By Betty Yu

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Ruby Ibarra is making big moves in the worlds of music and science. During the day, you can find the up-and-coming artist dressed in PPE, and at night and on weekends, entertaining fans virtually.

The 29-year-old Hayward resident is a scientist at a Bay Area biotech company, which is working on COVID-19 test kits, and developing a vaccine.

“When I’m at work people are always surprised to know that I do music, and when I go out and do shows people are surprised that I still have a full-time 9-to-5 job,” said Ibarra. “But for me, if anything it’s just been kind of a balancing act.”

Ibarra grew up in San Lorenzo and has been rapping since she was 13. Her most popular song “Us” touches on female empowerment and celebrates the Filipino culture.

Before the pandemic, she performed live with her band the Balikbayans across the country, and in her native Phillippines.

Right now she’s working on her sophomore album, which incorporates social justice topics.

With nearly 50,000 Instagram followers, Ibarra feels a sense of responsibility to speak out on her platform.

“With this year, with the pandemic, and with all the other social movements that have been going on around the world especially in this country, I felt that it’s important for me to reflect that in the lyrics that I write,” said Ibarra. “I’d love to create an album that’s timely.”

Ibarra is also working so closely to the virus.

“When I get home, I immediately go straight to the shower, put my clothes in the hamper and I’m just very mindful of the possible risks that are still at play right now,” she said.

The pandemic has canceled any live shows, but from her home, Ibarra showed KPIX 5 how she’s still able to entertain via Zoom.

She hopes to release her sophomore album before the end of the year.

Ibarra also has no plans to quit her day job, because she finds her role as a scientist especially impactful during the pandemic.

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