musician and songwriter.

“That was the beginning of everything,” Vaides said. “As kids, we played soccer and I really didn’t think that we would end up making music together. It’s crazy where life can take you.”

The two longtime friends decided to collaborate. Los Aptos, which also includes Fort Wayne musicians Jony Rivera and Alex Rivera, hired Vaides to produce, record and engineer their album, “Lluvia y Sol,” on the VPS Music label. Their songs found an appreciative audience. The album has attracted more than 500,000 monthly streams through Spotify and has gained further attention through YouTube, TikTok, Apple Music and other platforms.

Los Aptos’ most recent song release, a cover of “La Cancion” by Bad Bunny, became available for streaming on Nov. 5 and was added to 21 editor playlists on Spotify alone. One of the playlists, Los Que Mandan, has nearly 3 million likes and its homepage image is sometimes featured in New York’s Times Square.

Vaides, a musician with a band of his own (Los Galaxies), played piano on “La Cancion,” as well as others on the “Lluvia y Sol” album.

“Los Aptos has become a major wave within the music that they’re doing,” Vaides said. “Some are starting to call the genre Sad Sierreño, but the group isn’t sure how their music should be categorized. They’re really starting a new wave.”

VPS Music was so impressed with Vaides’ work with the Los Aptos recording that it sent another artist, Danny Lux, from Palm Springs, California, to Fort Wayne to record with Vaides at USF.

“I really see this as a huge opportunity not only getting to work with Los Aptos and other artists in that genre but to get the ball rolling with my future and career as well,” Vaides said. “I want to be diverse in the genres I work with and that will make me a better musician, engineer and producer.”

Music Technology Director Miles Fulwider credits Vaides’ enthusiasm and work ethic for his early success.

“Daniel spent fall break making records for a record label,” Fulwider said. “He’s a great student and he works really hard. Now he’s being noticed. His life might change in a really cool way really soon, and that’s what we hope for.”

Vaides grew up on the southeast side of Fort Wayne and graduated from Woodlan High School. He chose USF because of its Music Technology program and to play on the men’s soccer team. He minors in business to bolster his knowledge for entrepreneurship aspirations.

A love of music runs in Vaides’ family. His father (Mario), sister (Ana) and brother (David) are all musicians and singers. His other brother, Israel, is a photographer and videographer who worked on Los Aptos’ promo photos and videos. Israel can be followed on Instagram at editedbyizv. Their mother, Irma, also comes from a musical family.

“I always loved music, even as a kid,” Vaides said. “I grew up playing the piano in church, and playing the drums, as well. In band, I played saxophone and trumpet and all of that helped me to get where I am today. The instrument that I focus on the most now is piano. It helps me with my creative levels in so many different ways and influences the way I make music.”

Vaides credits his USF professors with encouraging his professional opportunities while he is still pursuing his degree.

“It’s really life-changing because even now that I’m in school, my career is really starting to take off,” Vaides said. “It’s cool being in school and having these opportunities, because the professors are always ready to offer help with whatever I need. Plus, the facilities are amazing. Eventually, I want to work in a recording studio and continue with what I’m doing as an entrepreneur—engineering, producing and recording with different artists and labels.

“Life has been going in a lot of positive directions lately,” Vaides said. “Right now, I feel like nothing is impossible.”

Daniel Vaides can be followed on Instagram at danielvaides and Los Aptos on Instagram at _losaptos.