By Martie Thompson

Jessica Mechell is an IT professional whose hobby is songwriting and performing Christian rap music. She loves to travel and feels called to volunteer — but most of all, she strives to inspire. As she points out, there are a lot of things going on right now that can bring people down and she thinks it is important to find the positive wherever possible.

Mechell was born in Biloxi, Miss., into a military family; her father retired after serving 30 years in the Air Force. Growing up, the family moved regularly and she says that to this day she starts getting the “itch” to move after living somewhere for three years. She has lived in North Dakota, Texas, Japan, Arkansas, California and now calls Mandarin home. She earned her degree in computer information systems from Florida A&M University and her MBA from the University of Texas at Tyler. She has been married since 2018 to Jacksonville native T.J. Griffin.

Dont Forget to vote for John Turner School Board member

Q: How did you come to live in Mandarin?

A: I met my now-husband, T.J., when we were both in college at Florida A&M. After I graduated, I went to work for Microsoft in North Dakota, which is actually where Microsoft Office Suite was developed. Then I went to Texas to work on my MBA and he wanted me to move with him back to Florida. I told him I would only do so with a ring on my finger! So we were married on May 19, 2018 — the same day as the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Now I work in the banking industry, managing the law firms that support the bank’s mortgage business.

Q: How old were you when you first became seriously interested in music?

A: I started rapping at age 11. I was inspired by my aunt, who was very musical. I looked up to her as a big sister. My passion for music continued to grow, including participating in rap battles at lunchtime in middle school. As I grew older, I transitioned to singing about faith-based topics. So far, music has been a hobby of mine; I’m trying to do it full time, but I haven’t made that transition yet. Before the pandemic, I would perform at churches and events all over town, but now I’m more in the online environment.

Q: What are you doing in this time of COVID to share positivity?

A: I just released a single, “Keep Hope Alive,” which aims to recognize those who are helping us win the fight against COVID-19. (Visit for more information.) I’m also introducing a campaign that invites people to send me their testimonies so I can share them with others. For example, I have heard from someone who lost his job, but then was able to become an entrepreneur and start his own business. I feel like people are feeling discouraged; they are stuck in their house, their plans are falling through, maybe they have been laid off … it’s a stressful time and everywhere we are bombarded with negative news. I want people to know that this is just temporary and things will get better! I was supposed to open for a Grammy Award-winning artist recently, but it too was cancelled. So I am using this time to perfect my craft so when this is all over, I’ll be ready.

Q: Where do you volunteer?

A: Pre-COVID, I volunteered once a month at Edward Waters College, talking to students about topics like financial planning and professional development. This past spring, I had the opportunity to host a panel of experts in an online workshop for high school students who are preparing to apply to college. (Editor’s Note: This workshop is still available to view online at

Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: We enjoy travelling and have visited lots of places including the Bahamas and Jamaica. I consider myself somewhat of an ice cream connoisseur and I look for the best ice cream in every city we visit. Locally, I like Whit’s in Jacksonville Beach and Mayday in San Marco. But the very best ice cream I have found is in Charleston, S.C. at a place called Peace Pie. They serve two shortbread cookies with pecan pie filling and vanilla ice cream in the middle. It is delicious!

Photo courtesy Juan Kurtis

Jessica Mechell 

  • Ackerman Urology We specialize in Prostate health, sexual health, bladder health, and Kidney health
  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Ackerman cancer center. We're here for your cancer treatment
  • Have questions about your medicare benefits? Call a SHINE volunteer.
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Academy of Dance Open House & Registration August 19th and 20th 3pm to 6pm Classes start August 24th! Ballet, Pointem Jazz, Hip Hop Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Music Theatre, Vocal
  • Affordable Water
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • Nemetz Dental Associates! Your new smile awaits!
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • Future home loans. North Florida's Premier Mortgage Expert Ryan Proffitt
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature shop. Have you watered your birds lately?
  • Legends of Real Estate call Kim Kessler
  • Harbor Chase Independent & Assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Immerse yourself in a rewarding community that enriches your body, mind, and soul.
  • Dont Forget to vote for John Turner School Board member
  • Lori Hershey for School Board, District 7. A school system we can all believe in.
  • Matt Schellenberg. Dependable Leadership for these challenging Times. School Board District 7
  • Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers
  • Family Remodeling Contractors! Bath, Kitchen &ADA Remodeling
  • Mobile Notary Service. 15 years experience, 24 hour services
  • River Garden Senior Services, However and whenever you need us we're here
  • Starlight Gymnastics! Our #1 priority is your children!
  • Sugar Bear Antique Mall Summer spectacular sale July 10th-12th
  • Baptist Health, Great tools for motherhood
  • A Green Cleaner, Free pickup and delivery to your home!
  • Luxury living and compassionate care come together at starling. Welcome Home.
  • Alive Credit Union Start banking healthier today!
  • Clara's Tidbits Now in Mandarin!
  • Brian E. Floro DMD, PA Dental services
  • JR Dental General, Specialty and Dental lab
  • Support community journalism! Subscribe to the Mandarin Newsline today!
  • Railing Chiropractic & Acupuncture
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our may issue!
  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Your safety and peace of mind is always our Top Priority
  • Smart Choice Medical healthcare membership! No VoPay, No Deductibles, No Hassles
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021