Camel City Creates: Sultry Songstress Karon Click & the Hot Licks

Karon Click was singing before she could speak and has followed that siren song wherever it beckoned. From Mendelssohn to Marvin Gaye and sacred to sultry, Ms. Click can be found performing in a variety of venues around the world, including locally at O’Henry Hotel, Foothills, special events and private parties.

Karon is the founder of Karon Click and the Hot Licks, a seven-piece band of talented versatile musicians whose music warms your heart, antics make you laugh, and groove gets your booty moving. The Hot Licks earned runner-up for Winston-Salem’s Best Band in 2016 from Smitty’s Notes and they continue to carve a notch as one of the saucier and more pleasant surprises on the Triad music scene.

While the band does write and perform some original music, Karon Click and the Hot Licks is primarily a “party band” featuring jump, swing, groove, upbeat blues and old school soul tunes, playing lots of covers, “to keep people shaking their tail feathers,” explained Karon. The Hot Licks members are Anne Donovan and Mary Ellen Watson on vocals, Luke Payne on guitar, Travis Williams on bass and Bill Smith on drums, with a host of other talented local musicians filling in when needed. A few of their influences include Nina Simone, Etta James, Brian Setzer, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Peggy Lee and Tierney Sutton.

Originally from Kentucky, Karon came to Winston-Salem to attend Wake Forest University to study psychology and music. “Winston-Salem overflows with unsung heroes (see what I did there?), who work tirelessly to make this community a wonderful place to live. I live in gratitude for their efforts,” said Karon.

During the day, Karon is the Director of Youth In Transition, an initiative that empowers young people aging out of foster care to be thriving, independent adults.

Combining her experience of child advocacy and her love of musical performance, Karon is also performing ‘Carolina Live’ with the Carolina Music Ways, in which, “some of the best musicians in the Triad come together to expose school-age children to live music from our great state. In November, we will go before the North Carolina Arts Council to help expand this important outreach,” said Karon.

The talent doesn’t stop there. Karon’s husband Jason is an opera singer who travels widely singing and performing. “We love singing together,” said Karon. “He also plays jazz clarinet, and will sit in with the Hot Licks when he’s in town. He does a mean Cab Calloway!”

Experience Karon Click and the Hot Licks for yourself at “Taste of the South” for Authoring Action, November 16th at the Milton Rhodes Center.

To learn more about the band, visit