Princess Nostalgia
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Princess Nostalgia

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | SELF

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2017
Solo Pop Electronic





Spare, then lush. Breezy, then poetic. Funk, R&B, electronica, pop. The only thing that doesn’t vary throughout Princess Nostalgia’s irresistible, self-produced song catalogue is a bittersweet sense of the past, and a fearless curiosity about the present. - Quadio

"Princess Nostalgia, 'Thank Heavens 4 Opposable Thumbs'"

Memo to rappers and producers of the world: Do not ask Princess Nostalgia whether she wants to sing on your track. I'll save you the trouble. The pop/R&B singer-songwriter/producer is not interested. But budding beatsmiths and rhyme slingers shouldn't take it personally. It's not that the Italian-born, Pittsburgh/Burlington-based University of Vermont student thinks you suck, necessarily. It's just that she's solely focused on crafting her own work, the bedrocks of which are her muscular instrumentals and beats.

That's not to say that the artist, real name Lilian Traviato, is dismissive of herself as a vocalist and lyricist. But those facets, ones that would likely pigeonhole her if she weren't such a staunch self-advocate, are only part of the show.

Princess Nostalgia's debut album, Thank Heavens 4 Opposable Thumbs, is nothing short of a revelation. Low, deep tones often take center stage in her luscious pop compositions, which makes sense given that Traviato's first instrument was the double bass. She layers her songs with chunky synths and other midi sounds, all pumping and circulating around her effects-heavy vocals and often-enigmatic lyrics.

"No Guru," the first of the album's eight tracks, begins with Champagne-bubble synths and rounded bass notes that gurgle under Traviato's motto: "I will never need a guru."

The wiry bass notes and demonic laughter that open "Gestalt Switch" conjure images of a haunted cathedral. The song eventually breaks down into layered gothic harmonies, like something out of the sexiest church service ever.

A murky din of protesters (or are they voices emanating from hell?) introduces Traviato's most overtly political tune, "Podium Playground." Condemning the ouroboros of capitalism and politics on the jaunty banger, she cleverly uses "we" and "I" pronouns instead of "they" ("I like 'em incarcerated, undereducated / So I can have more money for me, me, me"). She indicates that we're all complicit while simultaneously inciting a dance party.

"Ode to Boy," a near-folk-rock tune originally released in 2018 during the peak of the #MeToo movement, empathizes with men and boys rather than condemns them. "No wonder you're so sick," she sings, indicting the system that instills toxic masculinity rather than the individual. Joe Leytrick, the only outside collaborator heard here, lays down a smooth acoustic riff throughout.

The serpentine "The Talking Drug" is a slinky slow-jam that seems to fetishize and scrutinize the art of conversation. At her most melismatic, Traviato stretches out the word "sincerely" into 10 syllables, molding it to fit her grand design. She closes with "Love Me Long Time," a self-love anthem that sounds like it emanates from a crystalline music box.

As Princess Nostalgia, Traviato consistently defies convention while simultaneously bringing together familiar elements of pop R&B from the last four decades. I can't wait to see what she does next. - Seven Days

"‘Dolly Parton’s America’ Podcast Inspired Princess Nostalgia’s Electropop “Jolene” Cover"

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” has been a country staple for decades now, but in recent years we’ve seen some wild genre-crossing covers. From Lingua Ignota’s industrial nightmare to Chiquis and Becky G’s south-of-the-border Spanish flair to 48 Cameras’ creepy David Lynch fever dream, extremely non-country “Jolene”s have abounded of late.

The latest comes from producer, singer, and songwriter Princess Nostalgia, who gives the tune a bouncy electropop sheen, changing up the rhythm and emphasizing the song’s homoerotic undertones. In an email, she describes the origins of her cover:

