Update, 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10, 2016: Information about Artiles’ new single was added.
For most people, Uber gets them from point A to point B. It’s a boring trip filled with small talk or even complete silence. But for the lucky Miamians and UM students who have been in Daynel Artiles’ car, Uber is more fun, and much louder.
Known as “The Singing Uber Driver,” Artiles has serenaded passengers for more than a year. Singing songs by artists including Justin Bieber, The Weeknd and Michael Jackson, Artiles belts out a variety of R&B and pop hits.
For Artiles, his car is his stage, and Uber is the way to launch his music career.
“When I thought of singing as a career, I needed something to reach people through,” Artiles said. “I started adding stuff like posters outside of my car and the disco lights. It’s like a club in my car. I want people to remember me.”
Artiles is working on establishing his platform through both his Uber passengers and social-media pages.
“The more exposure I get and the more people that know about me … Eventually, you get [signed by] a record label,” Artiles said. He compared the experience to how Justin Bieber was discovered through YouTube.
“I want to be known as the first person to be discovered through Uber,” Artiles said.
Artiles came to the U.S. from Cuba when he was 11 years old.
“My mom won the visa lottery, and because of her we were all able to come to the U.S.,” Artiles said. “That was a big blessing for us.”
For Artiles, the transition to living in the states wasn’t difficult.
“When you’re young, you adapt really quick,” Artiles said.
He explained that immigrating was more difficult for his older brother and parents.
“They’re older, so they needed more time to get used to the Miami craziness and lifestyle,” Artiles said, adding that it’s difficult to learn English in Miami.
“Miami’s like a country,” Artiles said. “It’s like North Cuba. The foreign language here is English.”
It’s the hectic lifestyle that makes Artiles feel at home when driving with UM students.
“The thing about UM students is they come from everywhere,” Artiles said. “Not only people from Miami are seeing [clips of Artiles singing], but people from New York, from other countries. It’s a good way to market.”
Besides being able to reach an international crowd, Artiles also has the easiest time connecting with college students.
“UM is my main audience,” Artiles said. “Young people like the music that I like.”
For college students, a trip in Artiles’ Uber is unforgettable.
“He’s a lot of fun to be around,” said Gina Panarese, a 20-year-old double major in accounting and business law at UM. “Every time I see Snap stories of my friends in Uber drivers with flashing lights having a great time, I know it’s him.”
Anthony Maristany, a 21-year-old neuroscience major at UM, and Luis Cardenas, a 19-year-old exercise science major at FSU, agreed. Both have known Artiles for years.
“I’ve actually been friends with Daynel for over six years now,” Maristany said. “His charm and ability to make one smile and laugh allow for a normally mundane and boring 10-minute car ride to become a memorable and fun thrill-ride.”
Cardenas met Artiles through church.
“Oh, it’s crazy,” Cardenas said about watching his friend become ‘The Singing Uber Driver.” “I know he’s not big yet, but maybe he will get there. And I’ll be able to say I personally knew him.”
Artiles works every day besides Sunday.
“Even when I’m not in the car, I practice,” Artiles said. “Sometimes my voice is really bad and I just need some rest. I sing for six straight hours every single day.”
Artiles sees a bright future after being discovered through Uber.
“Once you get signed to the record label, you start doing music for a living,” Artiles said. It’s the end of something, but the beginning of something greater.”
Recently, Artiles released a new single, “OXD.” “‘OXD’ was mainly influenced by the negative things and hardships that go on in the world,” Artiles said. “‘OXD’ does not stand for anything, but it’s a symbol of me, it’s a personality that describes me. For now, I just plan to keep releasing music non-stop, so stay tuned.”