As an entrepreneur, song-writer, band member, student, friend and brother, Colin Hatch has learned a lot about following his dream of a career in music.
In May 2011, Colin Hatch and Justin Hyatt, a fellow student and friend, bought Muse Music Cafe, fulfilling a plan they had in the works for more than a year.
“We originally wanted to open a restaurant,” Hatch said. “But when a friend told us that Muse was for sale, we knew that would be perfect for us and acted immediately. We found some investors and bam, it was ours.”
Hatch explained that buying Muse Music Cafe was a great opportunity. They reviewed the numbers and tracked its progress. Muse already had a great reputation and a pretty steady following. Together, he and Hyatt formed a business plan, reviewed it with business professionals and lawyers, and after time, their dream became a reality.
Before they bought Muse, it was known as the place where every band got their start — a beginner band’s venue. Hatch and Hyatt had a different vision in mind for Muse though.
“We wanted to collaborate and connect BYU students to their community,” Hyatt said. “Our goal was to create a community center where people can feel comfortable sharing art, music and thought. The key to our success was mine and Colin’s enthusiasm for the scene. Without it, I don’t think we could have been as successful as we were.”
Running a business while staying on top of the demands placed upon media music majors was overwhelming for Hatch. His school work suffered and he sacrificed relationships. He and Justin also felt Muse deserved more than what they could offer it, so in June, Hatch and Hyatt decided to sell a majority of their shares to two of their hardest working, enthusiastic, music-loving employees, Debby Phillips and Darcie Roy.
“We weren’t doing Muse justice, and we weren’t doing our lives justice,” Hatch said. “It was nice to own it and know that doing so was within my capacity. Looking back, I’m like wow, I can do this. But a year of learning was enough. I can’t imagine two better people for Muse than Debby and Darcie. They have done way better at everything Justin and I wanted to do for it. Looking back though, I have no regrets. I learned a lot about my career that I would’ve learned later on. I did not believe owning a business was so doable, but it really is. You just have to be passionate about what you’re doing. That’s what has kept Muse alive, and that’s what will keep it going.”
Debby Phillips, current co-owner of Muse, said she and Darcie Roy were very enthusiastic at the chance of buying Muse.
“We saw it as our chance to give back to the community,” Phillips said. “Music and art have so much power for good, and Muse is a great place for people to share it. Our goal is to take it to the next level.”
Phillips and Roy work closely with Hatch and Hyatt to put together goals for Muse’s future. Though they sold a majority of their shares, they each still retain 10 percent. Hatch is still primarily in charge of the recording studio. Along with putting together bigger and better shows by attracting more well-known artists, they want to emphasize the environment Muse creates for starting artists.
“We want to be more involved with the music scene,” Phillips said. “It’s already really strong and incredible, but we can do so much more.”
With a bright future in the works for Muse, Hatch felt right about selling it. He now has more time to focus his energy into what he loves the most: song-writing.
Hatch is the lead singer and predominant song-writer of Tighty Willis. He also just finished a solo project. His solo album, “Lindenfield,” is very personal to him.
“Muse provided a great outlet for my music,” Hatch said. “I was lucky enough to have a recording studio to use outside of BYU. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you have to work and work and work and really live it to succeed in sound production. The more I do, the better I get and the more I understand what it takes if this is going to be my career.”
Greg Barnes, a member of Tighty Willis and long time best friend of Hatch has always supported him in his endeavors.
“The band has always been a high priority to Colin,” Barnes said. “Muse kept him very busy so during that time, the band’s progress slowed, but now we’ve refocused. We have an album in the works, but we want to give it the time it deserves.”
For Hatch, the balancing act is just part of following his dream. Hatch is a senior studying media music. Upon his graduation in April, he plans to stick around here and contribute all he can to the growing music scene.
“We live in an interesting time where we’re always being told to follow our dreams,” Hatch said. “I struggle believing that everyone should, but I feel lucky enough that I’ve been able to. The biggest priority in my life is moving people through music. Actually the whole reason I’m into music is because it’s how I know God exists and that He loves me, and that it’s okay to love myself. The more I do music, the more I see how it can be a tool to help people. My goal is to someday create music that can be a channel for people to know that God exists and loves them, for people to find something inside of them and solve problems, and to form connections with others.”