“My personal journey into Dolly Parton’s world began when Radiolab released the podcast series, Dolly Parton’s America. Needless to say, I was late to the party. Obviously, I was blown away by her musical genius. Perhaps more importantly, I was deeply touched by her spiritual power. As someone who has struggled to find forgiveness in my heart, Dolly’s way of navigating relationships was nothing short of a revelation. Nowhere is this fact made more evident than in her song, Jolene. Instead of slandering her for being a man-stealing whore (as most country “cheating songs” sung by women tend to do), Dolly Parton instead pays homage to Jolene’s incredible beauty and power—suggesting that she might be more than just envious… In a cultural climate that often views country music with scorn, I was excited to prove that great songwriting transcends the limitations of genre. In directing and editing this music video, my aim was not only to pay tribute to an artist that renewed my faith in humanity, but also to shed light on the homoerotic interpretation of the song put forth by the folks at Radiolab. The video therefore features two parallel universes: one in which I am jealous of Jolene and another in which I am in love with Jolene.” -

"Spotlight–Princess Nostalgia"

Princess Nostalgia is a producer and singer (emphasis on producer) from Pittsburgh. She makes sleek pop music with a strong R&B influence and a philosophical lyrical bent; her songs have the ability to get both your body and your mind moving.

As the afternoon of Saturday, July 13th moved along, I decided to leave the shady confines of the Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse and Whiskey Garden (where ForeverWEST had just performed) and venture to air conditioned pastures. More specifically, Penn Brewery, located on Vinial St on the edge of the Troy Hill neighborhood.

Princess Nostalgia was slated to perform at the brewery’s restaurant area; she was one of the local artists that rapper Leek Lone had recommended during his interview with Bored In Pittsburgh, so I wanted to catch her set. I’m pretty sure some of the times had been changed after the event brochures were printed, though, so it turned out that I had an hour to kill before Princess Nostalgia took the floor. I was resigned to the terrible fate of sampling delicious craft beers, which I can assure you I did not enjoy in the slightest.

After spending 30 minutes listening to my two bar companions (mentioned in the intro to the Deutschtown Musical Festival retrospective) viciously complain about their significant others and repeatedly tout their own intelligences, I was ecstatic when Princess Nostalgia took the mic and drowned them out. She peppered her audience banter with references to philosophy and psychology, along with an offbeat sense of humor (she was selling t-shirts that featured a cartoon figure with blue pubic hair), and her set would have been interesting even if her songs hadn’t been good. Princess Nostalgia, however, happens to make some awesome music as well.

Princess Nostalgia identifies first and foremost as a producer, since she puts together her own instrumentals; singing is just something that she does to complement her compositions. Even though it’s not the dominant aspect of her musical persona, her vocals are quite strong, well-controlled and not at all flashy, the perfect delivery system for her heady, existentialist musings. The songs themselves glide along with the smooth, subdued bounce of 90’s R&B, and are often sprinkled with tight, funky guitar licks. The music isn’t all nostalgia, though (pun semi-intended), and is given a distinctly modern edge through the use of subtle synth flourishes, reminding me a bit of Minneapolis indie pop outfit Poliça. Whatever you compare it to, Princess Nostalgia’s music has certainly found its own niche.

I need to take a second here to sing the praises of the Princess’s newest single, “The Talking Drug,” sung from the perspective of a person crushing on their therapist. I think I had actually heard some of this song before she performed it at Penn Brewery, but I’ve had it stuck in my head the entire week since. A slinky, slow-burner, it’s a bit more futuristic than some other Princess Nostalgia tracks, and the decision to wait a whole 90 seconds before introducing the song’s indelible guitar riff is a stroke of genius. It caused a huge, goofy grin to spread involuntarily across my face the second I heard it (the beer probably helped with that, but I swear it was mostly the music). Any sensible music fan will have the same reaction. - Bored in Pittsburgh

"Princess Nostalgia & Father Figuer"

Princess Nostalgia has been making waves from Burlington to her native Pittsburgh with her genre expanding tunes. With a sound grounded in R&B, hip-hop, pop and higher consciousness, this Princess will be leaving the crowd grooving and thinking. - Get NEKed

"Princess Nostalgia Answers to No One But Herself"

Nineteen-year-old musician/producer Lilian Traviato arrived in Burlington last fall as many young adults do: restless, eager, totally alone and ready to begin her college experience at the University of Vermont. But a globe-trotting gap year, which included a stint at a Danish folk school near Copenhagen, left the first-year student in a bit of a fog as structure returned to her life.

"The first month I was here, I was miserable," the R&B singer-songwriter says while sipping tea in a downtown Burlington café.

