Details: This is your first trip to New York City. What do you think?
Dylan LeBlanc: It really freaked me out, to tell you the truth. I just think about all the tall buildings, and so many people. Everyone looks really, really sad here. But I've been surprised how nice people have been to me. I met everybody at Rough Trade. They're really special people, and they believe in me.
Details: So you spent most of your life in Louisiana?
Dylan LeBlanc: I spent most of my life in the South. I've never really been up north. I've never flown before. It was pretty scary, but I think I did okay—I did better than I anticipated.
Details: When did you start to play?
Dylan LeBlanc: I started writing heavily when I was about 14. My father is a songwriter who writes for a country-music artist. So I grew up listening to a lot of country music. I was pretty tired of it after a while, actually. I've always wanted to do something a little different, but every time I sit down to write something it ends up sounding like country and I'm like, "Dang it."
Details: Did your father teach you a lot?
Dylan LeBlanc: Yeah, he would say, "Just write all the time." And I ended up playing about six nights a week. When you're really inspired, a lot of the songs come together in just 10 minutes. [My album] isn't groundbreaking; it's just something I was feeling.
Details: Why did you call your album Paupers Field?
Dylan LeBlanc: I just have a thing for the poor. Like, this past week, there was a homeless dude. I was trying to have a conversation, to see how hard it is. I just like to listen to people, to hear them talk. I think all the songs are buried in Paupers Field. It's like a place you can go into and observe all the graves, like all the people in the stories.
Details: But despite your own modest, solitary background, you want to be famous?
Dylan LeBlanc: Not, like, really famous. I just want a good following of people that like to hear my music and come out to hear shows. I guess it doesn't matter how many people come, as long as there's somebody out there who cares about what's going on on stage.
Details: It just seems like a different pace of living than what you're used to.
Dylan LeBlanc: Not really. I mean, before this my life was just nothing but music, and now it's still nothing but music. You have to sell it, and it takes a lot of hard work.
Details: So music was always supported and encouraged in your home?
Dylan LeBlanc: I really never felt all that welcome in my mother's house. My parents divorced when I was really young. [Living with my father] meant I could always play music because he would always say yes.
Details: You have a twin sister. What's that like?
Dylan LeBlanc: She's my best friend. She's really brought me out of trouble—I would get drunk and call her. She picked me up off the side of the road a bunch of times when I was wandering aimlessly through Shreveport and Muscle Shoals, you know, just absolutely insane. I owe a lot to her.
Details: Sounds as though you went through a rather difficult period at a fairly young age. How did that begin?
Dylan LeBlanc: Well, [alcoholism] runs in my family, and it's just hard to stop when you start. I'm always scared I'm gonna lose it. And yeah, I was very unhappy—just lonely. I was mostly by myself, and I just felt like a burden on people. I had really low self-esteem, so that caused me to get into trouble—drinking... stuff like that.
Details: Do you ever regret dropping out of high school at 16?
Dylan LeBlanc: I've learned a lot just living my life and reading and observing people. That's what I value more than anything—getting a lot of time to really figure out who I was before I reached the age of 20. I think that's why I get along with people. I'm not supersmart or anything; I just think I can feel people pretty intensely.
Details: In light of your new experience in New York, how will you approach your future career in music?
Dylan LeBlanc: I just try to take it all in and enjoy it. It's really hard to just enjoy yourself and be stress-free. I'm still working on it. Thinking about things way too much, I can drive myself crazy. I feel like I'm in therapy right now.
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