Chris Young Cafe Opens at Middle Tennessee State University, Features Mural of Country Stars and Friends

by Suzanne Halliburton

Chris Young truly is giving back to his community. The country star is providing a venue and the equipment so that music students at his alma mater will have everything they need for their dreams.

Young helped christen the Chris Young Cafe, which is nestled on the campus of Middle Tennessee State, this week. The cafe will allow student musicians to perform, while producers can learn their stagecraft. The students who want to explore the music business also have a space in the cafe.

Chris Young tweeted Wednesday: “Never dreamed I’d have an entertainment space on the @MTSU campus with my name on it!! Wow!

Chris Young Went To School At MTSU Before His Career Took Off

Chris Young was a student at Middle Tennessee State back in the early 2000s. He even grew up in Murfreesboro. He won the reality singing show “Nashville Star” in 2006, which helped launch his career. Within four years, Young enjoyed two No. 1 singles. The earned nominations for a CMA and a Grammy.

Now, more than a decade later, he wants to help kids who hustled like he did back in the day. That’s why he donated $50,000, making the Chris Young Cafe a reality.

“I hope it’s everything from people going down there to perform to people learning all the skills to go along with that,” Chris Young told The Tennessean. “Any time an artist says ‘me and my crew’ they’re not just talking about their guitar player. … they’re talking about the manager, the business manager, the person [doing] videography. 

“I hope it’s a place where people can engage and, hopefully, meet new people and continue to grow whatever they’re doing in their career.” 

Young even donated some of his equipment.

“Even if you’ve got a couple years’ worth of effort in some road mics, they’re still very much live and can be used,” Young said. “I thought that was a great way to repurpose (the equipment) and put it somewhere people would get use out of it.” 

Cafe Is Chock Full Of Memorabilia

The cafe already was on campus. It was known as the “Cyber Cafe.” But the 4000-square foot space was refurbished. It can be used as a music lab during the day. MTSU officials then envision a performance a week at the club at night.

There is all sorts of Chris Young memorabilia. And there’s a large mural featuring some of Young’s friends and some country stars who have helped him along the way.

He’s hoping the cafe will be “a space for people to be able to learn. “As far as being a songwriter and wanting to create music, the stuff that I learned while I was (at MTSU) was invaluable,” Young said. 

And maybe he’ll stop by to check out the music.

“That’ll be something kinda cool,” Young said.

For more Chris Young coverage on Outsider, check out this story about his collaboration with Kane Brown. The single is called “Famous Friends,” which also has references to Young’s hometown.