"I wasn't involved in anything yet," Traviato continues. "But as I've discovered Burlington and gotten involved — like, complete 180. I love Burlington and UVM. I feel like I'm self-actualizing here."

Evidence of Traviato's burgeoning self-assuredness can be seen, and heard, in her work under the moniker Princess Nostalgia — in particular, in her recently released music video for "Lost and Found," the opening cut from her 2017 eponymous album. Both song and video are strong productions, characterized by a playful and timely subversion of gender roles and power dynamics. Together they suggest that Traviato isn't just in tune with the zeitgeist, she is the zeitgeist: a young, self-empowered female artist in complete control of her creative life, from engineering to video directing to album art. She's a master craftswoman in the making.

The petite brunette artist was born in Rome. In a mellow, friendly voice, she describes her pre-tween years as an idyllic childhood, recalling carefree days Rollerblading in the gardens of the Villa Borghese, a palace turned art gallery. She relocated to Pittsburgh with her mother, artist Shannon Pultz, and brother at age 8.

Transitioning from international hub to rust-belt industrial city was a drastic change. Traviato's father, Ralph, still lives in Italy, and she visits him regularly.

"I've talked to other people who've, in a sense, been pulled from their homes," says the self-taught electronic producer. "When you go back, [there's] this feeling that people who've been in one place their whole life don't get — especially when you're pulled away at a young age."

There's a word for that feeling, and it's incorporated into her moniker.

"Nostalgia is my favorite feeling," she says with a smile.

Traviato's musical education began with classical training on the double bass, which was twice her size when she started playing at age 9. Though she doesn't play currently, electronic bass is prominent in her music.

"I think what I learned from playing the bass was how to arrange things," she muses. "I usually start with a bass line."

The first Princess Nostalgia tracks emerged around the time Traviato graduated from high school in 2016. Prior to that, her only music production experience was augmenting Apple loops to soundtrack "embarrassing" videos she made with her friends growing up.

Deep synth tones drive many of her soulful, danceable pop jams, such as the wonky bump-and-grind "Let It Spin" — from her debut 2016 EP Practically Civilized — and the slow-burning "Dr Dogma," from her self-titled 2017 follow-up. Incidentally, the latter includes a track called "Princess Nostalgia," written earlier in her career. Traviato retroactively appropriated the title as her stage name.

Lyrically, she combines abstraction with transparent intimacy. On "Princess Nostalgia" she sings plaintively, "I like to take my time / I can't tell wrong from right." While on "Lost and Found," she confounds, singing, "Tabula rasa / My only master / Join the disaster / She's the mold, and you're the plaster."

With an overflowing MIDI library of instruments and samples, such as flutes, strings and all manner of synthesizers, Traviato never wants for dynamic sounds. She sometimes ponders what her work would sound like if fleshed out with live instrumentation, but she always arrives at the same decision.

"I would love to have real instruments and to connect with people in that way would be amazing," she says. "But I love not answering to anyone. Having full control is what makes it so fun."

Her empowerment is realized in the "Lost and Found" video, which marks her third directorial outing. Dressed in a dapper men's suit and puffing a fat cigar, Traviato lords over a coterie of scantily clad, good-looking dudes. They fan her, feed her grapes, polish her shoes, and also endure a bit of harassment and, most notably, objectification.

For instance, in a spoof of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio's famous "Draw me like one of your French girls" scene in James Cameron's Titanic, Traviato subverts gender roles by placing herself behind the sketch pad while a nearly naked gent poses on a chaise lounge.

Oblique connections to the #MeToo movement are evident, but they aren't the main focus.

"I try to stay away from being too overly political," Traviato says, noting her preference for whimsy. "I wanted to do [the video] without getting too dark or heavy in a way that's too angry or hateful."

Repeat performances at the Light Club Lamp Shop's weekly literature open mic, as well as her positive outlook, caught the attention of Rajnii Eddins, a poet and rapper who organizes poetry events in the area. He tapped Traviato as the only invited guest at ArtsRiot's January Poetry Riot.

"Expect to see great things from this rising star," Eddins writes in an email to Seven Days. He adds that Burlington is "fortunate to have her adding her light to our music and poetry communit[ies]."

