Life’s a cruise for ocean-going Falkirk singer Anna

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A passion for music - and the odd lucky break - has landed a former Graeme High School girl a job most of us can only dream about.

Now Anna Baker (29) is keeping friends in touch with her adventures in a blog detailing her glamorous life as a singer aboard luxury cruise ships around the world.

She admits one of the major perks of her full time job is the chance to visit places she’d perhaps otherwise have seen only during a rare and expensive holiday break.

She’s been to exotic locations including Barbados, Dominica, New Orleans , Grenada, Charleston , San Juan, Nassau Bahamas, Columbia, Aruba, Roatan, Trinidad and Tobago - just to mention a few.

Last year she was lucky enough to visit one of the great archaeological wonders of the world in Yucatan, Mexico - the famous Mayan pyramids of Chichen-Itza.

Now she’s gearing up for a trip to Key West, and then on to Cuba.

Anna Baker.

Anna Baker.

But how did she land such a dream career?

She says: “I went to Graeme High School for four years, and then decided to make the move to Grangemouth High for my last two years as my passion for Music at this point was at its fullest.

“I had heard so much about the music department in Grangemouth, not to mention the amazing school production shows they’d put on every summer - and I wanted to be a part of that!

“After High School and one successful school production at the Edinburgh Festival, I completed a two-year HND course in Musical Theatre, performing in shows like Into The Woods, Witches Of Eastwick and We Will Rock You”.

There followed five summer contracts overseas, singing and dancing for various companies while touring Majorca, Fuerteventura and Cyprus - after which she was contacted by an agency who had been impressed by her videos on YouTube.

Anna said: “The agency wanted to know if I would be interested in working on cruise ships singing with a band.

“A couple of Skype chats and a few audition songs later they offered me my very first contract with Carnival Cruise Line, singing across the seven seas on The Carnival Fascination.

“Two weeks before Christmas 2013, I said goodbye to Scotland and was on my very first long haul flight over to Miami - to start rehearsals in the studio with my first Carnival band.”

So is the international travel the main attraction of this very unusual job?

“Yes, travelling is a great part of working on ships - but a close second is the social side that comes with the job, and making friends with guests and crew members from all over the world.

“I thought Scottish people could drink, until we hung out with our Filipino friends in the crew bar one night - they sure gave me a run for my money!

Now Anna is a cruises veteran of four years’ standing, and is on board her sixth ship.

She said: “Our contracts are usually around six to seven months’ long, and we perform four hours a night in the Casino Bar.

“We play a variety of different themes including 80s, 90s, Classic Rock, Country and my favourite Motown and Old Soul.”

She makes it clear that her dad was an early inspiration.

“He played in a band locally for years when I was wee, and he used to bring me me up on stage to stand on a chair and sing Grandmas Hands by Bill Withers with the band- I think my first gig was when I was five years old!

“Dad brought me up with great music of all genres, and some of my faves are Bonnie Rait, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald, Lou Rawls and - my most favourite - Stevie Wonder.

“Dad also loved Deep Purple, and he used to love making me tap dance to one of their songs, ‘Lazy’ , when they’d have friends over!”

But if life on the ocean wave is a dream come true, it’s certainly not a breeze.

“One of the struggles in my job is maintaining good vocal health when singing four hours a night for six to seven months”, says Anna.

“It is essential to take care of yourself and try not to party every night till the early hours of the morning (which I learned the hard way!)

“It can be difficult spending so much time away from all my family and friends back home, but they are all very supportive of my job and love to keep up with my travels via My Blog/Instagram.”

She adds: “I am also lucky enough to have met my boyfriend Chris working on cruise ships. “He is from Texas and is the musical director of our band, and plays guitar and saxophone.

“We have been together four years now, and I have had the pleasure of staying in Texas a few times - I was even lucky enough to see my hero, Stevie Wonder, in concert there two years ago.

“Chris has visited Scotland a few times now and loves it, and after another couple of cruise ship contracts we look forward to settling down somewhere in Glasgow or Edinburgh, where there is a bigger music scene to get local gigs.

“We actually did our first gig as a duo last August in The Orchard Hotel in Falkirk”.

So she may not be afloat forever, but whatever the future holds it’s a big slice of her career she will never forget.

“I feel so lucky to get paid to travel and do what I love on stage every night”, she said, “but it’s taken a lot of hard work, determination and focus to get here.

“It has opened my eyes to life away from Scotland and has given me the opportunity to experience different cultures, foods and overall amazing life experiences”.

Anna’s blog is at