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Tinder moment: Meeting on dating app led to creation of buzz-worthy duo Scorpio SZN

The New Mexico-born duo Scorpio SZN recently released a single called “Sugar Sugar.” (Courtesy of Scorpio SZN)

A chance meeting on a networking and dating app led to the formation of the duo Scorpio SZN.

The name of the duo reflects the time of year that Armando Orona and Zandi Ashley formed it in 2018.

“Three years ago, we met on Tinder, and then we just hung out,” Orona said. “We made music together. I helped her do a music video for her own artist project, and then we just started to become really good friends. And one night during Scorpio season, like late October, Zandi and I were supposed to go on, like, dates with our significant others. We both got bailed on, so we just, like, hung out together. And then we just decided to make something together for real. And that’s literally how Scorpio SZN came to be.”

The duo would later leave and return to New Mexico. Each moved to Florida and lived there at different times. Orona, who is originally from Albuquerque, remains in Florida, and Ashley is now back in Rio Rancho. Ashley persuaded Orona to move to Florida to attend Full Sail University in Winter Park, where she had gone to school. The duo scheduled Zoom meetings to write music. Their recently released single, “Sugar Sugar,” was one of the songs written during the Zoom sessions. The song was Orona’s final project at the university.

“While he was working on it, I was writing the lyrics, I was actually back living at my mom’s in Rio Rancho when we were doing the writing process,” Ashley said. “So we were on Zoom having a writing session. I was just so proud to hear what he had come up with, because he’s has come such a long way in producing. And it was just really fun to write.”

Ashley’s lyrics in the song stemmed from personal experience. Musically, Orona was inspired by Japanese city pop and incorporated the genre in the song.

“Armando was telling me that city pop has this nostalgic feeling,” Ashley said. “So I kind of wanted to incorporate that in the lyrics, just having an adventure with someone and just having that story and having a fun time with another person with this significant other, and that’s how I came up with ‘Sugar Sugar.’ ”

“Sugar Sugar” is lively and funky.

“I’m a sucker for bass lines,” Orona said.”There are really funky bass lines. And city pop has a lot of funk, plus usually it has a lot of brass. I remember when Zandi and I were doing the Zoom writing call, I told her I was going to leave a space for a saxophone. … That’s why I have the saxophone on there. But it was definitely influenced by city pop. (There are) so many elements that my ear gets drawn to as a former brass player and enthusiast of funky bass lines and funky music in general.”

Scorpio SZN has released a dozen singles. Listeners can hear a variety of genres incorporated in the duo’s music including jazz, Latin and R&B.

Scorpio SZN has created quite a buzz for itself. The duo was named one of five finalists for NPR’s Tiny Desk competition. Its video for the song “Five” was featured in the Recording Academy’s GrammyU 2020 Virtual Conference. Its songs can be found on most music platforms, and its videos can be found by searching Scorpio SZN on YouTube.

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