And he's not the only one who's taken notice.

"[I] get so many guys approaching [me] — not only being creepy, but asking me to collaborate with them in a way that's actually insulting," Traviato says in a slightly exasperated tone. "It's clear they don't respect the amount of work and effort [I put in].

"They just want my vocals on their track," she continues, explaining that she feels those invitations reduce her to her singing voice. "I don't want to do that, because I consider myself primarily a producer and a writer. I have my own voice."

That's not to say Traviato is entirely opposed to musical partnerships — she's just skeptical. So far, collaborations have been minimal. Pittsburgh singer-songwriter HANK the Businessman provided guitar samples for her two latest tracks, "Satisfied" and "All It Takes." Additionally, Traviato says some coproductions with Burlington rapper/producer Christopher Morel (formerly Face One) are forthcoming.

"I've been nothing but enthralled by her work," Morel writes, citing her songwriting, poetry, visual art and videos. "She embodies beauty amid every platform she embrace[s]."

Traviato's output is prolific. New songs appear on her SoundCloud page frequently.

"I release singles when I'm excited," she says. "Once it feels like a certain phase or period is complete, I put them all out [as an album] and move on. There's no structure or plan."

That may be true of how Traviato rolls out her recorded work, but her strategy is unambiguous when it comes to the expansion of her local profile.

"It's about networking with other people who care," she says. "[Until recently,] my only audience was Facebook — and no one gives a shit." - Seven Days

"Daily Yinz – Princess Nostalgia – Thank Heavens 4 Opposable Thumbs"

Pittbsurgh/Vermont-based artist Lili Traviato’s latest album as Princess Nostalgia, Thank Heavens 4 Opposable Thumbs, is out today, and represents her most fully realized work to date.

Lili Traviato has always identified herself as a producer first and a singer second. She hammers the point home at every opportunity because of the countless times people have assumed that someone else (probably a dude) put her instrumentals together for her. It’s a matter of both accuracy and pride; as Traviato told Bored In Pittsburgh earlier this year, “I was born with my singing voice, but my abilities as a producer have taken years to cultivate. It’s like people think my music is good by accident…”

Traviato’s new release as Princess Nostalgia, Thank Heavens 4 Opposable Thumbs, is very good, and it’s certainly not by accident. The album represents her most polished, intricately-crafted work to date. She’s given her slinky R&B bounce a coating of space age gloss, which is reflected in the album’s artwork (Princess Nostalgia’s signature blue-pubed humanoid riding a cloud through the universe at warp speed). Several tracks are reworks of previous releases; Traviato is something of a perfectionist, a fact for which listeners should be thankful. For example, the astro-funk bopper “Gestalt Switch,” which had been released as a single in 2018, packs a beguiling wallop that was only hinted at in its original iteration.

Fittingly, Thank Heavens 4 Opposable Thumbs begins and ends with statements of independence. Opener “No Guru,” which has squeaked past “The Talking Drug” (a seductive, guitar-led funker also included on the album) as my favorite Princess Nostalgia track, focuses on the phrase “I will never need a guru,” which Traviato repeats like a koan in radiant, multi-tracked harmony overtop percolating synths and rubber band bass. The warm, hip-hop-adjacent ballad “Love Me Long Time” closes things out with another affirmation of self-reliance (“Get out my mental space/Never deserved it anyway”). The music sandwiched between these two tracks is rich, elastic, and lively. Traviato has a meticulous ear for detail, which she credits to her years playing the double bass, an instrument that acts as the subtle, yet essential, backbone of any arrangement. Peep the barely perceptible drones and bubbles that transform “Master SpaceTime” into a dubby slow-burner, the ambient crowd noise that adds extra fire to the sardonic protest anthem “Podium Playground,” and the childlike “Hey!” interjections sprinkled throughout “Love Me Long Time” that give the track an air of nostalgic purity. It’s little flourishes like these that lend the album depth and personality.

