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We may have pulled some strings to get Ruby on myxCLUSIVE this week and we are glad we did! Ruby is a pioneer in her own right and we can’t wait to see what in store for her and The Balikbayans. She catches us up with how she’s been doing during the pandemic, what her journey’s been like as a female MC, and bridging the gap between Filipino-Americans and Filipinos worldwide.

We’ve rounded up 10 things we’ve learned about Ruby in this myxCLUSIVE.

  1. In every project Ruby’s involved in, she tries to put out good energy and vibes in her work
    She’s tried to keep busy with new music, her new documentary, hosting shows and interviews on kumu, all while working full time as a scientist for a biotech company. Ruby says she’s still bored, but that’s pretty productive if you ask us! She also shared that she learned how to be still during this time. It’s given her time to reflect and it’s given her content to write music.

  2. Ruby constantly works on her craft
    a. When asked about one of her earliest performances in 2011 at TeamBackPack cyphers in the Bay Area, she remembers that she needed to show people she deserved to be on the mic. Her grind mentality pushed her improve and work hard, “as an artist, I’ve always felt I had to prove myself.” After performances, she’ll write herself notes on her phone on what she can improve on for her next performance. “You have to treat it like a career, treat it as a craft and hone it.”

  3. The Bay Area shaped her as an artist
    Ruby talked about the diversity in the Bay Area as a whole, but also in the music. She described Bay Area music as “never forgetting the roots and highlights or celebrates the community.” Her music also reflects the realness of what’s going on in the community and her raw bars tells the stories of those people.

  4. She can rap about anything
    In a modified version of Song Roulette, DJ Marlino changed it up to Rap Roulette. Ruby nailed all the tasks but the most impressive was a freestyle about her favorite Jollibee menu items. You just have to listen for yourself what her favorite items are. She’s also been cooking a lot of Filipino food during the pandemic, “I’ve learned a lot of the recipes from my mom.” Her specialty is salmon sinigang and is down to bring it to the next myx Global potluck!

  5. She is always down for a collaboration with other artists as it’s her way to show support
    DJ Marlino asked about her track, No. 32 with Nadine Lustre. She wants to be able to show her versatility as an artist and that she’s down to experiment and rap in different styles. Ruby said the track gave more of a mainstream sound which she was excited for because it was different from her own music.

  6. She wants to help bridge the gap between Filipino-Americans and Filipino artists back home
    “Check out the music back home because they’re killing it…the music scene is blossoming right now and it’s about to take over the world.” She would have never guessed that she’d have the opportunities to collaborate with Filipino artists and hop on a song with them let alone share the stage with them back home in the Philippines.

  7. Filipino-American and Filipino music are very similar
    By having the opportunity to travel back to the Philippines more often, she has seen a mix of the different type of sounds, yet all share the same passion for music. On her kumu shows, she tries to bring in a Fil-Am and Filipino artist to bridge that gap. Some of her recommendation ranges from Shanti Dope, Alex Bruce, Loonie, and Bawal Clan from the Philippines to those on the West side like Manila Grey, AJ Rafael, and Jeff Bernat. Make sure to follow her Instagram as she’ll be sharing who she’s been listening to.

  8. The Balikbayans gave a different dynamic for performances
    a. Ruby shared that although the energy between her and DJ on stage was great, the energy of having a live band is different. “It’s a different dynamic and they remix the song differently from the record,” which keeps performances fresh and interesting. She remembers their first rehearsal and it felt natural. “What I wanted to form was a family and be sure we were all aligned in music, stories, image, beliefs we all had.”

  9. It’s up to us to continue to celebrate the pioneers of Fil-Am history and carry it forward to the next generation
    She expresses that “our history is very much lost; it’s pushed to the margins. We have to take it on ourselves to create these literatures for us to be historians for our community. History is kept alive through the people that speak to the people that write it so it’s our responsibility.” Here's her encouragement to close out Filipino-American Heritage Month.

  10. The documentary, 7,000 Miles: Homecoming is the project she’s most proud of in her career
    The documentary follows her and The Balikbayans’ trip to the Philippines back in March 2019 where they were there for 6 days, playing 2 shows a day. It documents the craziness of being on tour, but it also explored what it means to be Filipino-American. “It looks at it through the lens of being a Balikbayan.” Ruby says it asks the questions of where home is and what does it mean to be Fil-Am. We hope that they’ll be more screenings available so we can take all our friends to see it. Who’s down for a socially distant drive-in watch party?

Make sure you're following Ruby on Instagram and kumu (@rubyibarra) to keep up with her performances, shows, and music recommendations!

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