Poorly Made
Gig Seeker Pro

Poorly Made

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012

New York City, New York, United States
Established on Jan, 2012
Duo Rock Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Underground Sounds: The Story Behind the L Train's "Poorly Made" Pop Star"

Every block of New York is filled with something musical, from Brooklyn's DIY warehouses to Carnegie Hall's storied stage. Even the subways, with their clanging cars, screaming door-alarms, and over-crowded commutes can be an oasis of pleasant melodies (more so if James Murphy has his way). For Underground Sounds, City Guide will highlight the best buskers in New York—musicians who may not have made it to the big (or small) stage yet, but have found a way to survive by playing to the constantly-moving multitudes underneath the city.

I'm heading to Manhattan to run some errands after visiting a friend in Williamsburg. As I enter the Lorimer L station, I hear a softly strummed guitar and voice that manages to cut through all the noise. He's caught the attention of several people waiting for the train, and a woman tosses some change his way: "This guy is actually pretty good."

When I decide to make an approach to introduce myself, it's in the quiet between two trains. Commuters are still shuffling determinedly, but the station is mostly empty; our troubadour is taking a break. I soon learn that the singer/songwriter goes by the moniker Poorly Made, but that his first name is Mikhael. His music, acoustic folk—which Mikhael compares to The Tallest Man On Earth or Ed Sheeran on his Facebook page—could easily capture a crowd most any Brooklyn venue. (His guitar case, scattered with crumpled dollar bills, makes it apparent he's doing at least doing somewhat alright for himself.) Over the course of our short chat, Poorly Made tells me about busking for a living, why he chose this particular station, and how much he makes in an hour.

Interview and images by Nathan Reese

How did you start performing in subway stations?

I went to film school for like a whole year, and then when I was done I was shooting a whole bunch of short films and stuff, but it was like, infrequent work. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 16, and I was playing for my friends one day and they were like ‘dude, just play on the subway.’ So I did! And that’s what I do now. [Laughs]

How do you choose your spot to play?

Usually what I do is, I’ll come in and I’ll see where most people come from. Like, from here, most people are coming from the G train, coming up towards this bench. So I sit up here because they have to come past me. But usually if I go to a spot and there’s someone else there, you just ask them when they’re finished and then you’ll just come back when it’s a better time. It’s like an unwritten list.

Have you ever had a conflict when someone wanted to play in your spot?

One time I was right here and right across from me on that bench, this dude just starts playing, and I was like [shakes head and starts playing guitar] and he left.

I can tell you have a bit of an accent, where are you from originally?


How long have you been in the States?

I spent a year in Georgia, and I’ve been in New York for a year and a half, so two and a half years.

Aside from playing in the subway, do you ever book shows?

Oh yeah, I play all the time. I want to try and book my own shows soon, but right now I’m sticking to open mics and tryouts—things like that. Doing my recordings here and there. I played the Hollow Nickel Battle of the Bands. That’s the only battle of the bands I’ve ever been in, actually, and I won.

How much money do you usually make an hour, if you don't mind my asking?

Like, ten, twelve an hour?

Thanks so much for talking to me. I'll let you get back to work.

For more on Poorly Made, and to hear more of his music, check him out Facebook. - Complex Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



Mikhael Naylor was born on May 8th 1994 and raised in London England. He grew up in a predominantly rap and reggae environment. At the age of 15, he bought guitar hero with some friends and it was here that he realized his love for the instrument. Shortly after, Mikhael's mom bought him his first acoustic guitar for about $40 off Amazon. The first song he would play would be his own. He did not know how to play anything else.


He would soon move to the United States where he began to sing. When he moved to New York he and a group of friends formed a band called "The Dorms." The other two group members would soon move to different places, leaving Mikhael with his guitar and a ton of experience.


Soon after, Mikhael met JP whilst fundraising. The two began to play music together just for fun. After getting some good reactions, they decided to become a band and go by the name “Poorly Made”. We all view rocks as worthless, but when you put it under pressure it becomes a diamond. Diamonds are still rocks, we all just give it worth, hence the name, Poorly Made.


JP was born on March 16, 1992 in London England. After hearing the song, “Zigeunerweisen” by Pablo Sarasate he knew instantly that he wanted to play the violin.  His mom bought him his first violin at the age of 6. He was then recommended by a teacher to attend private lessons. When JP turned 10 he moved to San Antonio. While being influenced by his southern surroundings, he picked up the guitar and fell in love with music even more.


JP moved to different cities for a few years and got exposed to many diverse cultures and ways of life. With these experiences, he would turn them into songs. In 2013 he met Mikhael and they instantaneously connected through music. It was not until 2014 that they came together to form the band now known as Poorly Made.

Amazing guitar skills, a voice built to move any crowd, and incredible violin abilities is what makes up Poorly Made. Mikhael and JP have a great amount of passion and are looking forward to their journey.

Band Members