It’s clear that Traviato put in the work while creating this album, and the results speak for themselves. The Princess Nostalgia sound continues to evolve, deepen, and expand over time, which, again, once more for the people in the back, is a testament to the artist’s skill as a PRODUCER. Thank heavens for Thank Heavens 4 Opposable Thumbs. - Bored in Pittsburgh


“I’ll tell you this: when I first started getting involved in the music scene, I was more naive. There’re so many men who just don’t take you seriously and are condescending. I try to keep a balance of being open and not assuming the worst, but also… fuck that. I’ve had a lot of guys ask me to sing on their beats. I’m not just a singer.”

Princess Nostalgia is protective of her work. “It’s like having a baby.”

Particularly, the multi-talented artist’s music excels. Dancing to it isn’t hard because Princess Nostalgia’s “arrangements” are funky. Watch her music videos. Her charisma dominates scenes as she makes weird movements that she calls dancing. “I don’t want to take myself too seriously,” Nostalgia said.

“Everything in the mix I’ve written and played myself.” She also gave herself credit for her own graphic design work. “I’m proud of all my album art,” Princess Nostalgia declared. “There’s so much of your character in how you produce stuff,” she finished.

The stage name Princess Nostalgia comes from 20-year-old Lili Traviato feeling nostalgic about her childhood amongst the ancient ruins of Rome. “Every time I go back, I’ve changed, but the [eternal city] stays the way it’s been for even thousands of years.” Her dad lives there, who also had his time as a musician in the ‘80s. Some of Princess Nostalgia’s songs, like “Robert Says” from her self-titled 2017 mixtape sample music or lyrics from her father. His writing is very “sappy” for love songs she mentioned. “Mine tends to be a bit more pretentious and philosophical,” Nostalgia said as she often challenges patriarchal society.

On record, Lili called funk her biggest musical influence. Princess Nostalgia’s bass lines spin a groovy tinge into her songs. Hear her strings training. She started playing double bass in fourth grade. She played for 10 years. Pleasant guitar strokes. Although, there’s a clear hip-hop influence too Nostalgia acknowledged. “Master SpaceTime” has bloops, synths and a hard kick. Listeners could imagine British grime star Skepta on “Willem Bounce.” Dr. Dre’s “2001” instrumental album is among the top plays on Lili’s Spotify account.

Now spending most of her time at university in Burlington, Vt., Princess Nostalgia navigates music scene there dominated by jam bands and hip-hop heads. They “all just want me to be a singer,” she said. Despite the overwhelming dominance of men in the music industry, she has the support of some great artists from the area, and she has a valuable opportunity to get comfortable on stage in front of intimate crowds in Burlington.

Luckily to her hometown’s credit, collaboration has been more natural for Princess Nostalgia in Pittsburgh’s music ecosystem. “I haven’t worked with anyone from Vermont just Pittsburgh,” she said. Local guitarist Joe Leytrick has added to Princess Nostalgia’s work. “We have to understand each other and know we’re interested in the same thing,” she said. While she’s able to connect to the scene in The ‘Burgh, with others like producer Buscrates, she doesn’t consider herself part of it unless through the Internet. “I know who all the people are in Pittsburgh who are artists and trying to make something happen,” she said about the scene.

Taking time to develop herself as a brand, Lili has invested into Princess Nostalgia as a business. At a Starbucks, she sat at the computer figuring out how to copyright Princess Nostalgia’s songs. She’s reading two books: “Everything You Need to Know About the Music Business” and “How to Monetize Your Music Career.” Ideally, she will pursue music full-time after graduation. “I don’t want to be financially dependent on anyone or any men,” she said.

Next Princess Nostalgia looks forward to releasing a longer album featuring some of the singles she’s already dropped. Eyeing strategy, a cinematic music video will help promote her new album. She also plans to re-release some of her old songs to make everything sound “polished.” Being critical, she thinks some of her tracks sound like demos. “I take pride in my arrangements,” she said. - In the Rough

"Princess Nostalgia Review"

The Pittsburgh local music scene is underrated and scattered with hidden gems in terms of its musicians and Princess Nostalgia is one of those hidden gems. I’ll admit that I never got too into her music before, but after seeing her perform on live show I have become hooked on her music. Princess Nostalgia’s music is fascinating and ethereal, her voice is a soothing addition to the unique synth pop beats in the instrumentals of her songs. In terms of her visual performance she oozes confidence without ego in both her voice and the uninhibited way that she dances, lost in the music while she sings.

