A good percentage of Tinder dates lead to lifelong relationships, and for Armando Orona and Zandi Ashley, it was love at first sight…..musically. Though it didn’t work out romantically between the pair, their initial meeting launched them into continuous jam sessions upon discovering they had such similar musical tastes and abilities. About 6 months later, the duo Scorpio Szn was born. To think, “it all happened because two people ditched us!”, Ashley jokes. Their name derives from their shared Astrology sign, Scorpios, and taken from the “Scorpio Season” phrase, except they thought their spelling was way cooler, or according to Ashley, “an aesthetic.” Like the creation of their stage name, what drew Orona and Ashley together so quickly, and has kept them together, is the natural connection between them.
Orona grew up in a family full of musicians. “I remember all of my uncles always singing to my grandma for Mother’s Day,” he recalls. He learned how to play instruments in a school band, then went on to play with his family in more professional settings. He’s skilled at the guitar, trumpet, trombone, bass, piano and ukelele (casual, right?), and while he used to be more focused on bass, he now prefers to shine on guitar. With Ashley, “it clicked because this wasn’t a paid gig, where I would just perform for a check and go home. This came so natural. I didn’t have to think about it, and I liked being more involved in the creative process.” She agrees, “we work so well together. We want the best for each other and it involves us both.” Even if they aren’t on the same page about something, which they both agree happens very rarely, they always strive to compromise. “We are open to each other’s ideas and have a deep understanding and love for each other,” Ashley says.
Having the musical aspirations all in the family was not the case for Ashley growing up. “I wasn’t surrounded by musicians,” she says. “My dad really wanted me to find a passion that I loved, so I tried ice skating and cheerleading, but really got stuck on piano once I tried it.” Though her aunt taught her how to play Beauty and The Beast on the piano and it’s a memory she’ll always cherish, for her, nothing compares to songwriting. “I’ve always used music to get me out of depression, so with my songs I wanted to provide that to somebody else.”
Their first single they wrote together and released, titled “It’s Weird”, means a lot to them both and has been declared their forever favorite. Ashley describes the song as “going through life’s seasons; we had a 3 hour talk about life and our futures and how confusing and uncertain they seemed to be.”All the more relevant now in pandemic times, the relatability they aim for certainly hit the mark with this one. Orona actually had the chord progression already in his head for a year before that, waiting for the perfect words to someday find it. So when he started strumming it on his guitar, Ashley immediately flowed in with the lyrics.
This give-and-take approach to their songwriting is typical for them, and makes it quite an easier process. They say it depends which comes first, but Orona loves having melodies to work from, and if Ashley has the music first, she can complete a song “in 30 minutes.” Their newest song, “Favorite Song”, and one of their previous tracks, “Favorite Rosé”, actually came about as a result from Orona’s music production class projects at Full Sail University. Ashley is also a FSU alum, and convinced Orona to go there after she thought their program helped her exponentially on her musical journey.
Their next single, “Sugar Sugar”, will debut March 26th, and they gave Fab Features a sneak peek about what to expect. “It’s crazy, it’s funky; I just love it!”, Ashley exclaims. “Sugar Sugar is not shy at all, it’s flirty and direct; Favorite Song is more about getting to know somebody over time. They’re purposely complete opposites.” Orona loves experimenting with new sounds for their music, so “Sugar Sugar” is heavily inspired by Japanese City pop. He explains it as “a nostalgic-feeling; 80s pop, but with a modern twist and lots of instruments,”such as the saxophone he’ll be playing for the first time on the new record.
They’re also keeping busy by releasing a new acoustic version of “Favorite Rosé” on February 26th. Looking even further into the future, they hope to soon get back to playing shows and maybe even see one of their favorite bands, Oh Wonder, since Ashley “love(s) their chill sound.” While touring is the main goal Orona and Ashley see themselves hopefully doing for the rest of their careers, they are content with continuing to just write and make music. Specifically, Ashley clarifies, relatable music. “For creative people like us, it’s the closest we’ll ever feel to being like a God.”