Ex-Newcastle Knights star Owen Craigie has struck the right chord, with the release of the first song to promote his inspirational Chase the Energy initiative.
The footballer turned mental health advocate recently partnered up with Sydney rapper Matt Zahra, also known as E Zee, to raise more awareness about the program, which fosters people to “stay active, have a healthy lifestyle and activate your mind to live your best life”.
After an illustrious NRL career, which included stints at the Knights, Wests Tigers and South Sydney Rabbitohs, as well as a premiership with Newcastle in 1997, Craigie’s idyllic world unravelled due to gambling, drug and alcohol addictions, as well as depression.
Now, fighting fit and invigorated, the 42-year-old is keen to Chase the Energy – and welcomes everyone to join him on the journey.
“I tried many things to get myself well; mentally, physically and spiritually,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.
“The only way to do it was through active exercise.
“But, since March, from that initial post, I have picked up more than 11,000 followers on social media, while Chase the Energy has also taken off in 10 countries.
“I’m so appreciative of all the encouragement I’ve received along the way.”
That support looks likely to gather further momentum, too, with the launch of Chase the Energy on iTunes.
“I’m really excited by this,” Craigie admitted.
“Matty, or E Zee as he’s professionally known, contacted me and said he wanted to write a song; that I inspired him.
“To be honest, it was a bit of a buzz [to hear that].
“So, I replied: ‘do it’.
“He apparently wrote it in half an hour and had it all done by the next day.
“Four weeks later, Matty’s in Newcastle with me and we’re filming a clip at Nobbys Beach to accompany the tune.
“He was blown away by Novocastrians’ hospitality.
“Although I’m probably biased, I love the song,” he added with a laugh.
“I hope everyone downloads it.”
E Zee will perform Chase the Energy in person next month when Newcastle hosts an exciting rugby-hybrid tournament.
The Beach 5s festival, a cross between union, league and touch football, is scheduled to be played at Nobbys Beach from 24 to 26 January.
You can follow Owen Craigie’s Chase the Energy journey on Instagram and Facebook, by heading to @owiecraigie, @chasetheenergy, Owen Craigie (FB), Chase the Energy (FB) or Chicks Chase the Energy (FB).
If you need help in a crisis, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.
For further information about depression, contact beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.