The songs themselves are very catchy and engaging. During each song I couldn’t help but begin to dance along to the beat much like the artist was, especially during her performance of “Let It Spin”, which has a keen ability to get stuck in your head for ages. Princess Nostalgia’s lyrics in her self named song, “Princess Nostalgia”, have you hooked on every word as she sings about how she wants to better herself in her own life. Overall Princess Nostalgia is a gem for people who like pop and synth pop songs that don’t lose their charm with each replay. - WPTS radio

"These six Vermont musicians were buzzworthy before the pandemic. What are they up to now?"

Lili Traviato is making a name for herself with the pop sounds of her stage name, Princess Nostalgia.

“In addition to my latest single ‘Ugly Lovely,’ I released another single called ‘Moonlight Inquisition’ last week and will be releasing my cover of ‘Jolene’ along with a music video for it this summer,” she wrote in an email. I’ve also started making short little visuals for my songs to share on Instagram using my green screen, am dabbling in stand-up comedy, and more generally am leaning into humor with all of my work.” - Burlington Free Press


Pittsburgh (by way of Rome) solo artist Lilian Traviato has been riffing on the bass guitar since she was eight years old. She has lamented that her affinity for the bass guitar has kept her “aware of the importance of a good groove.” Oddly enough I had been listening to a lot of Joy Division and its successor New Order. The bass player in both of these bands, Peter Hook, is without pun intended (well maybe a little bit) responsible for the sometimes hard edged and at others irresistibly dance-inducing thumps. Then there is of course one of these most famous bass players of all time, a fellow by the name of Paul McCartney, who’s bass lines infected so many of the Beatles classic tunes.

Throughout high school (Traviato is now eighteen) she began to experiment in garage band recording covers, her first being Lou Reed’s groove-laden classic “Walk on the Wild Side” and eventually began to write and record her own material. Her debut album Practically Civilized sounds remarkably polished, likely a result of her fastidious efforts.

Practically Civilized opens with “The Talking Drug” which is built on a synthetically bouncy early electronic art-beat reminiscent of early German electronic auteurs Kraftwerk, who Traviato also cites as an influence. This Kraftwerk influence bleeds through into the mellow swells of “Parade of Consolations” and keeps going strong into “Conversationally.” In this trio of songs however Traviato’s quiet yet firm vocals, steeped in R&B rhythms are what ties everything together and somehow makes it all work. This recipe is perhaps most potent on the positively lovely “Moolah Man.”

Traviato takes chances on Practically Civilized like on the just over a minute long “January” a spritely keyboard and effects ditty that eerily turns on a dime and allows her to experiment with her vocals and samples. Then comes the funky and radio-friendly groove “Let it Spin,” which sounds like Lily Allen remixed by Lauryn Hill. Lyrically, vocally and musically it has everything a radio friendly ear would want to hear on heavy rotation.

​Practically Civilized is by far one of the best records I’ve heard this year by an unsigned artist. Lilian Traviato sounds wise beyond her years. And though I can only assume that this record is the result of countless years of hard work, Traviato makes each song sound as though it was created effortlessly. - Divide and Conquer


2021 - Jolene (single)

2021 - Moonlight Inquisition (single)

2021 - Ugly Lovely (single)

2019 - Thank Heavens 4 Opposable Thumbs (album)

2019 - The Talking Drug (single)

2018 - Ode to Boy (single)

2017 - Lost and Found (single)

2017 - Princess Nostalgia (album)



Funk/electronic/pop artist Princess Nostalgia’s fingerprints cover every aspect of her work: she writes and produces her songs, directs and edits her videos, and designs her album art. During her four years at the University of Vermont, this diverse skill set catapulted her from open mic nights all the way to UVM’s Fall Fest and Grace Potter's Grand Point North Festival. Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Roman-born, Pittsburgh-raised artist pivoted the energy once saved for live music toward developing a career as a professional music producer. Currently juggling five different clients while working on her own projects (including an upcoming EP, International Cyberspace Law), Princess Nostalgia never intends to press pause on the funk.

Band Members