St. Louis Band Mammoth Piano Live for Next Performance | Music news and interviews | St. Louis | St. Louis News and Events

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Miranda Munguia

Vocalist and bassist Nanyamka Ewing (right) and guitarist Shawn Moses (left) are two members of Mammoth Piano, who will play the RFT‘s Art A’Fair on June 23.

Mammoth Piano exists in the gray space between a few styles of music. Its website says “alternative blues, rock, funk, punk and pop”. Yet vocalist and bassist Nanyamka Ewing has an affinity for one genre in particular.

“I’m a rocker through and through,” she says. “There’s nothing more punk and rock than being a black woman in America.”

Ewing epitomizes his self-proclaimed rocker title through bright eye makeup, bold, layered clothing (often complemented by a signature feather earring), and a low, slightly raspy voice. Ewing exudes confidence and charisma when she speaks, often punctuated by a laugh, her head thrown back.

In his daily life, Ewing wears many hats. She is a bartender, reads tarot cards, and handles most of the administrative duties for Mammoth Piano.

But what she really loves is music. Every day, Ewing is surrounded by music – from the lyrics she writes for Mammoth Piano to the bluesy tunes played at Sophie’s Artist Lounge, where she works. Ewing says he can sometimes get his hands on the playlist before the DJ arrives.

Ewing grew up in West County. Under the influence of Janet Jackson and MTV, she began singing in elementary school – first around the house, then in church groups and choirs. Ewing learned bass seven years ago, when he was 28, and started looking for bands to join. She played for Crazy Triple Ex-Girlfriend before splitting up to found Mammoth Piano five years ago.

Ewing raves about her fellow band members – whom she affectionately calls “the boys” – drummer Nick Wetzel, keyboardist Casey Fulghum and guitarist Shawn Moses.

“I was very comfortable showing off those layers and exposing myself to those people,” she says. “And we feel each other’s energy.”

Their music is catchy and driving, with a powerful rock drum beat and a jazzy keyboard. Ewing’s rich vocals glide over a subtle bassline, often with lyrics about romance or heartbreak. In Mammoth Piano’s latest single, “Care No More”, she sings farewell to a lover (“I salute you, I do / I’m not your boo anymore / I don’t care about you anymore”).

Mammoth Piano is planning an album release soon, re-recording their old EP and adding new material. Ewing says the band has never been stronger than it is right now.

Ewing has been in South City since graduating from Lindenwood University in 2017 with a BA in Human Resources. Unless she moves to her dream town of Gap, France, Ewing says she — and the band — will likely stay put.

“If I leave Saint-Louis, I leave the country,” she says. “Some of the best talent in the world, I think in the country, is [in St. Louis] and I saw it.

However, Ewing knows that establishing himself in the St. Louis art scene is not easy. She knows both how much opportunity and how much anonymity can come from starting as an artist here.

“The city gives and the city takes,” she says, smiling.

However, Ewing is dedicated to helping other artists find their footing.

“I want to help people develop their artistic talent,” she says. “Let’s invest in people who want to get the job done and care about others, who care about the city, who want to scream St. Louis from the top of their lungs.”

As the leader of Mammoth Piano, Ewing posts on social media, contacts event planners and attends meetings. But she is still thinking about this next performance.

“You spend most of your time training and putting stuff together, organizing, marketing and all that other stuff,” Ewing says. “You actually spent 10% of your time playing music. So you have to make that 10% count.

Ewing described being on stage as “being in a black hole”, when the band really clicks with each other. In those times, all the paperwork and hours of practice and meetings fade away. “You’re really in that zone,” she said. “I’m doing so many things to get back to this point.”

Catch Mammoth Piano at Riverside Timeart fair Thursday, June 24. Tickets are $25 online and at the door. Learn more here.

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