A Royal Marine turned rapper is aiming to hit the high notes in music after using his writing talent to come through his darkest times.
Craig Breen, who makes hip-hop music under the stage name Impulse, has been making waves on the scene with his hard-hitting and often-personal song lyrics.
Craig, from Atherton, became a Green Beret after joining the forces in 2008 aged just 17 but found it increasingly difficult to come to terms with things he had seen during a tour of Afghanistan.
Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) he showed some of his early poetic and musical efforts to the charity Save Our Soldier where he was having advice and counselling and was immediately encouraged to channel his energies in that direction.
Now with a mixtape under his belt and an EP in the pipeline, Craig says he is happy to openly put his personal experiences into music but his writing is now becoming more optimistic as his personal fortunes improve.
Craig, 26, said: “The music started for me around 2012 but it was just a hobby then. I don’t know why but one day at Save Our Soldier I sent them some lyrics I had done and they said that if I pursued music I would do well at it.
“I then went away on a retreat and the year after my dad said this will be a full time concern and we had to push it. A lot of good things have happened and I’ve had a good response.
“When I started writing everything was based on how I felt, my PTSD and my feelings of wanting to escape. The music I’m writing now is more feelgood and energetic because my life is in a much better place.
“I started writing poetry in Afghanistan. A lot was going on and it was about putting my feelings down because I was in a place where it all lads and a lot of ego and testosterone. No-one wanted to talk about their feelings.
“Quite a few mates got injured in Afghanistan and I saw things no-one would want to see. I was the youngest guy in my troop and it affected me quite badly. When I wrote poetry it was almost like being back at home, it took me away from what was going on around me a little bit.”
Former Hesketh Fletcher High School pupil Craig joined the Royal Marines at 17, serving for around six years in the prestigious organisation before leaving the forces in 2013.
Craig’s unusual background story quickly enabled him to stand out in the rap and hip-hop world and opportunities including playing festivals in front of thousands of music fans have come his way. He says Impulse’s music draws on a wide range of influences and he prefers to develop his own style rather than draw comparisons with other artists.
He said: “I think I’ve got quite a unique style. I’m interested in anyone who’s at the top of their game and has worked hard to get there.”
His mixtape is available at SoundCloud.